Mar 052015
 

As finals approach at Dartmouth College and my sophomore winter comes to a close, it’s the perfect time to look forward to spring break! Last year, I used my spring break exactly how I wanted to: I slept and caught up with high school friends. Don’t get me wrong, volunteering and traveling during spring break is a great idea, but after such a vigorous academic term, all I wanted to do was sleep last year. And there is no shame in that! It is a great opportunity to recharge and relax so that you can come back for spring term well rested!

This year, I am going to have a much shorter break than usual: about 5 days. But don’t feel sorry for me because on March 21st I will be flying to Morocco for my study abroad! Over my one week break I plan on sleeping, packing, shopping and spending time with my family. One of the greatest things about the Dartmouth Plan (D-Plan) is that you get so many opportunities to travel, whether it be for a study abroad program or for an internship. However, that also means being away from home, so I will definitely be maximizing the cuddle sessions with my sister and catching up with my extended family while I get the chance.

If you have a spring break coming up I suggest you evaluate what you need. Are you bored? Travel. Do you want to explore new areas of interest? Volunteer at an organization or shadow a professional. Are you tired? Then sleep! Whatever you do, make sure that you are indulging yourself and taking advantage of your little vacation!

At this point, I’m going to say my goodbyes temporarily. Between finals, spring break and Morocco, it may be a while before I post on here again. But do not fret, I won’t be able to resist posting my Moroccan selflies! So look out for those! Until then, keep doing well in school and doing yoga to calm your nerves.

xoxo

Nicole C.

Feb 022015
 
Colors!

I just made the trek from my on-campus apartment (near the Connecticut river) to the Undergraduate Admissions Office (near the College Green) in some pretty dense snow. My trek is shared by many students in Hanover during the winter. The first snow is always pretty and delightful (especially if you are from the west coast or a typically warm region), but after about the 5th straight snow day and realizing that you actually won’t see any sort of greenery until March, traveling adventures become less of an option and more of a priority. Hence, my list of the top 5 places to visit during winter at Dartmouth.

 

1.  Boston

While some may say that Boston isn’t the most appealing or entertaining city, it is the easiest major city to access from Hanover. The Dartmouth Coach (http://www.dartmouthcoach.com/) offers daily trips to and from Boston for just $50 round-trip. As a result,  Boston, for many students, is a quick weekend getaway with all of the major US city amenities at an affordable rate. Just imagine escaping the frozen tundra to visit friends at any of Boston’s 100 colleges and universities, checking out revolutionary America (say hi to Paul Revere for me), or indulging in some of the best chowder and oysters New England has to offer at the historic Union Oyster House. There are a lot of cool things to do in Boston and if all else fails, you have easy access to Logan Airport which will take you just about anywhere around the world. Wheels Up!

2. New York City

This was a tough one. I really enjoy NYC, so the Big Apple almost made number one on my list of places to visit. Of course, the city that never sleeps is within close proximity to Hanover. Like Boston, the Dartmouth Coach also makes daily trips t and from the Big Apple for a relatively low price compared to other travel options. Once you’re there, the world is yours. Not only does NYC have a pretty tantalizing social life, but there are tons of places to eat and sights to see. A substantial number of Dartmouth students are from the NY metropolitan area, and you’re almost certain to run into a Dartmouth alum while cruising the streets of NYC.

3. Montreal

Though this is a trip I have yet to make, I’ve heard far too many friends say that Montreal constitutes their favorite weekend getaway from Hanover. Montreal is slightly closer to campus than NYC, and is all the buzz in Canadian tourist destinations. The Programming Board at Dartmouth organizes annual trips to Montreal with hotel stay and many suggested options for entertainment. Ice bars, a plethora of eateries, and that french Canadian accent–what else is there to want in a trip from Hanover. This place is definitely on my bucket list before graduation in June.

4. Burlington

Burlington is Vermont’s major city. With the state literally bordering campus, the 1.5 hours it takes to get to Burlington is light work. Burlington is certainly smaller in size and population  than NYC, Boston, or Montreal, but that’s what makes it special. You’ll have access to a lot of the same places and things you would in your hometown without thousands or even millions of people surrounding you. Burlington is surprisingly diverse in comparison to other small northeastern cities, and University of Vermont (basically the nucleus of Burlington) might just give you that big university experience without the commitment. You’ll be right back in happy Hanover in no time.

5. The New Hampshire Wilderness

Alright, I know this list primarily consist of cities, but even as a city-boy, there’s something about the NH wilderness that is just as, if not more fun than going to a city for your getaway. Luckily, Dartmouth is highly invested in the preservation of the surrounding wilderness. The college maintains several trails, cabins, lodges, a ski way, an organic farm, and so much more. The Appalachian trail cuts right through campus and snow-shoeing is actually a thing around here. I never thought that the wilderness would offer anything worthwhile, but my friends and I make cabin camping, hiking, canoeing among other outdoor activities a priority. This getaway is right at the border of our campus and span across the entire state pretty much. With a membership at the Dartmouth Outing Club (DOC), you can get access to our immediate surroundings for little to nothing.

