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TBS Abroad Week 10: Color

By Emily Weaver on April 18, 2018

Week 10: Color

As we end this year’s run of TBS Abroad, here is a simple task. Find some of the pictures that you feel have the best colors and tell us about them. What emotions do these colors evoke and how are the a reminder of the experience you have had while abroad?

Thank you for coming on this journey with us! We hope you enjoyed!

Oneida Shushe 

I’m genuinely so thankful for my semester in Geneva and for the opportunity to reflect on my experiences here. I’ve learned:

-to think more analytically

-to write more clearly and concisely

-how to travel independently

-how to speak some French

-quite a bit about the World Health Organization

-that despite all the kinds of cheese I’ve tried, feta is still my favorite

I’ve included colorful pictures of me in front of the flags of the world, in front of a colorful painting, of colorful cars, and a beautiful sunset in Geneva. I look forward to the spring bringing out Switzerland’s colors in nature. It will be difficult to leave the country in all its beauty in June.

Thank you for reading!

  • Oneida in the lobby area of the World Health Organization headquarters in Geneva, Switzerland.

Micah Dirkers

As we wrap up this series of TBS: Aboard posts, I will look from the 10,000ft view at my experience abroad through three photographs which encapsulate—in a very brief way that cannot show all the nuances of my experience—my time abroad. I will focus on the on the three seasons I encountered in Scotland: sun, rain, and snow (which really stand for summer, autumn, and winter), expressed through a group of three images showcasing the colors of green, taupe, and white, respectively.

Arriving in Scotland in early September, I was able to feel the warm sun (Yes, that is actually a thing in Scotland, albeit short-lived) during the month of September and the energy that light brought to the surrounding people and plants. Given the short growing season in Scotland and the abundant moisture, vegetation can become very lush, very dense, and very green. Green has traditionally been seen as the color of life, vitality, renewal, nature, the environment, and energy. Naturally, in the city of Edinburgh, I experienced what green represents through the foods of fresh green grapes and hearty green lettuce. Even outside of the city of Edinburgh (and other Scottish cities), Scotland is covered in a very dense blanket of emerald green vegetation which reminds its inhabitants the surrounding nature—a foundation which sustains life of many types. And during my experience there, exploring the dense forests and the green hills truly did immerse me in this vitality and elicited feelings of freshness and connection. This is epitomized in the picture below—sheep grazing on the lush, green grass while soaking up the late summer warmth on a sheep farm. So, too, did I soak up the sun for the short time it was regularly visible, exploring many of the green forests and fields in Scotland during my stay there.

Into the end of September and until the end of November, autumn dawned on Scotland, bringing with it colder temperatures and precipitation. Whereas the summer light was more golden in tone, the light which accompanied autumn which more muted and grey in tone, perhaps due to the frequent cloud cover. Traditionally, grey has been associated with being formal or sophisticated (positively), neutral, dingy or depressed (negatively). While the lack of light in Scotland during this season may influence depression in some people, my experience of it was one which drew out the architectural details and the historical features of the buildings. Interestingly, this light and color had the effect of complimenting rather than blurring much of the architecture in Edinburgh and other Scottish cities, as much of the stone used is a taupe, with some variations being more grey and other being more brown. I remember one evening when I looked out my window and saw a mix of grey clouds and rain falling gently against the taupe building adjacent to my apartment. While this was one scene of many, this color to me represented a flow of time that has been moving for hundreds of years, a snapshot of which I saw abroad; yet it also was a feeling of neutrality and acceptance of seeing things unfold on their time frame with natural beginnings and conclusion—just as my experience abroad did.

