Home - Admission & Financial Aid - Apply - Scholars Programs - Benton Scholars - Benton Scholars News
Benton Scholars News

Latest Posts

TBS Abroad Week 1: Coffee

By Jessica Li on January 28, 2015

01 - CoffeeWeek 1 Prompt: Coffee

Few commodities are as ubiquitous and varied as coffee. Frappuccinos, cappuccinos,  espresso, Turkish coffee, chocolate-covered coffee beans, iced coffee, dehydrated “instant” coffee, a French press, and American-style “drip” coffee: coffee, in one form or another, can be found in almost every part of the world — sometimes with hints of local flavor, or after-tastes of European colonialism. This week, observe how, where, and when people consume coffee. Is it a morning or afternoon beverage? Is it consumed “black” or with copious sugar? What is the most common form of coffee you see? (E.g. Iced, cappuccino, latte, K-cup, etc.) Do people prefer drinking from porcelain, or are take-away cups prevalent? Is coffee considered a luxury or is it essential to daily life? Are there local customs and history that inform how and why people drink coffee? Take at least one picture of a local coffee shop, your morning cup, or a coffee menu at a cafe. Avoid visiting Starbucks, if you can!


Ryan Hildebrandt: Japan, Not Cherries, and Tommy Lee Jones’ Face

Coffee in Japan is, like many aspects of the island nation, a bit of a dichotomy. Every day on my commute to school, through residential streets and city blocks, there were vending machines everywhere. Actually everywhere. It was a rare day indeed when I didn’t pass at least ten or twenty going about my daily routine, with every one I saw was advertising drinks of all kinds for sale with vibrant colors and celebrity endorsements. That’s where Tommy Lee Jones and his apparent thirst for the Boss Gold Label coffee drink comes in. It wasn’t uncommon to see his face on many of the vending machines selling coffee or coffee based beverages. Strange endorsements are a common sight on the streets of Kyoto, and this is representative of one end of the coffee spectrum available in Japan: the commercialized end.

Tommy Lee Jones on a "Boss" coffee machine in Kyoto.

Tommy Lee Jones on a “Boss” coffee machine in Kyoto.

On the opposite end of the coffee experience scale is the pure, hand processed, rich coffee of the Bonin Islands, one of the few places in Japan where Coffee can grow. I had the experience, along with my fellow students, to pick coffee fruit off the bush (called cherries before they’re processed into the more familiar beans) and taste the flesh of the coffee cherries. They were sweet and somewhat juicy, but the inner coffee bean was bitter and quite unpleasant if you made the mistake of biting into it. After picking the cherries and taking them through the bean separating process, we were treated to a cup of black Ogasawara (the name of the village in which the coffee farm was located) Coffee. I’ll admit, I’m not much of a coffee drinker, and in all honesty the first time I had tried coffee was about a month earlier in a small Japanese department store. But something about this coffee, perhaps the smell, perhaps the richness, perhaps the fact that I knew how it was made and how much effort went into each cup, told me that it was something special, something which was as far from the canned coffee on street corners as we were from the nearest Starbucks (about 600 miles away, imagine that).


Adam Basciano

Shalom from the Holy Land! Coffee is indeed an important part of Israeli culture. It comes in many different forms and is enjoyed by many. Tourists from America and other countries rush to kiosks and coffee shops for the delicious iced cafes. Here, an ice cafe is not simply coffee with ice, but rather a delicious and refreshing blended beverage. For native Israelis, also known as “Sabras”, a typical cup of coffee is whipped up quickly using Nescafe, an instant coffee brand. For late afternoon and evening relaxing, it is common for Israelis to enjoy Turkish black coffee. I am not sure where this tradition stems from, but it is hard to find an Israeli of any descent who does not own tiny shot-glass sized cups and the other essentials for making this delicious, awakening drink.

"Aroma" coffee storefront in Israel.

“Aroma” coffee storefront in Israel.

While it is easy to avoid visiting Starbucks while here in Israel, it is nearly impossible to skip out on the “Starbucks of Israel”, a description of the vastly popular “Aroma” (seen bove). Aroma is enjoyed by all, tourists and Sabras alike, as it is the first widely popular coffee chain in Israel.


