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The Shock of a Common Language

By Estrella Rodriguez '17 on September 22, 2015

Estrella Rodriguez_opt

One would think mother and child would have similar traits. Maybe America is well into its rebel-teenager-who-tries-to-be-as-opposite-from-its-mother-as-possible stage. I believe it was George Bernard Shaw who once said “England and America are two countries divided by a common language.” I did not realize how true this statement is until I spent a semester in London. Its veracity goes even further than language, however. We just do things differently. I expected – like many Americans, I am sure – that England would just be a more polite version of the United States, with a couple of quirky foods and phrases thrown in. Wrong.

English … American Vocabulary (non-exhaustive)

Bits … Pulp; Frosties … Frosted Flakes; Walkers … Lays (chips); Washing up liquid … Dish-soap; Top up … Refill; Till … Register; Puddings … Desserts; Coriander … Cilantro; Soft Cheese … Cream Cheese; Jumper … Sweater; Toilet … Bathroom; Way Out … Exit; Lift … Elevator; Trousers … Pants; Trainers … Sneakers; Pavement … Sidewalk; Biscuit … Cookie; Crisps … Chips; Chips … Fries; Bill … Check; Takeaway … Takeout; Torch … Flashlight; Queue … Line; Settee … Couch

English Homes
Wake up and go to the bathroom, turn on the light outside the door before going in. Open both taps in order to wash. Stick cupped hand in cold, transfer to hot, for optimum temperature. Splash on face. Repeat. Head to the kitchen. Choices for breakfast: orange juice with no bits (pulp), Frosties (frosted flakes), “New York Style” bagels with Philadelphia full fat soft cheese (cream cheese). Let’s see what they think New York is. Not terrible. Take plate to sink and use washing up liquid (dish-soap) and a heart-shaped sponge. The faucet (tap) is too high, and water comes out at such a weird angle that there is no way to not splash while washing the dishes. Dry hands, ignore sprinkled shirt, start the day.

English Groceries
Cynthia Ozick tells us that “when you break off from the quotidian, it is the teapots that truly shock.” Just a couple of days ago I had a teapot shock. I went to Sainsbury’s (a chain grocery store) to attempt to find lemon juice to cook with for the fourth time. I almost walked by the stand at first. A sign at the top read: PANCAKE DAY – FEBRUARY 17. I thought someone put the lemon juice on the shelf accidentally, but when I picked up the bottle I saw: “perfect for pouring over pancakes.” Pancakes. Pouring?! Oh, the British…

They also:

Keep the eggs on a non-refrigerated shelf;
Have the shortest expiration dates I have ever seen in my life;
Don’t sell groceries in bulk (maybe because of the expiration date mistake);
Make you use the self-checkout “tills” which they then must help you with;
And package everything as if you will consume the entire product once you get home.

Don’t underestimate the power of the “little things”! I’ll be kissing my teapot when I return.

Providence Ryan’14: Conquering the Climb

By Timmera Whaley'15 on April 7, 2015

Providence RyanYou are currently abroad in Australia. What are some of your expectations for the educational trip?

I’m so excited but also very nervous to be able to wholly immerse myself in an unfamiliar place. I think that one of the most amazing things about study abroad is that is gives us an opportunity to be in a place that, without study abroad, we may never have found ourselves in otherwise. So, I am so excited to be here, to be experiencing a place that is just so drastically different from anywhere else I’ve ever been. I’m also really anticipating taking Biology classes while I’m at the University of Wollongong. As a Biology major, I feel lucky to be able to study the biological sciences in an area like New South Wales, which has ecosystems and biodiversity that is exceptionally different than that of upstate New York.

Recently, you participated in a research project. What was your research topic?

