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TBS Abroad Week 4: Food

By Emily Weaver on February 27, 2019

Week 4

You can learn about a culture by trying the foods that are considered staples of the local area. The best part about food is that it is truly unique around the world. Ingredients that are common everywhere are combine in ways that make completely different dishes. Even across America each state has its own staples and dishes that remind people of home. This week tell us about the food in the places that you’re studying. Anything surprising or entirely different from home? What’s been your favorite dish that you’ve had while you’ve been gone? Any foods you think you may miss when you return?

Sierra DeAngelo

As a vegetarian, I haven’t been able to try traditional English dishes like fish & chips or bangers & mash (or chicken tikka masala, but I find this problematic anyway) in London, but one of my favorite dining experiences so far has been High Tea, also known as Afternoon Tea. Some friends and I used a Groupon to take part in this posh experience and it was a child/adulthood dream come true! The elegant tea set came out first, followed by 3 tier cake stands meticulously filled with tea sandwiches, scones, and beautiful mini desserts. I had never tried scones with clotted cream and jam but WOW are they delicious. We sat there slowly working our way up the stand for two hours and sadly couldn’t finish everything because we were so full. This is definitely a boujee yet wonderful experience I intend to bring back to Colgate and force my friends to partake in. Future Benton family dinner??

I can’t believe I almost forgot to mention the most amazing mac & cheese of my life! I felt the need to get out of the city and into the idyllic English countryside for a day and invited a couple of friends to join. We decided to take a train to Shere, a small town about an hour outside London, and got lunch at this adorable restaurant called The Dabbling Duck. The indoor seating was full, so we were instead seated in the heated yurt outside. It was the coziest meal I think I have ever had! I ordered the smoked Wookey Hole Cheddar (a cave-aged cheese from a village in England) macaroni & butternut squash and was in total HEAVEN as soon as I took my first bite. I don’t think I have ever experienced that much joy while eating, to be honest. Every few moments I would pause and vocalize how happy I was to my friends, haha. Although I would definitely travel back there just to have that meal again (and to revisit the charming town), it was a special on the menu so, sadly, I don’t know if that will be possible. Keep your fingers crossed for me, though!

Renee Congdon

Being a vegetarian in Spain was a pretty funny experience. I never had too many problems with it, but people’s reactions to it were always hilarious. For example, whenever I’d tell someone I was vegetarian, their immediate response was always “Oh, so you just eat seafood and fish”. When I explained that no, I did not eat any type of meat, including seafood and fish, I was usually met with shock. Spanish cuisine is heavily influenced by seafood and meat, particularly ham. Perhaps the most recognizable manifestation of this tendency comes by way of the infamous shops of jamón ibérica, little street-corner shops full to bursting with massive pigs’ legs hanging from every available space on the ceiling. One particular funny memory that comes to mind in relation to my vegetarian-ness abroad was one Sunday afternoon when one of my Spanish friends invited me to her grandparents’ house for a family dinner. On the drive there, María (my friend) remembered I was vegetarian, and called her grandma in a panic to ask her to make me a separate side dish (so kind!). When we got there, I was introduced to her grandma, and I apologized profusely for not being able to eat the meat dish she was making. The conversation went something like this:

Me:  “I’m so sorry I can’t eat the dish you prepared!

The grandma, with a look of almost caustic pity: “No, mija, it’s ME who feels sorry for YOU, missing out on my delicious cooking.”