Kevin Costello

When you think of large American cities that double as college towns, Boston is probably what comes to mind. I’d always known that Washington had its fair share of higher learning, but it wasn’t until Tryst that I fully grasped that DC has such a large, vibrant academic community of its own. Tryst, a coffee-shop-and-then-some located in DC’s colorful Adams Morgan neighborhood, enjoys a surprisingly strong draw from seemingly all of Washington’s geographically dispersed colleges and universities. When I first arrived on Sunday afternoon to do some homework, I expected a fairly calm environment, with perhaps a few American University students recharging and preparing for the upcoming week.

Screen Shot 2015-01-27 at 10.07.56 PM

Tryst Coffeehouse in the Adams Morgan neighborhood of Washington, DC.

What I found was a mini-metropolis of academic discourse, semi-militant nonconformity, and politically-charged artistic expression. This place was loud, packed, and moving. I sure as hell wasn’t about to find an open table, let alone get any work done in this wonderfully hectic environment, but that didn’t matter as much anymore. I was more than content to grab a latte, squeeze into the back corner, and people watch. I saw Georgetown and American University students fervently discussing President Obama’s most recent State of the Union address, while graduate students bounced ideas for their dissertations off one another. In the back, young professors with flannel shirts and nose rings vigorously engaged students who had decided to come to Sunday office hours. The appropriately-named Counter Culture Coffee wasn’t bad, but far more interesting was this coffee shop’s blend of hipster, chic, and activist. It was exactly what you’d expect from a cosmopolitan coffee shop frequented by students and academics, and yet, there was also a very unique charm to this particular place. I’m not what one might call a coffee shop connoisseur, but if the goal is to simultaneously draw on established bases while simultaneously forging a new, vibrant community with a culture of its own, then Tryst has certainly succeeded.


Peter Tschirhart — Reporting from NYC

Coffee in New York is like a public utility. It might as well flow from the tap. There are coffee shops wherever you turn, and it always surprises me how many are filled to capacity.

Inside Third Rail Coffee

Inside Third Rail Coffee

A few weeks ago, I had the surprise pleasure of taking a coffee tour of the City. We visited a number of different kinds and types of coffeehouses — from corporate chains to European-style cafés — but one in particular stood out. It was called Third Rail Coffee. The menu was completely espresso-based, and there were no fluffy, Starbucks-style drinks at all: no Pumpkin Spice Whatevers or White Chocolate Somethings. “Pure” coffee. There was really no need for all the added sugar anyway, to be honest. The coffee was so good, so sweet, nothing needed to be added. I can easily say it was among the best — if not the best — espresso I’ve ever had.

"Barista as superhero."

Barista-as-superhero.

"Artisan" coffee at Third Rail Coffee, NYC.

“Artisan” coffee at Third Rail Coffee, NYC.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

This was luxury coffee to be sure: expensive, though cash-only, served in unusually small cups, with delicate artisan touches. But it’s interesting to note how little was made of the coffee itself: its origins, the workers who picked and brought it to market, the farmers who grew it. Starbucks makes much more out of these considerations than most independent shops, like Third Rail. The focus here was on the craft of brewing (or “pulling,” in the case of espresso) and serving it — what I call the “barista as superhero” model. Equally interesting was how many customers requested paper cups and how few drank from porcelain. One might expect high-end coffee like this to be served exclusively in high-end tasse à café. But it wasn’t. I attribute the broader dominance of cardboard cups both to Starbucks’ bad influence and to the tendency in NYC to always be rushed — but in this case, the lack of seating may be to blame.


The Benton Scholars: Abroad

By Jessica Li on January 26, 2015

Infusing leadership and global themes into the Colgate University experience, the Benton Scholars program creates an educational environment that asks students to adopt an informed and critical view of emerging political, cultural, environmental, and economic issues. Just as importantly, scholars are expected to be outwardly focused: to share their insights with people on campus and throughout the global community.

Like many Colgate students, Benton Scholars often choose to study off-campus during their junior year. Unlike others, however, they are expected to stay connected to the program and each other while abroad–sharing their insights, collaborating from different points on the globe–with the goal of bringing different cultural and geo-political perspectives to bear on shared problems.

The Benton Scholars: Abroad blog functions as the locus for this collaboration. Each Monday during the spring semester, students will be sent a brief topic, idea, or problem, one that has resonance throughout the world. Students are then asked to submit a response–preferably a picture, video, or brief essay–which will then be published on this site. Responses need not be obvious: they can be creative, insightful, even clever interpretations of each week’s theme.

Entering its second year, we hope The Benton Scholars: Abroad blog will provide unique insight into topics of discussion and issues of concern that we all share in common.