Transitioning into winter during late November and early December, the previously brown(ish) and green city of Edinburgh and land called Scotland became more white, shifting from darker greys to lighter greys to white towards the end of my stay as more snow fell. The color white has traditionally been associated with safety, surrender, purity, cleanliness, and rebirth. The further into winter we progressed, transitioning from November to December, the more rain became snow which dusted the city of Edinburgh and blanketed the hills of  Scotland—signifying that the green leaves which coated the trees in the fall have fallen to allow for the fresh leaves to be reborn in the spring. Indeed, this is what I witnessed during my travels to the Highlands in December, where an abundance of snow and ice were to be found. Thus, I would have to say that white could also represent the cold—or elicit a certain stillness, if you prefer—where dormant life waits until conditions are more ideal for its emergence. However, when the sun comes out from what seems to be perpetual cloud cover in the winter, the snow glistens and reflects all the colors, allowing one to appreciate the beautiful and stillness of the white winter season.

To conclude, none of this travel, not one of the plants, nor I would have been possible or alive without that orb of light in the sky, our own sun, which I wanted to feature here in all my photos—a constant throughout the seasons and the ages. For the different vibrations of this light from the sun contain in it all the colors of the physical spectrum which give diversity, depth, and richness to our visual construction of the world—a richness that you can understand more fully by traveling abroad to different places on this beautiful planet.

Jenny Lundt

I have loved writing this series because it is a weekly reminder being back at Colgate of all of the amazing memories I had in Nepal. All of the pictures I have included over these weeks have been some of my happiest moments in my life. I am so thankful of the opportunity I had those 4 months and I will keep the memories in my heart forever. Go abroad while you can and go see the world !!!

TBS Abroad Week 9: Flowers

By Emily Weaver on April 11, 2018

In the heart of the Texas Hill Country, Enchanted Rock State Park rises from the rolling hills of green. Late spring each year, the prickly pear cactus bloom, showing amazing shades of orange and yellow. This image from Texas captures their beauty at sunset looking across the rugged landscape.

Week 9: Flowers

Flowers are beautiful and many people find them captivating. We buy them for dates and mothers day and birthdays. They excite us when we see them in March and April as they show the first signs of spring. Many nations have a specific flower as their national flower. There is a downside to this that many people may not know. Most of the flowers that we see are not grown locally. They are transported from other, warmer climates across the globe. This results in the use of fertilizers to keep them fresh and, in some cases, these transported plants become invasive. They take over nutrients and space that were once home to plants native to the region. This week, tell us about the plants and flowers you see. Do they have special meaning within the culture? Are they native or invasive? Do some research and tell us about the history behind this flower. Please attach an image as well!

Jenny Lundt

Many people assume that the geography of Nepal is strictly snow capped Himalayas with little else. Though the Himalayas clearly play a large part in the topography of the country, there are many other geographic terrains as well. Though small, it is a very diverse country that can generally be thought of in three parts. The top of the rectangle are the Himalayas, the middle are the hill regions, and the lower part are the terai (plains/ low land filled with agricultural). I had the opportunity to visit all three of these regions for a variety of purposes. There were flowers everywhere I went, even in places I didn’t expect.

I am by no means a geology or biology major, so I cannot exactly tell you what the site is. But I went to two places on my journey that were completely bare of vegetation that looked comparable to a moonscape. Both Humla and Jomsom looked like they would be exactly how I imagine the planet of Mars to be. On the Tibetan side across the border though, you could see green little oases that makes you wonder the power that China has to bring in water to such a dry area. I got to Nepal in September, after the monsoon season had ended, so flowers were just coming into bloom. Especially in the town of Manakamana in the Gorkha district (known for the Gurkha soldiers), I really noticed the presence of flowers. Winding through the hilly town and small allies, the smell of flowers were everywhere. This specific town is also known throughout Nepal for its orange production, so the people I visited there made sure to pick the freshest ones for me. I never got a specific lesson on the wide varieties. However, some flowers have a religious connotation which is what I found with the lotus and Buddhism. The lotus is tied to purity and enlightenment, which came up in many of our conversations about religious change. Earlier in this series I talked about the Buddhist hum om mani padme hum and how that was a significant part of my experience. Padme actually means lotus. So walking around the stupa, I heard that word hundreds of times.