In general, though, I never struggled too much with finding food to eat. Tapas are a big deal in Spain- they’re basically just small, snack-sized servings of classic Spanish food. Typically, you go with a group of friends and order a few rations of tapas to share among the table. One of the most classic Spanish tapas is tortilla española, not to be confused with the type of flour or corn tortilla that one might associate with Mexican or Latin American food. Tortilla española is a thick cake-like dish made of eggs and potatoes (and sometimes onions- a hot-button topic among the Spanish). I love tortilla española, so I knew that I could almost always count on it as a fall-back food to order if there were no other vegetarian dishes at a restaurant. Another classic tapa is pimientos de Padrón, small sweet green peppers that are lightly fried in oil and covered in coarse salt. Lastly, another yummy food that many Spanish restaurants have is patatas bravas, which are cubed potatoes, fried and served with a spicy tomato sauce. Between tortilla española, pimientos de Padrón, and patatas bravas (all pictured below!), I knew I could always eat at any typical tapas place. After I returned home to California, I actually found some fresh Padrón peppers at Whole Foods and made pimientos de Padrón at home. They turned out great, and it was a nice little reminder of my time in Spain. It was also fun being able to offer them to my parents and introduce them to a new dish that neither of them had heard of. I definitely miss certain elements of Spanish cuisine now that I’m back in the states, and hope to find more pimientos de Padrón soon!

  • Tortilla española (image taken from GoogleImages)
  • pimientos de Padrón (image taken from GoogleImages)
  • patatas bravas (image taken from GoogleImages)

Trey Spadone

Here is a list of thirteen foods that I have repeatedly consumed over the past month…








Water spinach.


Dragon fruit.

Fried noodles.


Mysterious pastries.

Rice. I have eaten rice with almost every single meal since arriving to Indonesia. It is an absolute staple of the Indonesian diet. I have enjoyed nasi putih (white rice), nasi goreng (fried rice), nasi kuning (yellow rice), and nasi sayur (rice with vegetables.)

My first dinner with my host family in Bali threw me for a twist. When I sat down at the table and saw my plate something looked familiar, but I could not figure out why. At this point I had been in Bali for less than a week, so I could not put my finger on what was in front of me. I asked my host mom, “apa ini?/what is this?” She looked surprised and said, “chicken nuggets and hot dogs!”   

One of the questions I get asked the most is “sudah makan?” This translates to “have you eaten?” I get this question at least once every day.  

One of my favorite dishes is gado gado which is a “salad’ of steamed vegetables, hard-boiled eggs, potato, tofu or tempeh, with a delicious peanut sauce dressing.

In conclusion, I have been fed extremely well these past four weeks. In fact, I am going to end this post here because it is almost time for dinner!

  • First meal with my host family in Bali.
  • A delicious meal I had the other day.
  • The inside of a mangosteen.

Emily Weaver

Since we moved around so much while we were in Iceland we often cooked for ourselves (which led to some interesting combinations and occasional adventuring with new recipes). The only time we did not cook for ourselves was in our homestay. Here, our host family often cooked us fish as it is a staple in their diets. My favorite dish that they made us was Plokkfiskur, which was a mash of potatoes, onions, and fish. I loved this dish and it felt like one of those comfort food meals that I would have at home. Once we left our homestays we even tried to recreate it one night! It didn’t come out as well as when our host family made it, but it’s a nice dish that I’m happy to have brought back with me.

The real experience with food that I want to tell you about today occurred when we were in Greenland. The woman who ran the hostel that we were staying in was very excited that we were there learning about Greenlandic culture. On one of out last nights she decided that she was going to give us a tasting of traditional Greenlandic foods. We were all excited, but unsure what this would look like.

When we got to dinner that night, laid out before us was a combination of all the foods that are traditionally eaten in Greenland: several fishes (both dried and in soup), reindeer (also cooked and in soup), musk ox, whale, and seal. I have to admit that I was wary of trying a lot of these. I never thought that I would be eating seal! Before we started trying foods, our host explained to us the tradition behind these foods. She talked to us about how there is a lot of controversy behind the consumption of whale and seal, how a lot of people think it’s wrong. She explained to us that in Greenland these meats are requirements in their diets. Because of the harsh winters that they get, Greenlanders need the fat and nutrients that these meats can provide, especially because it is hard to grow produce. Their culture is founded in only killing what you need. For them, they never kill more than they can eat in a season. This is their way of protecting the wildlife of Greenland and this resource that they have access to.