This year’s contributors are immersed in different countries around the world, from Geneva to South Africa. Their profiles below:


img_2661

Ryan Hildebrandt ’17

My name is Ryan, and I just got back from 4 months in Japan and 3 weeks in Korea before that. I’m from a small beach town in South Jersey called cape may, and I’m majoring in Psychology and Japanese.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


image2

Susan Price ’16

I am a Junior studying International Relations and Film & Media Studies. Though originally from Dallas, Texas I will be spending this semester studying abroad with the Colgate Study Group to Geneva, Switzerland. The program also includes a month long, language intensive home stay in Montpellier, France, two group trips through Western and Eastern Europe, and an internship with an NGO during the time in Geneva.

 

 

 


adambascianoheadshot

Adam Basciano ’16

My name is Adam Basciano and I am an International Relations major and Economics minor coming from Randolph, New Jersey. I am spending my Spring semester of junior year abroad in Jerusalem where I will be taking a multitude of courses including Hebrew, international relations, and Jewish studies.

 

 

 

 


535753_510104245666729_730444860_n1

 

Kevin Costello ’16

My name is Kevin Costello, and I am a Junior from Concord, CA (a short 20-30 minute trip from Oakland). I study Philosophy and Political Science at Colgate and hope to attend law school after graduation. While I imagine the Spring of 2016 won’t yield the most exotic stories or photographs, I’m very excited to “study abroad” in Washington, D.C. for the semester! I’m quite the political head, and as someone who has never explored Washington, I’m eager to share my new experiences regarding the movers, shakers, and locals in our nation’s Capitol with TBS-Abroad!

 


1385683_10151673125160785_2107400923_n

Jerod Gibson-Faber ’16

Hi readers, my name is Jerod Gibson-Faber.  I am currently a junior at Colgate University and am studying history.  I’m writing from London, England, as I’m also currently studying abroad.  During my time abroad I hope to immerse myself in local culture as well as complete my capstone paper for my major.  I love soccer and play on the club level while acting as the student manager for both the men’s and women’s varsity teams at Colgate.  I hope to attend as many games possible while I’m in the UK.


katrina_lab (1)

Katrina Bennett ’16

Katrina is a current junior from Leonardtown, MD, majoring in Neuroscience. Katrina’s main interests include public health, global health, infectious diseases, and small scale community development. At Colgate, Katrina is involved with the Shaw Wellness Institute, the Colgate Global Health Initiative, Oxfam, and other organizations. Katrina is beyond excited to spend a semester in South Africa and hopes to learn much about this fascinating nation.

 

 

 



From “Korea” to “Corea:” Hannah O’Malley and the ’17 Benton trip

By Peter Tschirhart on August 11, 2014

Hannah O’Malley ’17 has created a blog to chronicle, contemplate, and process her experience on the Benton Scholars’ trip to Korea. Apart from explaining why the country’s name might be spelled “Corea” rather than “Korea,” Hannah encourages us to view travel through a self-critical lens. She writes :

I think it easy to notice and criticize flaws in and make generalizations about other systems without really critically looking back at one’s own system. Over the course of the trip, I tried very hard to think about ways in which we pretty much have the same, or worse, flaws in the US and about what the US can learn from Korea.

She also poses a series of questions inspired by Prof. John Palmer‘s FSEM for the Benton Scholars (fall of 2014):

  • In what ways can the US education system learn from the national curriculum that applies to both public and private schools?
  • How would the US benefit from rigor of the cram schools?
  • Given that K-12 education in both South Korea and the US is driven in part by the university systems in both countries, in what ways might colleges be able to manipulate testing or entrance standards to influence the ways in which K-12 students learn?
  • How can both countries make higher education more accessible and a less elite system?
  • Is there corruption, whether manifest or latent, in our educational system? And if so, where?
  • Who does our educational system serve?

You can see and read much more directly on Hannah’s blog by clicking here.


Benton Scholars in Korea: more from Hannah O’Malley ’17

By Peter Tschirhart on July 23, 2014

Hannah O’Malley ’17 recently wrote about her experience visiting a UN safe-site built in the demilitarized zone that separates North from South Korea. She says:

The building was surrounded by tourists lining up to buy souvenirs like shot glasses, jewelry, and snacks from the shops. I was unnerved that the DMZ has been made into a spectacle that distracts more than it educates visitors about North Korea. My disbelief grew as we were taken to three movie theaters where we watched films about the biodiversity and history of the region and military strategies. With all of the distractions, there was very little attention given to the human rights abuses happening nearby that we had learned about through readings and in class.

