September 2009

Associate Professor Bill Kunz taught at the University of the Ryukyus as a Fulbright Scholar.

Okinawa—Things are moving forward here in Okinawa. Our initial base is in Naha, the provincial capital, which is a city of about 300,000. We have decided to look for an apartment in Nishihara, where Ryukyu Daigaku is based, which is about a 25-minute drive from Naha.

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IAS student Marisa Petrich spent two weeks in Moscow with a group of student journalists.

Moscow—Our last weekend in Moscow was just as full and fun as the first. In fact, I’ve had such a great time here that leaving will be bittersweet. Friday we visited some Russian media outlets—a local radio station and Russia Today, a local TV network—but that was just a warm-up.

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Associate Professor Bill Kunz taught at the University of the Ryukyus as a Fulbright Scholar during Autumn Quarter.

Okinawa—We have arrived in Okinawa, our home for the next five months. Most of the islands in the Japanese archipelago are close together. For example, there is a tunnel that connects Honshu, the main island, with Hokkaido, the large island to the north. That is not the case with Okinawa, however, which is a 2 ½ hour flight from Tokyo. It is closer to Taiwan than it is to the main islands of Japan.

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IAS student Marisa Petrich spent two weeks in Moscow with a group of student journalists.

Moscow, Russia—Our days in Moscow have been absolutely jam-packed, as our perfect hosts attempt to show us every inch of the city as we simultaneously work to finish our magazine.

This morning we saw Vladimir Lenin.

No, really.

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Associate Professor Sian Davies-Vollum writes from an around-the-world voyage through the Semester at Sea program.

At sea, somewhere between Morocco and Ghana—We are now at sea, into day six of our route from Casablanca, Morocco to Accra, Ghana. It has been absolutely fascinating to experience the changes in climate first hand as we have traveled from 30 degrees north of the equator to within a few degrees of the equator. We are so used to flying between places we don't appreciate the gradual shifts in temperature, humidity, winds and precipitation as we move between climate zones on Earth. I am so excited that I get to share all this with my students in the geography class that I am teaching! We arrive in Ghana the day after tomorrow; then we really will be in the tropics. I am bracing myself for heat and almost 100 percent humidity.

Learn more about Sian's trip around the world

Read all of Sian's Postcards dispatches.

Associate Professor Bill Kunz taught at the University of the Ryukyus as a Fulbright Scholar.

Ryukyus, Japan—Konnichiwa! Our Fulbright experience began with orientation at the Japan-United States Educational Commission in Tokyo. JUSEC receives funding from the governments of both the United States and Japan and oversees all Fulbright grants between the two countries. I went through orientation with the other five lecturers and one lecturer/researcher for 2009-2010. Four of the other six will be based in Tokyo, while one will be in Osaka and another will be in Sendai. We will be the farthest from Tokyo, with our base at the University of the Ryukyus in Okinawa.

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IAS student Marisa Petrich spent two weeks in Moscow with a group of student journalists.

Volokolamsk, Russia—On our first weekend in Russia, we did as the Russians do and got out of the city. Today we visited a working Orthodox monastery and had lunch at our new friend Oksana’s country house.

We met up with Oksana and her mother and a few of the other Russian students early in the morning and headed off to Joseph-Volokolamsk Monastery. Oksana’s mom began feeding us immediately—“piroshki” (delicious pastries filled with meat and vegetables), juice, and a sweet called “pastila” were waiting for us in the cars.

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IAS student Marisa Petrich spent two weeks in Moscow with a group of student journalists.

Moscow—I started out my first morning in Moscow navigating the subway system at rush hour. Sometimes it’s disappointing to spend so much time traveling underneath a city, but the Metro stations are a sight worth seeing all on their own.

Like the rest of the city, they’re showing their age—but in spite of being worn around the edges, the stations are incredible. Each station is decorated with Soviet-era statues or mosaics, decorative moldings, even the occasional bust of Pushkin (if you leave Moscow without being able to recognize Pushkin, you’ve done something wrong).

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Associate Professor Sian Davies-Vollum writes from an around-the-world voyage through the Semester at Sea program.

Casablanca, Morocco—In Morocco, I'd expected bright blue skies, a dry air that took your breath away. Instead, when I arrived in Casablanca, I got rain and overcast skies. Fortunately, the famous Moroccan desert and mystique was only a three-hour train ride away in Marrakech.

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Associate Professor Sian Davies-Vollum writes from an around-the-world voyage through the Semester at Sea program.

Cadiz, Spain—I am now in my first port of call after a week crossing the Atlantic. First port is Cadiz, Spain—reportedly the oldest city in Europe. It is an amazing city with an old center that sits on the end of an isthmus. The streets are narrow and overhung by ancient pastel-colored buildings, the sky is blue and the sun is hot. I led a field trip along the Costa de la Luz to Gibraltar (the rock.) A very interesting place to visit for a Brit like me and it allowed me to stock up on my English groceries! Our next stop is Casablanca, Morocco.

Learn more about Sian's trip around the world

Read all of Sian's Postcards dispatches.