I have to admit that I actually enjoyed a lot of what I ate that night. It was hard to get past the fact that I was eating seal and whale sometimes, but it is an experience that I am thankful for.

  • Whale Blubber
  • Dried Fish
  • Minke Whale
  • Musk Ox
  • Seal

TBS Abroad Week 3: Language

By Emily Weaver on February 20, 2019

Week 3: Language

Around the globe there are around 7,000 languages spoken. They are representative of geography and culture and can be used to bring people together through stories that are passed down from generation to generation. Despite all of this, language can often be a barrier to the world outside of our homes. Even moving to a different part of the United States brings with it new terms and phrases that we can be unfamiliar with and it takes a while to get used to. This week, talk about your experiences with language. Does your study abroad location use a language different from the US? If not, what phrases or terms to fo you have to get used to. Do they use recognizable words that have different meanings? Any phrases or stories that you found particularly intriguing? Tell us about your experience with language, as you know the best way to learn a language is to immerse yourself in it!

Trey Spadone

Selamat pagi/sore/malam! (Good morning, afternoon, evening!)

Indonesia is one of the most ethnically and linguistically diverse nations in the world. With 17,000 islands, roughly 6,000 of which are inhabited, many languages have developed over the years.

I am currently studying and trying to speak Bahasa Indonesia which is the country’s official language. I became drawn to the language after learning about its role in facilitating trade between the various islands in the Archipelago. The people needed a common language and thus Bahasa Indonesia/Indonesian emerged.  

I am having a blast learning Bahasa Indonesia and attempting to converse with my host families, teachers, and those around me. Speaking of teachers, my language teachers, Dian, Sani, and Yudi, are the absolute best. At the beginning of the semester we had class for five hours a day, but they made it engaging and exciting. They also entertain endless shenanigans and silliness.  

During the first week, we had a “drop off” which involved the nineteen of us being individually dropped off around Kerambitan and instructed to interact with people. I ended up stumbling upon a place with a ping pong table and ended up playing table tennis for an hour with a couple guys from that village. We chatted about university, jobs, and our hobbies.  

In addition to Bahasa Indonesia, there are about 300 ethnic languages spoken on the various islands. For example, in Bali many people speak Balinese and in Java many people speak Javanese. What makes Balinese and Javanese even more complicated is that both incorporate different “levels” of speech.

In Bali, the language reflects the Hindu caste system that exists on the island. The four castes from top to bottom are: Brahmana, Ksyatria, Wesya, and Sudra. There are three different politeness levels of Balinese speech. That means that a member of the Sudra caste would use the highest level when conversing with a member of the Brahmana caste, but would likely use the lowest level with other members of the Sudra caste. Javanese also has three different levels of speech which are used according to social status as well.

  • Dian and Sani

Emily Weaver

The Icelandic language is very different from English. It has a few different letters and the sounds that we are used to making in English are different in Icelandic. Due to all of this I was very concerned about heading into Iceland. I was worried that I would be totally lost in the country. Turns out, I had to no reason to be afraid. So many people in Iceland speak English. Children learn it in schools and so many of the working professionals have learned it that any store you go into, they’ll know how to speak English.

Even though we could get by without learning any Icelandic we took a few classes in order to learn some basics. SIT provided us with a language professor who happened to be in charge of the local music school in Ísafjörður. Our lessons were full of songs that she taught us  and even some dance moves to go along with them.

Continuing on our musical trend, we also took some language lessons in Greenland. Greenland is an interesting place because everyone speaks the traditional Greenlandic language, but they also speak Danish because of the influence that Denmark had on the country for the longest time. Like Iceland though, most of the younger generation is also learning English, making them trilingual by the time they graduate high school!

We were incredibly lucky to have Nina Kreutzmann Jørgensen for our Greenlandic coach while we were there. Nina is a famous singer in Greenland and the arctic who is known for her work with several arctic music groups. She spent six hours with us, teaching us Greenlandic phrases, songs, and telling us old Greenlandic folk tales. Our lesson with Nina was incredibly fun, she even had us go stand outside to sing to nature at one point.