Hannah traveled to Korea during May-June 2014 as a member of the Benton Scholars program. You can read Hannah’s post in its entirety by clicking here.


Benton Scholars in Korea: Erin Huiting ’17

By Peter Tschirhart on July 22, 2014

The following pictures and text were provided by Erin Huiting ’17, who returned from the Benton Scholars’ trip to Korea in June, 2014.


At the table in Korea.

At the table in Korea.

Food is such an integral part of the Korean culture. When we first entered a restaurant we would be led graciously to our table, and then we would remove our shoes and sit down. Slowly, but surely, our servers would begin to present us food. We would be given bowels of vegetables, rice, noodles, fish, meats, soups… the food was never-ending, but that kept the conversations and laughter never-ending. By the end of our meal, we would have an array of dishes spread across the table – we could mix and match the different flavors and try so many new foods. Every meal brought something new.

Huiting 2

At Seokgulam Grotto.

The lanterns in the background are a part of Seokgulam Grotto, which is a cave temple that houses a Buddhist shrine. The reason it was built – a young boy’s newfound karma. The story goes: A young boy and his mother worked for a wealthy family, however, they lived in utter poverty. One day, a Buddhist monk visited the estate and the wealthy family gave the monk some donations. After that, the boy assumed the family was so well off because they were charitable towards the Buddhist monk. The next time the boy saw the Buddhist monk, the boy and his mother gave him what little rice they had. A few days later the boy passed away.

However, before the boy passed away, he foretold to his mother that he would be reincarnated in another body. His name would be Kim DaeSeong. Nine months later, the mother gave birth to a baby boy. The baby boy held his fist closed for a whole week, but when he opened up his fist “Kim DaeSeong” was encrypted in Chinese onto his palm – he was her son reincarnated. Eventually, Kim DaeSeong grew up and became a minister. In order to thank the monk for his life, he built the Buddhist temple.

A cable car into the mountains.

On the cable car, heading to Daechongbong.

The Seoraksan National Park was a testament to Korea’s geographic beauty. South Korea isn’t just urban, but the country also has amazing mountains covered with lush forests. We took a cable car up near the peak of Daechongbong, and we climbed the rest of the way towards the very top.

At the peak of Daechongbong.

At the peak of Daechongbong.


Video: Benton Scholars in Korea

By Jason Kammerdiener on July 16, 2014

Professor John Palmer put together the following video slideshows of images capturing the amazing journey of Colgate’s Benton Scholars in South Korea during the summer of 2014.


Benton Scholars in Korea: Hannah O’Malley ’17

By Peter Tschirhart on July 9, 2014

Hannah O’Malley ’17 provides the following pictures and captions from the Benton Scholars’ trip to South Korea.


Colgate hasn't been around nearly as long as Gyeongbokgung Palace, which was completed in 1395.

Colgate hasn’t been around nearly as long as Gyeongbokgung Palace, which was completed in 1395.

Rice farms, like this one in the Hahoe Village, covered the countryside. Even though it is a relatively small country, the South Korean landscape includes mountains, cityscapes, rural expanses and seasides.

Rice farms, like this one in the Hahoe Village, covered the countryside. Even though it is a relatively small country, the South Korean landscape includes mountains, cityscapes, rural expanses and seasides.

Though media outlets may have stopped coverage of the Ferry Accident, homages like this one demonstrated that the memories of the children live on in the hearts of South Koreans.

Though media outlets may have stopped coverage of the Ferry Accident, homages like this one demonstrated that the memories of the children live on in the hearts of South Koreans.

“Named spaces bear witness to history and provide a glimpse into the future.” -John Syme The Sungnyemun Gate was erected in 1398 and embodies significant history—it has been repeatedly repaired after damage by natural causes, colonial rule, the Korean War, and a more recent attempt to burn the structure. Today, it is a national treasure of Seoul that speaks to South Corea’s resilience, an attitude which is behind its push to be a global power.

“Named spaces bear witness to history and provide a glimpse into the future.” -John Syme The Sungnyemun Gate was erected in 1398 and embodies significant history—it has been repeatedly repaired after damage by natural causes, colonial rule, the Korean War, and a more recent attempt to burn the structure. Today, it is a national treasure of Seoul that speaks to South Corea’s resilience, an attitude which is behind its push to be a global power.

It was election season while we were there so political campaigns were everywhere, especially in the more residential areas.

