"You may say I'm a dreamer, but I'm not the only one. I hope someday you'll join us. And the world will live as one"
- John Lennon   

Lessons in Studying Abroad- Marhaba: Hello

Jordan Steinfeld

As a freshman in college, I actually had no intention of learning Arabic. I knew the Middle East was where my interest lay; but I just figured learning French and speaking like a neo-colonialist (as a friend who studied abroad in Senegal pointed out) would get me by in an Arab country. After two semesters responding to my French professor with ‘Si’ instead of ‘Oui’, pronouncing every French word with a Spanish accent and being forced to sit through an embarrassing lecture (inspired by me) of how Spanish is taking over the world and more people need to be dedicated to French; I decided learning Arabic, the universally utilized language of my region of interest, was clearly the best route for moi.

I was very fortunate that, at a school mixer, I was introduced to a student who had just finished studying abroad in Syria and Jordan. Not only was he gorgeous, but he was very much interested in creating and teaching a Jordanian/Syrian colloquial Arabic language group. And so the club was born. After a full academic year of meetings I can manage some words and phrases. Unfortunately, my gorgeous co-president and our de facto professor was a senior and has since graduated to join the ranks of the 99%, leaving me and the rest of the attendee’s to figure out how keep the club going on our own.

The situation hasn’t been as bad as it appeared at first as one of the regular attendee’s is actually a grad student from Syria and I’ve been put in contact with a student who will soon be returning from her study abroad in Jordan. They are both committed to helping teach us Arabic even though they have their plates full.

A huge challenge our club faces today, other than working around our schedules to actually meet, is organization. Last year, there was no real lesson plan; we learned whatever we felt like saying that time (mainly Arabic curses, to each other). This year, with a lesson plan and structure in place, I’m much more confident that there will be a productive increase in my Arabic vocabulary. 

 
Chinese You Need to Know

Graphic by: Jordan Steinfeld

When I got to China for my study abroad trip I didn’t know any Chinese. Strike that, I knew how to count to three and thought I knew the word for mushroom (but I didn’t). In order to survive I was forced to spend my first few weeks in Chengdu totally attached to my more experienced classmates.  In an effort to save you from a similar fate, here’s a list of need to know (and hopefully easy to remember) Mandarin words:

Hello –  Ni Hao

Goodbye-  Zai Jian

Water-  Shui

Beer-  Pi jiu

Taxi-  chu zu che

Take a taxi-  Da di

Bus-  gong gong qi che

Egg Fried Rice- Dan chao fan

What’s this?- Zhe shi shen me?

I want that- Wo yao na ge

I don’t want it- Bu yao

Where is the bathroom?- Ce suo zai nar?

Mushroom- Mo gu

 
Tales of a Layover: The Best Time I Napped in Hyde Park

Jordan Steinfeld

When I was 18 I went to London for the first time and absolutely fell in love. From the moment I arrived I felt immediately at home, I felt like I understood how the city worked, I was comfortable getting around, and I never felt lost. So when, at 19, I got a chance to go back and explore I jumped at the opportunity.

This mini-adventure came in the form of a 10-hour layover at Heathrow airport. I was traveling with some other students from Northern California to Kenya; which meant a lot of long flights and even more time hanging out in airports.  By the time we got to Heathrow everyone was exhausted but excited to explore the carnival like atmosphere that is the International terminal at Heathrow Airport. That’s when I upped the stakes.

I knew that Heathrow had a Tube (underground, metro, subway, whatever) station and I knew we weren’t far from the city. I was also pretty sure I remembered my way around enough to let us see some sights, grab some non-airport food, and get us back in plenty of time to go through security before our next epically long flight.

Luckily I was traveling with some amazingly spontaneous and adventurous people who agreed to let me lead them through a city I barely knew on a tight deadline. We dropped off our bags at the airline counter, grabbed our passports and carry-ons and booked it for the tube.

It wasn’t until we were sitting on the Picadilly line that I realized how much this group was relying on me. Had I been alone I probably would’ve just gotten off at any old stop and let the chips fall where they may, but now I was responsible for other peoples’ fun and there was no room for error. I made the decision that we would get off somewhere between Hyde Park and Picadilly Circus and promised the group a great surprise. ...   [more]

 
15 Amazing Travel Quotes for the Homesick

JordanSteinfeld, Maasai Mara Kenya

It’s Thanksgiving in the US, a day for being with family and friends and a day that expats and study abroaders inevitably end up feeling a little extra homesick. It’s no secret that we love great travel quotes here at Indelible International (after all, we’ve included some of our favorites on every page of the site). Here is a list of 15 of our favorite quotes to lift your spirits and get you back out there exploring while you still can. ...   [more]

 
Indelible Travel Oath

I pledge that…...   [more]

 
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