I had nothing to worry about when it came to language in these two countries. I could have gotten by only speaking English the entire time I was there, but instead our language lessons became some of my favorite classes that we had!

Renee Congdon

This is my favorite prompt so far!! I’m such a language nerd. I was in Madrid with a Colgate study group run by the Spanish department, and believe me when I say that I loved every freaking second of living in a Spanish-speaking environment. My all-time favorite thing was when I’d talk to someone new- a friend of a friend, or a neighbor, or someone at a coffee shop or on the metro or whatever- and after a while they’d ask me where I was from. When I answered the United States, I was almost always met with surprise. Some even said things along the lines of “no, no, but where are you from originally?”. When I confirmed that I was, in fact, originally from there, one of the most common responses was “But you speak Spanish so well!”. It both made me laugh and made me a bit sad that the world’s impression of Americans is that we can’t speak any language other than English. I always got a subtle ego boost from this- both because it was a compliment to my language skills and because it seemed to imply that I didn’t fit the mold of the stereotypical American. (The American stereotype, unsurprisingly, is not a flattering portrait.)

One thing I really enjoyed with respect to language in Madrid was learning regionalisms and dialectical differences. Some phrases are incredibly Spanish, and my Latin American friends would shake their heads and laugh at me when I used them. For example, “mazo”, “tío/a”, “joder” (that’s a bad word, but since it’s not in English I think it’s okay to leave it uncensored…), “guapo”, “mono”, and “majo”. Respectively, they mean “very/much/a lot”, “uncle/aunt” (but it’s used as an affectionate, joking nickname among friends), the f word, “attractive”, “adorable”, “snooty/preppy” and “cool” (used to talk about people). On the other hand, my Colombian friends loved to teach me their slang, which then confused my Spanish friends. For example, “chimba”, “vaina”, “parche”, y “parce”. Roughly translated, they mean “awesome”, “thing”, “hang out/kick back”, and “dude”. This little language game of peppering my speech with different slang words to get laughs out of different people or to fit in with different groups was very fun, and it helped me see the Spanish language through a more complex lens.

I’ll tell one more little (self-indulgent) story about my experience with speaking Spanish. During our very last night in Madrid, the whole study group along with our professors went to a nice restaurant to have a little goodbye dinner and reflect on the semester. The waiter went down the long table, asking us each for our order and chatting with us a bit, and when he finally got to me, I told him my order and clarified I was vegetarian, and he looked surprised and said “Oh! You’re Spanish?” I told him that no, I wasn’t, and he complimented my accent, saying he mistook me at first for a native speaker. I felt over the moon- and the fact that it was our very last night there felt very symbolic in some way. I left the restaurant, heading towards the metro with a big smile on my face, feeling half-Spanish and content.

The photo I’m attaching here is only kind of relevant. These are 3 retro postcards I got in Gran Canaria. They say, left to right: “Canary tobacco and cigarettes/national industry”, “boy, what tobacco!/ Tenerifean Eagle”, and “If you want your children to be robust, give them bananas/ Reject the green ones/ Eat them ripe/ The riper the better, for their nutrition and flavor”.

TBS Abroad Week 2: Water

By Emily Weaver on February 13, 2019

Week 2: Water

Water. It’s critical to our lives as humans. It can be dangerous or it can be beautiful. We’re very fortunate to have access to so many water sources here in Hamilton, whether it’s any of the countless lakes around Colgate and the State or the myriad hikes in the area that lead to waterfalls. Despite its abundance in Upstate New York, other locations across the country and the globe aren’t as lucky. This week your task is simple: tell us about water. Is there a daily deluge of rain or has it been dry for weeks? Tell us about places you’ve been where water was at the center of your focus. Where you are studying how do people interact with one of our planets greatest resource?