It was election season while we were there so political campaigns were everywhere, especially in the more residential areas.

We had the opportunity to visit an all-boys private middle school and speak to them about their educational experience. Our conversations with the students there sparked reflection and debate about both South Korea's and our own educational system.

We had the opportunity to visit an all-boys private middle school and speak to them about their educational experience. Our conversations with the students there sparked reflection and debate about both South Korea’s and our own educational system. Thank you so much to Dan Benton, Professor John Palmer, Woolim Cho, Peter Tschirhart, Sarah Ficken and the many others who made this experience and continue to make experiences like this possible!!


Benton Scholars in Korea: Brittney Dorow ’17

By Peter Tschirhart on June 23, 2014

Brittney Dorow ’17 recently returned from the Benton Scholars’ trip to South Korea. In this reflection, she discusses her youthful fascination with Asian cultures and her more recent interest in the vibrant mixture of “old and new” in contemporary Korean cityscapes–an interest that has lead her to the International Relations program at Colgate.


Growing up as a young girl with two brothers was a blessing.

I lived a life essentially free from gender. Yes, I was a female who loved dresses and tea parties and dress up dolls, but I was not limited to exploring one side of a culture many find to be split by sex. I played with cars, liked to wrestle and mess around, and I was equally as pleased to get the Pokemon Card as I was the Polly Pocket toy with my Happy Meal.

I think the greatest thing that came about being raised so openly centered on film and television.

One of my fondest memories was coming home from school on Friday’s to find my brothers down in the basement and a Japanese monster movie plugged in the VHS. I grew up watching these foreign films, moving from Godzilla movies with the boys, to dramatic and adventurous anime as I entered my teen years.

Overtime, my love for Asian culture developed. Entering into high school, it was safe to say I was obsessed. Watching anime and Korean Dramas with my friends while I picked at my meal with a pair of plastic chopsticks, I allowed myself to fall in love with it all, the people, the food, the fashion and so on.

More than anything else, I was enamored with the Asian city. Particularly in anime and film, I became fascinated with urban structure, a melting pot which combined the urban landscape of New York with the culture of traditional life. When I first discovered I could travel to Korea, I saw the perfect opportunity to finally see for myself if the culture I’d grown to idolize had been portrayed accurately or not.

A street market in South Korea.

A street market in South Korea.

I am happy to say, it had.

My picture shows one of the first markets we the Bentons explored in South Korea. Even from a glance, you can see the blending of new and old culture which I had hoped to find on this trip.

Tall industrialized buildings lit up with electric lights and neon signs.

Inside, traditional fans, bowls, street foods and cloth are sold.

Overall, I was not disappointed, but rather, in awe of the cultural phenomenon that is an Asian city, particularly a marketplace. I found a place of acceptance, of peaceful cultural blending, and well a preservation.

Most importantly, seeing a place like this reminded me why I love the study of culture and how I truly want to pursue my major in International Relations. I want to fall in love with all the cultures of the world, and feel this amazement for the rest of my life.


Benton Scholars in Korea: Ishir Dutta ’17

By Peter Tschirhart on June 13, 2014

The following pictures and captions by Ishir Dutta ’17 continue our coverage of the Benton Scholars’ trip to Korea. Stay tuned for more posts in the coming days.


Click the image below to launch a slideshow:

"It's the East Sea, not the Sea of Japan!" - Prof. Palmer

“It’s the East Sea, not the Sea of Japan!” – Prof. Palmer

In a place closer to home (At Namsan Tower)

In a place closer to home (At Namsan Tower)

...and my other home. (At Insadong)

…and my other home. (At Insadong)

Even amid the frenzy, we found calm.

Even amid the frenzy, we found calm.


Benton Scholars in Korea: Andrew Isaacson ’17

By Peter Tschirhart on June 12, 2014

Our blog series on the recent Benton Scholars trip to South Korea continues with pictures and captions provided by Andrew Isaacson ’17.


Seoul, South Korea: a city and country hidden in the mountains.

Seoul, South Korea: a city and country hidden in the mountains.

What does your garden look like? -Deoksugung palace gardens.

What does your garden look like? -Deoksugung palace gardens.

When I asked Joe Chacra '17 what he wanted to do with our free day, he replied, "let's get lost." And so we did, ending our expedition at the Seoul National Cemetery.

When I asked Joe Chacra ’17 what he wanted to do with our free day, he replied, “let’s get lost.” And so we did, ending our expedition at the Seoul National Cemetery.

 

 

css.php