Notes from the Field: Students' Blogs

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That time I ended up gazing at a Chilean valley from the back of a pickup truck had begun earlier that day with a pessimistic political discussion with an artist. He asked me why I was in Chile and I explained that I was studying political and economic issues in Santiago, comparing them to Beijing, China. He chuckled and asked me what I had found. I assured him the Chilean politics were not as bad as he might think. That sustainable agriculture seemed a distinct possibility. That changes in the Constitution would lead to more freedom of expression. That the Internet can bring people together to solve problems in labor rights. That the energy cuts due to lack of resources is helping save the planet. He shook his head and asked me if I was drunk.
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A chain of gutted pigs moves along a conveyor belt supported from the ceiling, swaying from the sudden stops and starts of machinery. Watery blood from the gaping hole in the pigs' stomachs drips down their back legs, forming a red stream into a nearby floor drain. The carcasses had just been cleaned, hairy bristles glistening in the fluorescent factory lights, but the animals seemed filthy to me. I averted my eyes by looking down at my shoes, which I had just wrapped in white plastic. They were already maroon.
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I am a complacent American.  By reading the daily newspaper and contemporary literature, listening to National Public Radio, and observing the hundreds of people I pass by, I know suffering exists in the United States.  My country is burdened by unemployment, malnutrition, poor education quality, education disparity, unsupportive welfare, natural disasters of increased severity due to climate change, stringent immigration policies, and more.  I could find others who believe in my political views and shout into a megaphone.  I could wear ridiculous costumes and harass pedestrians.  I could s

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The Dandelion School motto reads in Chinese characters ‘confidence, happiness, looking for truth, and creativity’ painted over rainbow streaks. The Daxing campus glints with glass and ceramic mosaics in dancing flower shapes, an art project created by the students in collaboration with the artist Lily Yeh. The color, as well as the four goals, attempts to hide the pain that pervades the school, which provides middle school education for the children of migrant workers.
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Because I am a human alarm clock, I enjoy the color blue. I have the unfortunate habit of waking up at five in the morning regardless of what time I fall asleep. At Peking University in the northwestern corner of Beijing, I would wake up to run as the sun rose. Circling the campus lake called No Name and the small pathways through willow trees and monuments, I chased the sun as it turned the sky yellow and peach, settling on a vibrant blue. Then the smog set and all turned grey. Beijing's pollution won the battle every morning; when it robbed me of color, I declared my jog over.
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Da Hongmen Market's facade looks like a sports arena, with white concrete spanning a whole city block. Outside, fruit vendors stand silently by their carts of mangosteen, cherries, bananas, and apples. Crowds of people mill about in every direction, slapping against the transparent plastic strips that cover the entrance. Da Hongmen does not seem like a social mall: customers arrive with a specific purpose and leave quickly with those items. The market sells an overwhelming number of things. Since the market organizes its products by floor, people go directly to the area that features the products they came to purchase.
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This is the fourth and last in a series of posts from our Global Scholars Program blog.
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This is the third in a series of posts from our Global Scholars Program blog.
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This is the second in a series of posts from our Global Scholars Program blog.
Tags: GSP, East Asia
This is the first in a series of posts from our Global Scholars Program blog.
Tags: global university, globalization
A golf-ball-sized rhinoceros beetle flies through the open-air pavilion and lands on my table. I look up from my notes, an attempt at reworking my African wild dog study methods, and realize I haven’t seen one of these mighty beasts since my junior year in South Africa. The beetle is a welcome companion on this quiet, star-studded night in Jordan’s Ajloun Forest Reserve, when two weeks ago and halfway around the world, I had waved goodbye to my doorman upon leaving my apartment. Creature comforts: another perspective shift made possible by the Columbia Global Centers.
Tags: global university, globalization
Columbia undergraduates have an ambivalent relationship with the Global Centers. On the one hand, the centers are touted by the administration as emblems of a new “global university,” setting us apart from our peer institutions and raising Columbia’s academic clout. On the other, no one seems to know what they are exactly.
Tags: SEE-U, Amman, sustainability, undergraduate programs, CERC
To be honest, I knew very little about Jordan until last year. As a research assistant for the Center for Environmental Research and Conservation (CERC) I was tasked with delving into the social, environmental and political situation in Jordan in preparation for a developing partnership with the Amman Global Center.
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Yes, it’s true; New York University students from Washington Square Park can simply fly across the Atlantic and complete their degrees at their satellite campus in Abu Dhabi, an island located on the northeastern part of the Persian Gulf in the Arabian Peninsula.
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“What would happen if one woman told the truth about her life? 

The world would split open.” 
― Muriel Rukeyser

 

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GSAPP: Palestinian Project is a 3rd year Master of Architecture Studio focusing on historical sites within the country of Palestine. It is a unique time for Palestinians as they try to earn their "seat" within the United Nations. The studio is composed of 8 GSAPP students with professors Anthony Tung and Craig Konyk leading the studio and research being conducted. The team of students will explore different historical centers within Palestine, learning from the historical architecture within the country.

Tags: restoration, workshop, amman lab

RESPONSE Amman LAB Workshop (ALW) brought together scholars and students from five different global universities, the focus of the workshop being response to “public”space within Amman’s centralized historic downtown area. The students and architects conducted research and met at CUMERC,  Columbia University Middle East Research Center in Amman, Jordan.  From CUMERC students worked closely in groups of 3-4 with students from other universities.

Tags: columbia, Amman, patriotism


It was July 22, a very hot day in Jordan. Actually, it was just like any other day in Jordan. Staying in the sun for fifteen minutes made my skin crinkle with sunburns. My makeshift hijab kept constantly riding up the crown of my head, exposing hair that burned like steel in the corrosive heat.