Last summer, I participated in a research project that was initiated by Catherine Cardelus and Carrie Woods. This study looked at the effects of nutrient deposition on rainforest ecosystems, specifically on plants found in the rainforest canopy. While in Costa Rica, I climbed our experimental trees with Professors Woods, Professor Cardelus, and with three other student researchers. We also collected plant and soil samples and data on the plants from all of our experimental branches. Back at Colgate, we engaged in sample processing that allows us to look at the available nutrient content that was found in each of the plants at the time that we sampled them. Because this study was conducted over a five-year period of time, it will allow us to see what shifts there were in biodiversity, nutrient presence, and overall biological status of the canopy community.

What was your favorite part about the project?
Without a doubt, my favorite part was engaging in the field work that we did in Costa Rica. We woke up at 5:30 every morning, ate breakfast, and prepared 40 pounds of climbing gear. We would hike out to the experimental trees and put ropes on them. We climbed anywhere from 80 to 120 feet. We’d then spend 3-5 hours in the trees, while tagging plants, taking leaf and soil samples, and leaf measurements. It was intense, but it was also the most exhilarating experience of my life. It was amazing because at the beginning, it seemed impossible to climb these monstrous trees, and it took me almost an hour to get all the way up. By the end of the five-and-a-half weeks, I could climb a tree in 25 minutes. To be able to conquer that climb, and then spend hours sitting in a biodiversity hotspot in Costa Rica, surrounded by hundred of plants, animals and insects (including bullet ants and spider monkeys) was an unforgettable experience. It’s hard for me to explain how in awe I was every time I climbed a tree, and I feel so lucky to have had this incredible experience.

Newsletter: March, 2015

By Frank Kuan on March 31, 2015

March 2015 CoverThe OUS Newsletter highlights the achievements as well as activities of our OUS scholars, faculty, and staff around campus and beyond.

You can download the March issue here.

Nolan Gonzalez ’15: Don’t Be Afraid to Explore

By Timmera Whaley'15 on March 30, 2015

nolanHometown: Seattle, Washington
Major: Computer Science

What was your favorite part of Japan?

I really liked the space in the city–Kyoto especially. The space Japan creates is different from the United States. I like to explore a lot. So, it was really fascinating to me. For example, I went to a river next to where I was staying. It stretches pretty far–north and south, I think. I liked walking down it and finding a different part of the area I was living in. It was really cool because the river would change. It had a lot of characteristics to it. The river would morph itself according to its circumstances, and it is really beautiful at night. You can hear the splashing of the water.

What is one thing Japanese culture has taught you?

I think on like a really big sense, it taught me how flexible certain aspect of our culture is. This flexibility provides a more interesting perspective of our humanity. The people I hung around taught me to appreciate certain routines–the act of doing. We would go do many different things for no apparent reason. It was not to kill time, but it was to do something during the day. The culture is much more open to going to gardens, little festivals, and stuff like that for entertainment. It makes daily life more interesting and worthwhile.

What is one piece of advice you would give to a junior interesting in going abroad?

I think it would be great to go out of your comfort zone whenever you get an opportunity. I think it is important that if your host family or others you know invite you to go somewhere, it would be better to go. You don’t know what is really going to happen. For the times I decided not to go to certain places, I regretted it. The places my host family recommended were really memorable. Don’t be afraid to say yes.

Ibrahim Shah ’15: Indulge in Your Education

By Timmera Whaley'15 on March 1, 2015

Brooklyn, NY

Awards and Leadership Positions:
Most Dedicated Student
Former Chief President of Brothers

What is the best advice you could give to a first year?
Don’t be afraid to branch out, meet new people, and try new things. College is the most beautifully selfish moment in your life. You should indulge yourself, find out who you want to be, take advantage of the opportunities, and the environment here to become that person.

One class that has shaped your opinion and how?

The most interesting class I’ve taken so far at Colgate is Philosophy of Mind with Professor Maura Tumulty. The course incorporates philosophical and scientific perspectives concerning the intersection of the mind, consciousness, and our overall mental lives. It has challenged both the scientist and philosopher in me.

Any leadership position you have had at Colgate or outside of Colgate you would like to expound upon?