Additionally, marigold flowers have a large part in religious ceremony. They are strung together to form a beautiful, pungent orange garland that is draped over people or religious sites. One of my favorite days was the first day of Tihar, an important Nepali celebration that is dedicated to appreciating dogs. The dogs are bestowed with the marigold garland around their necks and their foreheads marked with color.


Oneida Shushe

In the French (“Romandy”) part of Switzerland, everything is cheesy—the fondue, the raclette, (one time I had a cheese cupcake), and poems!!


Roses are red,

Violets are blue,

Flowers are actually super important because they’re the reproductive part of a plant, who knew?

How can flowers make people so happy? that’s something to look into,

Give someone a bouquet of them and I bet they’ll hug you,

Here in Geneva, it feels like you can find them on every avenue,

They make me enjoy spring more than winter, that’s certainly true,

Blossoming trees smell so good they make anyone smile when they walk through,

If I need a gift for my mom or grandma, flowers are my go-to,

They specifically love them more than anyone and so now I do too,

I miss helping my mom in our front lawn as the flowers grew,

Spring means this semester is almost over but I’m so thankful for these months and my new world view


  • Jardin Botanique on an April sunset. Geneva, Switzerland.


Micah Dirkers

In the same was that every country has its national anthem, Scotland has adopted “Flower of Scotland” as its “unofficial” national anthem. This song is regularly played at rugby and football games, as it evokes the country’s very significant victory against England at the Battle of Bannockburn in 1314. I did have the opportunity to hear this song played at the rugby game between the University of Edinburgh and the University of St. Andrews (Edinburgh won), but there is an interesting story behind why the song is named that way. Complimentary to the nation’s anthem is Scotland’s national emblem—the thistle. While it was originally seen as a symbol of defense in the 15th century (maybe because it served as a natural barrier), the thistle has grown in popularity as the national the symbol of Scotland.


Just as many of the flowers that we commonly see are not native species (flowers that grow in the surrounding area), especially given how many are imported and dyed artificially, many of the flowers in the city of Edinburgh were not native species—only those in the flower shops were dyed antically though. The majority of flowers could be found in baskets outside people’s windows or outside in little parks—with one major exception: the RoyalBotanical Gardens of Edinburgh. The Botanics, as its called, is a scientific center for the study of plants, their diversity, and conservation; furthermore, the area doubles as popular tourist attraction for flora lovers, a popular date location for couples, a walking area for families. Founded as a garden to grow medicinal plants, today it occupies 70 acres in the city Edinburgh, and there are additional Garden sites in Dawyck, Logan and Benmore. The collection in the Gardens contains more than 13,302 plant species, whilst the herbarium contains in excess of three million preserved specimens. When walking through the Gardens, I was astounded by the thousands of species from all around the globe—all the many colors, many fragrances, and many sizes, from small flowers, to large plants, to scruffy bushes, to towering trees.

Even during my travels around Scotland, I saw very few flowers. Granted, the blooming season of most flowers has concluded by the time September rolls around; thus, I suspect many of them were simply in seed during my time there. There were a few daisies and a few dandelions that did bloom throughout the fall, and I did see many of those when exploring Scotland’s forests and streams! I can only speculate what the lush countryside may have looked like during the spring or summer, when the sun actually does shine and when the flowers in Scotland actually do get a chance to bloom.


TBS Abroad Week 8: Water

By Emily Weaver on April 4, 2018

Week 8: Water

It is essential to life. Every organism needs it in some way, shape, or form. A water filled landscape can bring a moment of calm to a busy day or provide transport to some of the earliest trade routes in history. Cities are often placed along the coast on on the sides of river to take advantage of this resource. Water can also put a damper on your day in the form of rain and precipitation, but even then you can find children playing in it. Tell us about water and how it fits into your travels. Have you journeyed along any lakes or rivers? Does it rain everyday or only once in a while. Is the local consensus that water needs to be conserved as a limited resource or do people use it disposable. This dichotomy can be seen within the United States depending on which coast your on, so where does your study abroad location fit in? Simply, tell us about water.