No matter where you decide to go, I hope this short list serves as catalyst for your regional adventures. Though many associate Dartmouth with being isolated, you have more access to some really cool places in comparison to most colleges. So if you ever find yourself tired of the snowy trek across campus, or the snow globe in which we live for 3-4 months each year, one of these places can serve as that overdue getaway that you won’t regret!

- Kevin

Dec 102014
 

Do you want to see the world but don’t have the means to? If you’re like me then the answer is yes.

Luckily, The William Jewett Tucker Foundation at Dartmouth (AKA The Tucker Foundation) provides loads of opportunities for undergrads to travel for little to no cost through their service trips.

The Alternative Spring Break (ASB) program allows students to lead and attend service-learning trips, both international and domestic, over spring break (in mid-March). On these trips, students conduct short-term projects for communities to help and learn about social justice issues such as poverty, homelessness, health disparities, and the environment.

This year, students will be traveling to Denver, the Dominican Republic, Florida, Washington DC, and West Virginia. I participated on the Dominican Republic trip in 2012 which focused on development in Batey Libertad, a Haitian migrant community in the western part of the country. ASBs typically cost students $200, which covers transportation, food, and housing. Luckily, financial aid is available for those who cannot afford the $200.

The Tucker Foundation also sponsors the Nicaragua Cross Cultural Education and Service Program (CCESP) to Siuna, Nicaragua for two weeks during winter break. This trip consists of two teams: Community Health & Community Development. The Community Health team is comprised of mostly undergrads and a handful of Geisel medical students and Dartmouth-affiliated doctors. They set-up a temporary health clinic and see patients from various communities of the area, as well as work with health promoters from each community to explore and address prevalent public health concerns. The Community Development team is made up of all undergrads who help with infrastructural development in the area. When I went on this trip in 2012, the Development team aided in a clean-water project.

Both the ASB and CCESP require a seminar during the entirety of the term before the trips to learn relevant cultural and political background of the countries and specific areas of travel/service.

View of Siuna, Nicaragua from above

View of Siuna, Nicaragua from above

To learn more about the Tucker Foundation, visit their website here: http://www.dartmouth.edu/~tucker/

I hope you consider participating in one of these programs if you come to Dartmouth! They were very rewarding experiences for me.

Apr 212014
 

Hey all,
So it’s been a while since my last post and it’s all because of how busy this term has been, but also because of how much fun the Spring that everyone is always outside enjoying the warmth on the Green and in town!

A few weekends ago, I got to attend a bioethics bowl in Chicago, along with three other Dartmouth students. We had prepared for this conference for a few weeks, over spring break, and then headed to Chicago with our cases prepared and ready for debate. Bioethics is an event that happens under the Ethics Institute, which also organizes a lot of cool events and offers an ethics minor (http://www.dartmouth.edu/~ethics/). It was a very great learning experience, and being there with many other students from other schools was great fun, too. It’s definitely nice to represent D away at a conference and to get to know fellow students. Finally, a picture of the team in the Windy City is attached.

Happy Spring!

bioethics1

Apr 072014
 

I never went abroad.  I never really got around to filling out the application and engineering takes a lot of time anyway.  I was ok with it though; I like it here.  (It’s like I’m an admissions blogger or something.)  I can deal with the winter, my friends are usually back at Dartmouth, and I don’t speak any foreign languages particularly well.

Sometimes I feel like I missed out.  My friends got to do some pretty incredible stuff.  They’ve gone to France and Argentina and Thailand and South Africa and all over the world.    I have some pretty nice postcards.

That said, postcards have always confused me a bit.  They’re a bit small to say anything besides “Hey!  I’m somewhere unusual right now.  How’s home?  Wish you were here!”  And if the purpose of a postcard is just to advertise that you are somewhere unusual, that just seems unnecessary.  You should probably know the person that you’re sending a postcard to, and they should probably know where you are when you don’t show up to classes for ten weeks.

Then again, maybe postcards are more of a symbol than anything.  Maybe they’re more a way to show your friends that you’re thinking about them than a way to make them be jealous of you.  Maybe they’re a way to commemorate a friendship that endured across distance and time.  Maybe they’re a way to say “I care enough about this person to wish they were here.”

I don’t send a lot of postcards, but that doesn’t mean I haven’t travelled.  I’ve been to the poorest neighborhoods in San Francisco through an Alternative Spring Break program and a swanky hotel in Silicon Valley through the Thayer School.  I’ve interned in a cubicle farm in Chicago and danced at a nightclub in Montreal.  Just last weekend I went to Philadelphia for a club track meet. 

I’ve been incredibly lucky to have so many opportunities to travel even without a formal study-abroad program.  I’ve brought back hats and t-shirts and little hotel shampoo bottles and more than a few scars.  Of course, they’re just stand-ins for the memories I’ve made while acquiring them.  And those are a lot more than you can fit on a postcard