The Grant, the Project, the Plan

Keeping a blog isn't my usual style, but when people as generous and kind as the Circumnavigator's Foundation ask you to blog, you do it! The Circumnavigator's Foundation is the philanthropic branch of the Circumnavigator's Club, which is comprised of people who have done a full lap around the world during their travels. Each year the foundation gives grants to undergraduate students to conduct an around-the-world research project...

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Malaysia: Love at first bite

Coming to Malaysia, I had only a vague idea of what the country was like. My original research proposal finished with Myanmar, so the decision to go to Malaysia instead was a mid-semester switch, and as a result I was a bit under-informed about the country. I definitely didn't expect to fall in love with... Continue Reading →

Statelessness in Kyrgyzstan

As in Latvia, one cause of statelessness in Kyrgyzstan is the break-up of the Soviet Union. However, beyond that, the details vary greatly. Post-Soviet borders were drawn relatively randomly in Central Asia, dividing previously coherent communities of ethnic Kazakhs, Uzbeks, Tajiks, and Kyrgyzs. This is particularly evident in the Ferghana Valley region, which spans all... Continue Reading →

Mountains, Magic, and Money in Kyrgyzstan

Out of all the beautiful countries in my itinerary, I was most excited to visit Kyrgyzstan, and it’s more than lived up to expectations. Kyrgyzstan is covered in mountain ranges and full to bursting with glistening alpine lakes, snow-capped peaks, and spectacular fields of wildflowers carpeting the hillsides in the summer pasturelands. Even better, it... Continue Reading →

Statelessness in Latvia

Learning about Latvian history necessitates learning about the string of kingdoms and countries that occupied or fought proxy battles on Latvian soil over the past several centuries. Germany, Poland, Finland, Sweden, Russia and the USSR all took their turn in the Baltics. It is the most recent occupation, by the USSR from 1941 to 1991,... Continue Reading →

Berlin: The Most Hipster City?

Berlin is one of the coolest cities I’ve ever visited. It has a fascinating, infamous history, from the seat of the Prussian empire to Hitler’s headquarters to its divided decades during the Cold War. Fittingly, it has over 200 museums chronicling this history (as well as less serious topics like the Currywurst Museum). However, it... Continue Reading →

Statelessness in Germany

Statelessness in Germany stems mostly from their citizenship law, which the German Foreign Office admits on their website is “relatively complicated.” Until 2000, citizenship could only be passed by blood – you needed at least one German parent to be a German citizen, even if you were born in Germany (though you could naturalize later... Continue Reading →

Dazed and Confused in Abidjan

My overwhelming impression of Abidjan was that it was hot. And not just hot – the humidity is so high I constantly felt like I was swimming, whether in my own sweat or the moisture-laden air, I’m not sure. It's also the rainy season, so it rained every day I was there. My other overwhelming... Continue Reading →

Statelessness in Cote d’Ivoire

Statelessness in Côte d’Ivoire has been, at least for me, the most complicated to understand out of all the countries I’m studying. The conflict over what it means to be Ivoirian sparked two civil wars and divided the country in half for over eight years. The first President of an independent Côte d’Ivoire, Felix Houphouet-Boigny,... Continue Reading →

An Abbreviated End in the DR

Unfortunately, my time in the Dominican Republic came to an abrupt and unexpected end last week. I got news of a family emergency on an early-morning bus from Las Terrenas to Santiago. I was able to find an internet café and book a ticket back to New York after my bus arrived in Santiago -- thankfully,... Continue Reading →

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