think tank

This tag is associated with 5 posts

South Africa: Beautiful and Struggling

It was an interesting point in time, that was for sure. South Africa was, quite literally, the midpoint of our voyage. My itinerary for last spring’s Semester at Sea voyage had us sail from the Bahamas, south to Brazil and up the Amazon River 600 miles, then back out and over to Ghana, before coming down to the southernmost tip of Africa, where I found myself a little over a year ago today. Everything about South Africa screamed different. It is (arguably but commonly viewed) the “most European” of the African countries, and I know after the culture shocks of Dominica, Brazil, and Ghana, we needed some comfort.

I remember that at the time, I was just ready to tackle another country. I had heard from SAS alumni that South Africa was one of the more fun ports, lots to see and do, plus it had a relatively familiar party scene. Certainly, it was safer than the middle of the Amazon rainforest. And it was supposed to be gorgeous. I had big plans and new best friends. Looking back, I realize now that it was the tipping point for when I really became a global traveler. South Africa was just familiar enough to help me realize how much I had already grown, yet just different enough to give me a sweet taste of something new. But after we left South Africa, it was onwards to India and another five countries across Asia – we could no longer hide from the culture shock. We were told to appreciate the familiarities of South Africa, because after we left, we’d be on our own.  Continue reading


Eastern Travels

I have always wanted to visit India. The different lifestyle, culture, and geography of the area has intrigued me since I was in high school. I have not been lucky enough to interact with many people who have ventured over to the country, but my passion for visiting this area is simply based on experiencing a completely different area than I am accustomed to. My travels have taken me to many different areas in the Western hemisphere, but despite the many economic and social situations present in these locations, none of them have presented totally opposite ways of life. As a Seattle times article questions best, “Where else could you find yourself driving in a three-wheeled open-air taxi in four lanes of traffic clogged with cars, cows, camels, elephants, motorcycles and rickshaws; riding a camel into the desert; walking barefoot on the marble floors of the Taj Mahal; floating along tropical lagoons in a houseboat and hiking in the mountains, all in the same three-week trip?”

My interest in the Eastern Hemisphere first originated from learning about the Eastern Religions. I was taught that crowds of Indian Hindus would take to the streets, chanting their prayers loud enough for the entire city to hear. This intense devotion to religion manifested itself in little alcohol to drink and a thorough dedication to spirituality. The religious aspect of India also manifests itself in beautiful Hindu temples and Buddhist monasteries, images that most of us have seen in National Geographic magazine covers. Continue reading

The Gateway to the West

A place that I have never been but am very interested in visiting is St. Louis, Missouri. In my spare time, I enjoy reading fantasy books and one of favorite series takes place in St. Louis. The series is by Laurell K. Hamiltonand her 22 book series (all of which are not completed yet) is called Anita Blake: Vampire Hunter. The series is about Anita Blake, a powerful sassy woman who has the power to raise the dead (it is also her occupation) and her increasing involvement with the supernatural world. In the series, the supernatural coexist with the humans and everyone is subject to the law. Since I have been reading this series since high school, St. Louis has become quite an interest of mine. I would love to visit the place that some of my favorite fictional characters live and die.

Laurell K. Hamilton

When I think and envision St. Louis, the first thing that comes to my mind is the symbol of the city, the St. Louis Gateway Arch. The Arch was designed by Eero Saarinen and Hannskarl Bandel and was finished building in 1965. The arch is a part of the Jefferson National Expansion Memorial and is the tallest man-made monument. It is located on the west bank of the Mississippi River and symbolizes the “Gateway to the West”. Since it is such an important monument of the city, I wanted to further my understanding of what the Arch symbolizes for the city and if that coincides with the view that I have developed of the city through the descriptions provided in the Anita Blake series. Continue reading

Hoping for a Brighter Future

During Spring Break of my junior year, I participated in the A.C.E.S. Bucknell Service Trip to the Dominican Republic.  The experience was truly eye-opening as it was the first time that I had witnessed extreme poverty firsthand.  Some of the areas that the Bucknell group visited were more developed, especially the Colonial District and places closer to Santo Domingo.  However, other small villages were extremely poor.  The communities where we did the medical clinic and the food drive were rather shocking to me.

The medical clinic was set up at a school and all the participants, including doctors, nurses, and our student group, were volunteers.  Many people, both young and old, came seeking medical attention.  I remember being in the “dentist” classroom and seeing the instruments lined up on a table.  Some volunteers were sterilizing them in bowls of soap and water.  One part that I will never forget was holding up a young girl’s head to support it while she had a tooth pulled.  She sat in a wooden desk chair and no Novocain was used.  I had to look away when her mouth began bleeding and I sensed that she was in pain.  After, all I could do was smile and tell her that she was very brave.  I recall thinking to myself, “Wow, this is their health care.” Continue reading

Blog Prompt- Somewhere to Visit

“Somewhere to Visit and Think Tanks”

The idea here is to write about a place you would like to visit and then explore think tanks to learn more about your initial interest.

Suggested steps:

  1. Write a paragraph or two about why you would like to visit or re-visit your location.

For example, mine might be Costa Rica as I went there for study abroad and would love to visit it.  Or my wife might chose Lithuania to track down ancestors.  Or, and I got to go a year ago, Berlin, because I want to see the divided city of my childhood memories reunified.

Explain WHY you are interested in this place.

  1. Now, look over the think tank resources we discussed in class and that are on the GOOGLE SITES page for this class.  Your goal is to find a think tank that says something about your PLACE and/or TOPIC (why you were interested).  Ideally, maybe you can find both.
    1. Pay special attention to the lists of lists on the site.  For example, the NIRA, Kennedy School, and Columbia University resources.
  1. Discuss what you found in your blog post.  Discuss, briefly, your assessment of the quality of the think tank’s information and credibility.

Why?  Because think tanks can be useful research sources for your paper 2 and final white paper.


Blog 5 before session 6 What (interest) or Who (person) Inspires You? For this week’s prompt, the Blog Council wants you to examine how this class relates to your own interests. So, please write about how this class relates to some of your own intellectual or other learning interests. We are NOT interested in how it relates to a specific career goal. Plan B: same idea, but based on a person. See whole post for details.

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