I have always tried to be a leader in everything I do. At Colgate, I was the chief of Brothers, and I also served in other core positions within the group. I endeavored to continue the group’s mission statement of educating the community about issues men of color face through brown bags and guest speakers,  creating a support network for men of color on campus, and supporting other interest groups focusing on diversity on campus.

I also served as the supervisor for the first responders on campus, as well as performing my duties as an EMT. I was responsible for shift scheduling, payroll, inventory of medical equipment, day-to-day operations for all student first responders on campus, and I also functioned as a first responder for the men’s rugby team.

Each summer, I serve as one of the supervisors for staff members for the Oliver Scholar Program (of which I am an alumnus) during its summer immersion program. The non-profit organization seeks to provide inner-city students of color with the opportunity to attend elite independent/prep schools in the United States. The summer immersion program vets and prepares candidates for the rigor of the independent school learning environment. I am responsible for standardized test prep classes, tutoring sessions, community building, community activities, and supervising all counselors and teaching assistants for the duration of the program.

How was your host family in Madrid, Spain? 

I had a host mom. Her children were grown with kids of their own. My host mom was great. She gave me cooking lessons. I learned how to make traditional Spanish food like paella. She also took me to classical music concerts, plays, and theater. She is a patron of the Museo Nacional del Prado. Sometimes, she would take me as a plus-one, and the museum would give us private tours.

How has international education changed your perspective? 

I went to Munich, Paris, and Amsterdam; I also traveled throughout Spain. I think having the opportunity to study abroad gave me a different perspective on learning and life. When you travel, you get to see the world through a different perspective–politically and morally.  It forces you to question your beliefs, or it enforces them. Traveling gives you the opportunity to explore yourself.

Newsletter: February, 2015

By Contributing Writer on February 28, 2015

Cover featuring students on stage at Vagina MonologuesThe OUS Newsletter highlights the achievements as well as activities of our OUS scholars, faculty, and staff around campus and beyond.

You can download the February issue here.

Branden Lopez ’15: China Revisited

By Contributing Writer on February 25, 2015


Hometown: Bronx, NY

Majors: International Relations and Chinese

In 2013, I was able to travel to Shanghai for the purpose of improving my Mandarin and immersing myself within Chinese culture. I enjoyed that experience so much that I decided to return to Shanghai this past summer, interning for a consulting company in Shanghai that helped foreign companies enter the Chinese market and domestic companies grow.

I primarily worked in the marketing division of the company. Now, I could bore you with tedious details of what I did every day, but it wasn’t the usual busy work typical of internship. The first day I stepped into the office I was assigned to rebrand an image of a Taiwanese-based company that wanted to enter the Chinese market. It was challenging but with some help from my boss and a fellow intern, I was able to help the company establish operations in Shanghai and Nanjing.

This experience forced me to learn how to speak in Mandarin within a professional setting. I was taken to multiple business meetings in Shanghai, Hangzhou, Nanjing and a few other cities. I was truly lucky to have the boss that I did.

One experience that made an impact on me from my time interning abroad would be the last project I worked on. I was given the task of promoting a Green China project. Besides learning and using marketing strategies on this project, I couldn’t believe that I was witnessing a green initiative in China because I felt that China lacked environmental consciousness. Being able to witness that turn, and being involved with it firsthand was an experience I thought to be truly special. In all, I found that my trip to China was very rewarding, and I am positive that working in China is in my future. 再见!

Newsletter: Winter, 2014

By Frank Kuan on December 15, 2014

OUS Newsletter featuring student modeling African fashionThe OUS Newsletter highlights the achievements as well as activities of our OUS scholars, faculty, and staff around campus and beyond.

You can download the Winter 2014 issue here.