Renee Congdon

When I first read this prompt, I wasn’t sure what I could possibly write about. Madrid isn’t a coastal city, and as far as I could remember, I didn’t spend all that much time around water. However, as I started to mull it over more, smaller moments and memories related to water came flooding back (pun intended). I’m going to focus on one water memory in particular that happened near the beginning of my trip.

During our second week in Spain, we decided to take a day trip to Noia, a small town in Galicia. All of us on the trip went together, making the hour-long bus trek together from Santiago de Compostela before arriving in the small seaside town. We searched for another hour for the numerous beaches that Google Maps claimed Noia had, but to little avail. We could only find the bay (with no shoreline accessible). Eventually, we decided to venture further out, following the jagged edge of the coast as we passed from the touristy zone to the residential zone, stepping carefully across a creaky wooden bridge and holding our noses at the unmistakably sulfuric smell arising from some stagnant water below us. Finally, we turned a corner, shimmying along a small dirt path, and found what I believe is quite possibly the smallest beach in the entire world. It was a patch of sand about 20 feet long and 10 feet wide, but it was a beach nonetheless. The water was clearer than glass, showing the sandy floor below dotted with sea glass, rocks, and shells. I kicked off my sandals and began to wade into the water, looking down at my feet as I walked, enchanted by how clear and cold the water was. I shuffled along like that for about 10 minutes, picking up small rocks and shells as I went. We only stayed for about a half hour, but the sound of the water stuck with me for a while after, especially once we’d arrived in the bustling, almost unbearably hot Madrid the following week.

Emily Weaver

Iceland has some of the cleanest water in the world. Not once while I was there did I have to worry about the safety of drinking the water. Walking down the streets of Reykjavik there are drinking spouts that boast of “Pure Icelandic Water”. It didn’t matter what tap I was filling my water bottle from I knew that I would be getting quality water.

“Pure Icelandic Water” is not limited to the water coming out of pipes. Waterfalls, rivers, and streams cover the country. You’ve got several main waterfalls that attract tourists from around the world, like Dynjandi in the Westfjords (pictured below), but they are also likely to pop up coming down random cliff sides as you drive through the country.

Dynjandi Waterfall, Westfjords, Iceland

Our first weekend in the country we took a trip out to Hengill geothermal field. Here, we spent the afternoon observing and drawing conclusions about dozens of streams that cross the valley. The geothermal nature of the area allows the streams to range in temperature, causing one stream to be cold while a stream one meter away can run hot. It was here that our advisor told us that he never brings water when going into the field. Instead he takes advantage of the fresh water all around him and refills his water bottle. He encouraged us to do the same, but to make sure that there were no sheep around!

Hengill Geothermal Field

Trey Spadone

Here are some of my experiences with water.

Drinking water At home and at Colgate I am privileged to have access to tap water that is safe to drink. However, in Indonesia the tap water is not for drinking, (unless it is boiled, but waiting for it to cool takes some time). People drink mineral water from bottles, coolers, and these adorable little cups that come with a straw. The main brand is “Aqua” and most people refer to drinking water by that name instead of “air” the Indonesian word for water.

Water in a cup!

Rain Indonesia has two seasons: dry and rainy. It is currently the rainy season, but thankfully none of our days have been affected by the weather. The rain is a powerful force though. During our first week here I woke up at 3:30am because of loud noises outside. I opened my door and it was absolutely pouring. We stayed in an old palace during orientation and the water from the ground was overflowing onto the walkways. There was a lot of thunder and lightning and for a split second I was afraid that my group had fled and forgot me inside. Luckily, that was not the case.

Bathing It is wicked hot and humid here, so I have taken many showers in the past two weeks. Most people in Indonesia take “bucket showers” which I have grown to enjoy and appreciate. Basically, you have a bucket filled with water and a small container that fits inside. You scoop the water in the small container and pour it over your head and body. The first pour is always a little striking because it is cold, but overall it feels great. Bucket showers are far more efficient than shower head showers and they save water which is great!

