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First Writing Workshop Reflections

First Writing Workshop Reflections

Here are some reflections from participants of Amherst Soul’s first ever writing workshop. Each participant had roughly eight minutes to write a reflection that speaks to one of Amherst Soul’s three themes (community, diversity, and identity). Stay tuned because we intend to host a couple more writing […]

Smartphone Takes Madwoman Fishing

Smartphone Takes Madwoman Fishing

I am 21. I enjoy long stretches of aloneness. I am not sure when it began, really, this fixation with being alone. Once, I wrote a story about a little girl who loses her father. She’s too young to understand what dying means but she […]

A Study Abroad: Application Essay for the Re-Admission to the Rigorous College of Amherst

A Study Abroad: Application Essay for the Re-Admission to the Rigorous College of Amherst

Dear Amherst,

I was somewhat surprised to hear that you are so very interested in learning more about my study abroad semester. For some reason I believed that having gotten approval from the study abroad office and most of our departments before would have been sufficient, obviously I just was not thinking clearly. It is very understandable indeed that you would wish to know “what [we] have been doing since leaving the College” so we can discuss our “readiness to return to the rigors of full-time study at Amherst.” So please let me explain to you just what I have been up to so far during my study abroad semester.

I know you probably don’t want to hear this, but I have learned quite a few practical things about the real world. Not only am I taking a class on leadership (oh god forbid, that does not sound very liberal-artsy now, does it?), but I am also studying nautical science. I have learned to determine my position using celestial navigation and am able to fasten pretty much anything on a boat using fancy knots. In other words, I now know my way around the open seas. Don’t worry, you won’t have to give me credit for this, I am just doing it for fun (I understand that fun practical classes are probably difficult for you to understand).

Besides that, I manage to leave the campus bubble every day and go to the beach. This doesn’t mean that my study abroad program isn’t rigorous enough for your standards and I simply have too much time, but that here I actually have places to go to. Let’s be honest, a trip to Antonio’s doesn’t really count as going “off campus.” I do love the town of Amherst, don’t get me wrong, but I appreciate the change of scenery.

Talking about food – every one of the houses here has a kitchen, doesn’t that sound like a strange idea? Can you imagine that so far none of them have burned down? I know, I couldn’t believe it either. Not one accident, not one fire alarm set off. Having the option to cook fresh and yummy food every day without walking, it’s so convenient and a lot of fun! I would almost recommend to you to build more kitchens, but after last year’s incidents of the Chuck Pratt microwave and the countless Plimpton-is-kind-of-on-fire-again events (it’s not that bad of a dorm really, people should stop trying to burn it to the ground accidentally!), I can’t really blame you for trying to keep us alive. Maybe Amherst just isn’t ready for that yet.

So what else would you want to know about my study abroad experience? Mostly, I spend my time in class. In fact I have more class here than I would at Amherst, but thanks for being concerned about the rigor of this program. I only take 6 classes, 4 of which are research-focused. I learn about different cultures, enlarge my horizon, step out of my comfort zone, experience new things and travel a lot. I do all the things it says in your study abroad brochures. Thus, I don’t see why you would have a reason not to re-admit me for next semester.

Should you have any further questions, please don’t hesitate to contact me. Actually wait, I don’t have a working cell phone, and probably won’t have any internet access for the next 8 weeks. I guess I was lucky to read your email at all before completing my study abroad semester…

Best regards,
Your Junior Study-Abroad Class.

Tall along the Kwanza

Tall along the Kwanza

“What is it?” “A note from the Portuguese. They wish me to speak with them regarding business with Angola.” Ngola Mbandi holds the note in his shaking hands. He looks up with uncertainty. “Sister, you will go in my stead.” The night was warm and […]