Hashim Osaze Rainey ’15: Self-Discovery Through Involvement on Campus

By Christelle Boursiquot '15 on November 12, 2014
Hashim Rainey '15

Hashim Rainey ’15

Many OUS Scholars are known for their exceptional work on projects, in classes, for research and within student groups. The epitome of the working college student, OUS scholars work with a passion in their heart and glowing resumes filled with various skills, assets, leadership and qualities from various places on and off campus. One such individual that OUS Scholars will find at events, in student groups, and at Case Library is Hashim Rainey, Class of 2015. Rainey is no exception to the busy schedules that OUS Scholars keep at Colgate University. However, as a senior, Rainey has managed to chisel the skill of juggling various responsibilities into a finished system of steps. Finding that balance is an ever-evolving process, and Rainey shares with OUS the steps to discovering that mindset while finding yourself on campus.

First, let’s get to know Hashim.

Hashim Osaze Rainey, Class of 2015, is from Atlanta, GA and is a philosophy major with an intended minor in English. He is currently a member of Brothers, a campus ambassador for Venture For America (VFA), and a recent member of the Pre-Law Society. He is often the man working behind the curtains of these student groups – doing the logistical, foundational work that is essential to any group and every event. Rainey is known to want things to go as smoothly as possible.  This kind of individual is sought after by many groups, corporations and institutions in general. Knowing that, Rainey chooses involvement in those communities to which he feels he can offer his asset and implement his passions and beliefs as well. When asked how he is able to juggle it all these years at Colgate, he revealed a surprisingly simple system.

“I believe being involved on campus means being able to have any idea that pertains to Colgate as a whole, and being able to produce or fashion that idea in some way on campus. That idea can take any shape. It may big, small, personal, general etc.

I don’t look at my life inside/outside of Colgate and being involved on campus as two separate entities. What I do at Colgate is forever in the four years of me being here. My personal struggles are dealing with overload. I tend to try to take on so many tasks that I can overwhelm myself and thus I either sacrifice quality or I sacrifice my own personal well-being. I overcome these by admitting that I need help and go out and seek great counsel from a mentor, professor, or one of my wise friends. Once those tasks are completed, and done well, do I feel fulfilled about being involved on campus the most. A lot of the times less is more. It is about finding the few things you can do and doing them well.

As an OUS scholar, I try to get involved as much as I can because I understand that Colgate has a predominant viewpoint on the way society works and that, in turn, is projected on to certain individuals, such as OUS scholars. To better the Colgate community, it is important to teach and educate those of a viewpoint what they may have missed throughout the course of their life. It would be selfish of me not to spread my knowledge, my experiences – all of which compose of that viewpoint. Also involvement on campus is an amazing opportunity for myself to learn and continue to add to, renovate, and adjust my viewpoint. I see me being involved as an overall good source of knowledge for myself and the Colgate community at large.

Being involved on campus has helped me understand the very different mindsets of people as a whole. I see that being involved has also granted me a lot of social mobility that I would not have necessarily gathered just by staying to myself on this campus. I know that this school is small and everyone can truly make a difference to it one way or another. There are so many opportunities to do well at Colgate. All that is required is the will from your mind to go out and accomplish these grand opportunities. With these opportunities can you also see what you personally want to do in life after college. I personally believe that Colgate is for self-discovery. Since the nature of this university is of Liberal Arts, no true major will guarantee you a set career path after Colgate. Major does not equal job. What will help you in your career path is trying a variety of different things at Colgate and finding out what naturally seems fun and meaningful to you. Then you take those skills out into job market and find out, which career matches those particular skills you picked up on by being involved at Colgate.

Lastly as a piece of advice, specifically first years: “Do not get distracted with what you want to be when you leave Colgate. Be involved with your Colgate community because this place is temporary; you will not get these years back. Try and broaden your range of education so you can see what you are able to seriously accomplish as a career.”




Newsletter: October, 2014

By Frank Kuan on October 9, 2014

Student researcher descends from the rain forest canopy in a harnessThe OUS Newsletter highlights the achievements as well as activities of our OUS scholars, faculty, and staff around campus and beyond.

You can download the October issue here.