Swimming I have been to beautiful black sand beach Kerambitan a couple times now. The temperature of the water is superb which it makes it a treat to swim in. The current is so strong and the waves are so big that at one point I was standing with the water below my knees and after a wave came in the water was higher than my waist. Our teachers have had to call us back a few times to keep us from getting swept away.

TBS Abroad Week 1: Public Transportation

By Emily Weaver on February 6, 2019

Week 1: Public Transportation

Hamilton is a small town where it is easy to walk from place to place. Locals and students alike have cars to drive around town. Despite this we have public transportation, the Cruiser System, for anyone to use. Students can take it up the hill for class and anyone in Hamilton can use it to go get groceries. Public transport can be incredibly useful when trying to figure out where everything is in a new place. It can connect different parts of a city, whether it’s as small as Hamilton or as big as New York City. This week tell us about your experiences getting from place to place. Is there a reliable system for traveling around? Do the locals use these modes of transportation or are they more likely to drive themselves? What type of transport is utilized the most? Buses? Trains? Bikes? On a larger scale, is there a way to get around the country using public transport?

Trey Spadone

Before arriving in Bali, I was assigned to write a paper explaining some hopes and fears I had about studying abroad. After being on the ground for less than a week, I have another bullet point to add.

I hope I do not get hit by a motor bike.

In Bali, it seems that nearly everyone has a motor bike. They are the most common form of transportation as they are cheaper than cars, (coming in at about 15-20 million rupiah/$1,071-$1,428 USD) and allow drivers to make spectacular maneuvers on the many narrow roads. While the Indonesian government issues driver’s licenses, I have witnessed people of all ages behind the wheel, well handlebars.

There are several reasons why I am nervous about being struck. For starters, in Bali drivers drive on the right side of the road. I foresee getting used to this switch after a few weeks, however, in a high-pressure situation there is a possibility I might panic and end up in oncoming traffic.

Secondly, I am a person who takes full advantage of unmarked crosswalks (at Colgate at least). I know that students/faculty/staff have no real interest in hitting a student, even if it just due to fear of the consequences that would follow. While the average motorcyclist does not want to hit any person, Balinese crosswalks do not have the same pedestrian protection power.

Thirdly, when I am in new places I tend to get distracted easily. I want to look at anything and everything and lose track of where I am.

In the United States, and I may be wrong, but I think most people who ride motorcycles, especially on highways, wear a helmet. That is one hundred percent not the case in Bali. In fact, a guy offered me a ride to the beach and when I asked if he had a helmet I could wear he laughed and said “you don’t need one!” SIT (the program I’m studying with) does not agree with that sentiment however and that is why I have been given a swanky helmet for whenever I catch a ride down the road.

Trey in his swanky safety helmet.

Renee Congdon

I was really excited when I saw that this would be the first theme on the TBS abroad blog, because I have a long-standing, intensely romantic relationship with the Madrid metro system. I say this sort of jokingly, but not entirely so: I wrote an entire creative essay on my love for the metro. I was raised in LA, where we technically have a subway system, but it’s difficult to use, dirty, not very convenient, and often unsafe. Then, in coming to Colgate, the public transportation options became even more limited. In Madrid, I felt free, like a real city-dweller. I often bragged that I lived “30 minutes from everywhere”, because regardless of where I was going, I’d pop the address into Google Maps, and 99.999% of the time I was a 20 to 30 minute metro ride from my destination. The sheer convenience of it was overwhelming, especially after living two years in Hamilton, NY. The Madrid metro is open from 6AM to 2AM every day, and trains typically come every 3 to 10 minutes. In terms of pricing, it was also incredibly accessible. With a student visa, we were each able to get an unlimited swipe card for 20 euros a month. I probably ended up using the metro an average of 4 times per day, meaning the cost-per-ride ended up being somewhere around a whopping 16 cents.

