Blog Posts


Becoming Proust in Tunisia

I did not approach Tunisia as Proust, but as Griet. "From the moment I saw View of the Delft at The Hague Museum, I knew that I had seen the world's most beautiful painting," remarked Marcel Proust. There is never a solid block of color in this masterpiece of Vermeer’s ... read more

Alexandra BetGeorge

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If they don't want to talk, there's a reason

Given northern Uganda’s violent political history, I was surprised to find virtually no serious political discussion. Political inquiries are often met with blank stares and ambiguous statements that trail ... read more

Pete  Muller

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Be ready to talk American politics

The English are very involved in politics--especially American politics. Obama's election made front page news on all the papers, and anyone who knew I was American wanted to talk ... read more

Ann Clark


Politics as usual

Chileans are constantly complaining about their political situations and discussing the political situations of the major world players. In the conversations I was a part of, Obama and the promise ... read more

Matthew Hintsa


Politics and life are inseparable

I had a friend who dropped a coin in the middle of a café, and as it rolled around, he stomped on it so that he could pick it back ... read more

Adam Lichtenheld


Prime Minister -> Convict -> Prime Minister

As of April 2009, Bangladesh has been running semi-smoothly (there was an army mutiny about a month ago) with its newly elected government. Before the elections in late Dec 2008 ... read more

Amy Adoyzie Lam


Watch Your Borders

Switzerland has very few national laws; most things are determined by state. And Switzerland, a third of the size of Illinois, has 26 of them. This means that within a ... read more

Chantal  Panozzo


Avoid talking about domestic politics while in Syria

Really. President Bashar al-Asad likes to listen closely – very closely – to his citizens, and there’s a saying in Syria: “Even the walls have ears.” President al-Asad does not suffer ... read more

Mimi Hanaoka


Be sensitive when it comes to the Dalai Lama

Whether Tibetans support the Dalai Lama’s middle way approach, which advocates autonomy for Tibet within China, or advocate full independence is a sensitive subject. His Holiness is so revered ... read more

Emily Strasser


The lion and the she-elephant

Politics in Swaziland are a bit complicated as the governing body is a mixture of traditional and Western forms of government. Swaziland is ruled by a king called Ngwenyama, or ... read more

Mallory Primm


The students still take to the streets in Europe

During my stay, a somewhat controversial piece of EU legislation called Plan Bolonia (a plan to universalize university education across EU member nations) sparked hot debate among students and academics ... read more

Mike Mian


Don't talk politics in public

When the communists took over Laos, many royalists left the country. A large number have returned, but few have wanted to regain their citizenship. As the government is somewhat wary ... read more

Gabriel Shaya

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Learn three languages at once

Language, like many things in the former Yugoslavia, is a matter of politics. What was once Serbo-Croatian is now arguably three new languages--Serbian, Bosnian, Croatian. But the division is mostly ... read more

danielle hayes

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Want to talk politics? Make sure you have a few hours to spare.

Drop the name of any recent Prime Minister – Gordon Brown, Tony Blair, Margaret Thatcher – and you’re likely to get an earful. Or mention the phrase “Red Ken” in any ... read more

Marshall Worsham


Understand the complex history of the armed conflict

Not long before the tourist boom that started bringing hoards of foreigners to Machu Picchu, Peru went through a serious and traumatic internal conflict. The terrorist group the Shining Path ... read more

Courtney Ng


King of the kingdom

As you drive around the streets of Thailand, you will see many photos of King Bhumibol Adulyadej and Queen Sirikit, both popular figures. While neither holds direct power in Parliament ... read more

Anna Schwaber


Politics: approach with care

Sometimes the political situation in Cyprus seems like what the island revolves around, and other times it seems like an issue that everyone deals with by ignoring it. When discussing ... read more

Madeline Blount


Maoist revival

The growing economic disparity in India is reviving the Maoist (communist) movement in the eastern part of the country. The government is cracking down on these groups with violence, and ... read more

Valerie Hohman


A complicated legacy

Malawi gained independence from Britain in 1964, and the country was led by Dr. Hastings Kamuzu Banda until 1994. Newcomers to Malawian political history will likely view Banda as a ... read more

Rebecca Jacobson


Try to stay out of it

My advice is to not get involved in too many political conversations. Many Israelis have VERY strong opinions, and have real life experience to back up their opinions. A majority ... read more

Jonathan Amerikaner


Stable with a chance of protests

For the most part, Mongolia is a safe and stable fledgling democracy. Now, in 2010, the Parliament is dominated by representatives from the Mongolian People's Revolutionary Party (MPRP)- the ... read more

Andrew Cullen

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