Oneida Shushe

From an island off the coast of Rio to the Albanian Riviera, the most beautiful places I’ve ever seen have been around water.
The lake in Geneva—Lac Léman / Lake Geneva—and the one in Annecy, France—Lac d’Annecy—are breathtakingly clear. (Is this a product of environmental protection or that the lake floor is rocks as opposed to sand?) With friends, I’ve napped, picnicked, walked and shared meaningful conversations around Lake Geneva, and it’s still only early spring! I cannot wait for activities around the lake when the weather gets even nicer. There’s so much to do around lakes and rivers—I definitely see why human civilization has its roots near bodies of water.
This week’s post has been a short one because I have to wake up in a few hours to go see more lakes throughout beautiful Switzerland, au revoir!
  • Oneida on a paddle boat with Chelsea Santiago ’19. Lac d’Annecy.

Micah Dirkers

Just as every organism needs water to live, my experience abroad would have been dry (literally and figuratively) without this simple yet elegant substance. Scotland itself is known for its regular precipitation, yet despite its perception as a grey, wet, place (moreso during the winter), every other day in Scotland is rainy (meaning half of the days are sunny too!). Various locations in Scotland collect on average between 65–100 mm/month of rain (https://www.scotlandinfo.eu/scotland-weather-and-climate/), with a greater amount of rain falling in the winter months than the summer months. Given that I was in Scotland for the fall semester, a time which spanned the later summer months and the earlier winter months, I witnessed lighter rains in September and early October and heavier amounts of water into November and December. Given that I was studying in the coastal city of Edinburgh, I had the opportunity to have the fresh, maritime air present wherever I went in the city. The carryover from the Atlantic Ocean was refreshing, as there was always a hint of salt in the air. Sea gulls and other birds could be spotted often, surveying the area for food or shelter. While I was roughly thirty minutes from the beach, the water there at the beach was rather cold, and the beach itself was composed of rough sand—iconic for cold, rocky Scotland, but not the best place to sunbathe.

Concurrently, I also saw water everywhere during my travels. One instance where water played a prominent role was during my trip to the Holy Island of Lindisfarne. Due to the very low elevation of the right-at-sea-level island, it was only accessible by road during the day, when the tides were low. Outside of that narrow range during the morning and early afternoon where the seaweed was exposed on the road, one would have to drive though the ocean to attempt to access the island. Fortunately, we were able to complete our visit to the island before the tides eclipsed our route home. Another key aquatic feature I saw in Scotland was the famous Loch Ness—purportedly the home of the Loch Ness monster which has supposedly claimed the lives of a select few throughout the epochs of history. Loch Ness is advertised as the loch with the most water in Scotland, since it contains more water than all the lakes of England and Wales combined; however, it is not Scotland’s biggest Loch (that title goes to Loch Lomond, which I also saw) or deepest Loch (which is Loch Morar, which I did not see). Among the various waterfalls, lakes, streams, and puddles I saw during my time in Scotland, all of them shared this common compound of water.

Given the above, water was very abundant in Edinburgh, and in Scotland in general. Despite the abundance of water in this area, people were rather conservative with their water usage, and this was evident in how university residents were encouraged to use their water via the design of the plumbing systems and restrictions on water usage. For example, the bathroom sinks were very small, and strangely, the hot and cold (as in almost boiling in one and frigid in the other) water came out of two different faucets. Hot water for showers was available only for a few hours in the morning and a few hours at night, and even during those times, the amount of hot water was regulated so that one could not take an excessively long shower. While some people complained about these guidelines, I never had any issue with them really. This conservatism of dihydrogen monoxide (the chemical name for water) was also evidenced in the prices for purchasing bottled water, with a few odd exceptions; namely, one could buy a liter—sorry, litre—of bottled water for roughly £0.37, yet there were other cases where I bought a two-litre bottle of water for £0.17 (so, go figure). Nevertheless, I did see more bring-your-own-bottle fill stations than I did drinking fountains. Indeed, while water was abundant, people for the most part were conscious of using it without extravagance. Just as water is integral to life, water also added depth and richness to my travels abroad.