Anyways, enough about the numbers. I also love the metro for sentimental reasons. There’s a certain no sé qué, a certain sense of community that radiates in the rickety little cars. I’ve decided to translate some of the aforementioned creative essay I wrote on the metro into English, as I think it conveys my feelings well:

“The metro is, in a certain way, a mechanism for creating communities: micro-communities, united for no more than five or ten minutes, but communities even so. There’s something poetic in that fleeting sense of shared existence. In a city as big as Madrid, it’s very rare that you see the same face twice. For that small bit of time on the metro, I’m just one unknown face in a sea of unknown faces. We’re united by our anonymity: what a beautiful irony. In this way, the metro is a space that makes you feel content with your solitude…

… On the walls of the Madrid metro cars, there’s currently an ongoing project called “Libros a la calle” (“Books in the street”), which consists of small posters with excerpts from novels accompanied by relevant illustrations. During one of my trips to the university last week, I absentmindedly began to read one of the posters. Much to my surprise, after reading two lines I realized that it was an excerpt from a book that I’ve read and that I love: La hija del caníbal (The Cannibal’s Daughter) by Rosa Montero. I smiled to myself like a crazy woman: I know that this event isn’t, in the grand order of the universe, something incredibly rare or special. But for me, on the metro on a day like any other, this coincidence seemed to me almost sacred”.

The metro became so familiar to me while in Madrid that I actually miss it now that I’m back in snowy Hamilton. Some of my most pleasant memories from the semester take place in the metro, travelling with friends, or alone, from place to place, feeling an incredible sense of freedom with my little red plastic metro card in my back pocket. Below are two blurry (but fun) pictures taken by my friend Santiago during a metro trip, when he realized that we could see our reflection in the opposite window of the metro car.

Sierra DeAngelo

One of my favorite aspects of living in a big city is the convenient public transportation, which I appreciate from environmental, temporal, and financial standpoints. I particularly enjoy London’s public transportation, consisting of over- and underground trains and buses, which are very organized, clean, and easy to navigate. City trains are £1.60 each way (if you purchase a 16-25 railcard) and buses are £1.40 each way ($1.75-$2.10), so getting around this spread out city is pretty affordable. Buses are typically slower than trains, but my friends and I prefer taking them when we aren’t in a rush to save money and have a nice view of the city (especially from the upper deck)! Of course, the best way to simultaneously save money and immerse myself in the area is to walk whenever I can. I have been in London for over a month now and have only taken an Uber once, which is a testament to the great public transportation available here.

Locals definitely take advantage of the public transportation system, with many trains/buses getting quite packed during peak hours. Although plenty of locals have cars, the traffic doesn’t seem nearly as crazy as it is in NYC (my main reference point), which I think is due to both the larger area of the city and the well-utilized public transportation. Overall, I am very satisfied with the ease and accessibility of London’s public transportation system!

Emily Weaver

In Iceland it takes a while to get from place to place. Towns are spread out and, in certain parts of the country, there are very few roads from place to place.  What you would normally expect to take an hour actually takes much longer as you have to go up and around the fjords in the north of the country instead of over the tops of the mountains that are so characteristic. Because of this it’s very convenient to have a car to take you from place to place and, when we traveled to a new location, SIT provided our group with a bus to do just that. Never fear if you do not have car though! Iceland has a bus system that will take you all over the country. During our individual research projects we were allowed to live in one of three places and I chose to live in the north, in a city called Akureyri. This meant that I had to make the 8 hour trek from Reykjavik. The bus company Stræto will take you from the city to the north only making a few stops along the way. It’s like taking the bus from Hamilton to New York City, very convenient and only cancelled in the case of weather (which happens more often than you think in Iceland)!

Spending 8 hours on a bus seems like it would be unappealing, but in Iceland that’s not the case. As you move through mountains and fjords you are able to see some of the most amazing natural features. You can pass raging waterfalls or navigate through landscapes of snow in a matter of minutes. Spending time on the bus always led to new views and new things to be amazed by.

  • Views from the bus window
  • Views from the bus window
  • Views from the bus window