Exchange Student Experience

These are my experiences as an exchange student in Stony Brook in New York.

I spent the Fall 2009 semester at the State University of New York at Stony Brook and had a great time there. A semester abroad is an once-in-a-lifetime experience. It gives you so much: you improve your language skills, you get the chance to study subjects that are different from yours at home, you get to know friends from all over the world and learn there languages. Moreover you see a lot of new places like New York City and have the opportunity to travel around in an amazing country like the United States. But there are a couple of things I have to warn you about before you go, while you are there and after you came home:

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Stony Brook Study Abroad Office

For many students at Stony Brook University, studying abroad is something they don’t know much about. For Journalism student April Warren, participating in the China Silk Road study abroad program last summer was one of the most rewarding experiences of her academic career.

“I took out of it a greater sense of adventure and quest for knowledge,” said Warren. “I was constantly asking our guides random questions and just always wanting to know more.”

Warren’s trip took her from Beijing to the West of China and back again. At the end of 10 days, the group had traveled the distance of New York to Denver, Colorado. Along the way, the Stony Brook University students and Chinese students studying alongside them discussed their cultural differences, Warren said.

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Walk Around Florida

This is the new chapter in my project “Walk Around the World”. I spent a wonderful Thanksgiving Break in Miami and travelled to the Everglades National Park and to Key West the southernmost point of the US.

Have a look at my new photos:

“I care”–A petition worth signing


“I care” petition:

In early October the Statesman decided to include with their weekly publication an advertising supplement paid for the anti-choice organization called The Human Life Alliance. This supplement looks like a thin magazine, full of glossy, staged photos and text boxes. The problem with this October 8th supplement is that it is full of false and misleading information. The articles that are inside the supplement cite statistics  and studies that are either taken out of context, distorted or embellished. At first glance a student may not notice these things, but if you go a little deeper, you can see the wrongdoings.

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Karneval in Germany

As I told you that we don’t celebrate Halloween in Europe, here are some facts about Karneval, the event when we wear costumes:

Karneval/Fastnacht – Mardi Gras in Germany

Germans call the pre-Lenten Carnival season die närrische Saison (“the foolish season”) or die fünfte Jahreszeit (“the fifth season”). Except for Munich’s Oktoberfest, it is the one time of year when many normally staid Germans (and Austrians and Swiss) loosen up and go a little crazy. Fastnacht or Karneval is a “movable feast” (ein beweglicher Festtag) that depends on the date of Easter (Ostern). The official start of the Fasching season is either January 7 (the day after Ephiphany, Dreikönige) or the 11th day of the 11th month (Elfter im Elften, Nov. 11), depending on the region. That gives the Carnival guilds (Zünfte) three to four months to organize each year’s events (Carnival balls, parades, royalty, etc.) leading up to the big bash in the week before Ash Wednesday (Aschermittwoch), when the Lenten season (die Fastenzeit) begins.

Carnival in Rio is probably the world’s most famous. In the U.S., New Orleans is well known for Mardi Gras. While that former French possession is one of the few cities in the United States with a major Carnival celebration, almost all of the Catholic regions and cities across the German-speaking world (and the rest of Europe) celebrate Mardi Gras in a big way. Only a few Protestant areas in northern and eastern Germany also observe Karneval. Some of Germany’s best known celebrations are held in Cologne (Köln), Mainz, Munich (München) and Rottweil. But Cologne’sKarneval is not really the same as Munich’s Fasching. Germanic Carnival celebrations vary from region to region, sometimes even taking place at different times! (The Fasnacht event in Basel, Switzerland happens a week after most other Carnivals.) The main event of Karneval in Köln is the parade on Rosenmontag (Rose Monday). Further south in Bavaria and Austria, the culmination of Fasching takes place on Shrove Tuesday (Faschingsdienstag), like Mardi Gras in New Orleans. These and other differences reflect the long history and local traditions of the celebration, and they are also seen in the language.

2009 Long Island Latino International Film Festival

This year’s Long Island Latino International Film Festival–or LILIFF–was held at the Wang Center on November 6, 7 and 8. The festival was full of interesting, independent films that included short movies, documentaries, comedies and dramas from all around the world. Some examples are:

– “A Class Apart” by Carlos Sandoval: A documentary regarding the struggle and civil rights history of Mexican-American made by the director of “Farmingville”

– “Taught to Hate” by James Garcia Sotomayor: The story of a Hispanic immigrant trying to find a job in America and an American family who’s uncle’s racial intolerance has a strong effect on his nephew. Inspired by the murder of Marcelo Lucero, in Patchogue Long Island.

– “Stereo Typed” by Frances Lozada Gonzalez: Stereotypes surrounding actors/actresses in the entertainment industry. Produced by Frankie G.

-“TrashDay” by Sam Lerma: A 3 min. short film based on a real-life Craigslist ad that tells the story of a woman longing for the affections of her trash man.

And many, many more…check out the video!


NY Marathon

The New York Marathon is an important event for people living in NY, but also for everybody all around the world who is watching it on television. For the runners themselves it is often a once-in-a-life-time chance to take part and means a lot of time to prepare for it. If they finally make it it is the fulfillment of a dream which most of them were dreaming for a long time like Maria who is portrayed in this short video.