Young and Restless

blog1 (1) By: Xylia Lydgate

As I continue to push through my senior year, there are three things that can’t seem to escape my mind. First, graduating: walking down the stage and receiving my diploma. Second, my future career: where I’ll be applying post graduation and how I’ll get there. And third, traveling the world: having the ability to enjoy the cultures and cuisines and new sights of other countries before settling into a stable career.

My utmost desire is to travel. It is an energy that’s been burning inside of me since I took my first Spanish class in high school. Not only did I learn a new language, but it exposed me to a different way of life and a different way of thinking about the world.

Now that I have 44 weeks left of school, I feel that I’m in a now-or-never situation. I have one summer remaining before graduating; that means one step closer to transitioning into a career. I know most jobs don’t provide you with much paid time off or vacation days, especially for recent college grads. And I don’t want to be that adult who looks back and says, “Traveling is the one thing I wish I did.”

The clock it ticking, and I am proud to say that I have officially started planning for my first international trip projected for summer 2017. I plan to travel throughout Southeast Asia for two months, exploring Laos, Thailand, Malaysia, and Indonesia.

If you’re reading this right now, I encourage you to get outside of your comfort zone and see what else the world has to offer. In fact, PSU has a ton of resources to support you with international travel. In a rush like me? Campus Rec’s Outdoor Program is leading a week long, backpacking trip through Colombia this June!

Colombia Lost City Trekkinghttps://www.pdx.edu/recreation/international-trip

PSU Education Abroad Program: http://www.pdx.edu/ed-abroad/

Don’t allow yourself to become complacent to your day-to-day routine…travel!

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Opt out of Black Friday

blog1 (1) By: Xylia Lydgate

Get trampled or feel alive? I know what I’ll be doing on Black Friday this year, and it won’t be shopping. Read more to find out why.

On the day after Thanksgiving last year, REI closed all 143 of its retail locations, headquarters and distribution centers on the infamous American holiday, “Black Friday.” Instead of extending its hours and offering big discounts, the outdoor retailer encouraged its employees and customers to spend their day off enjoying the outdoors. REI sparked one of the most successful outdoor movements that year with over 1.4 million people choosing to opt outside.

In response to this, the Campus Rec Outdoor Program is launching its own outdoor photo contest from Monday, Nov. 14 through Friday, Nov. 25 (Black Friday). The purpose is to support the Opt Outside movement and encourage people to share their favorite outdoor moments on social media using the #optoutside and tagging @psu_odp.

Plus, there’s no better place to Opt Outside than in Oregon. With hundreds of hidden gems, waterfalls and mountainous views, I wouldn’t want to spend my Black Friday any other way. If you haven’t taken a moment to go outside and breathe, are you really living?

Join the movement with us by sharing where you like to enjoy the outdoors. Here are a few places to get you started: Boardman Tree FarmRamona Falls Spencer Butte.

What Europe is Teaching Me about Oregon

By Olivia Clarke
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It’s Fall Break for universities in France, and we American students have dispersed to every corner of Europe. I’m spending the week in Frankfurt, and friends of mine are traveling in England, Ireland, the Czech Republic, Poland, Italy, and Spain. We’re all trying to soak up as much of Europe as possible during the vacation. Our weekends have been filling up, too – we’re taking trips to places like Bordeaux, Toulouse, and northern Spain whenever we get the chance. We’re in Europe, after all, and we don’t know when we’ll make it back here; therefore, it’s important to take advantage of our time on the continent by traveling as much as possible.

I’ve been enjoying these European adventures, but all of this suitcase-packing and hostel-booking has also brought a question to mind: why do we only have this attitude when we’re abroad? At home in Portland, I tend to trudge through each week with my eyes to the ground, focusing on schoolwork and spending my free time on the internet. I rarely leave the city to go on hikes or explore other parts of Oregon, let alone travel out of state. In Europe, on the other hand, I’m becoming a regular jet-setter. But it’s not as if my home country is a boring one; being away from the U.S. is making me appreciate how vast and interesting the country really is. Even in the Northwest, where travel would be easy and relatively inexpensive, there are plenty of places I haven’t explored. I could easily take a day trip to the mountains or the coast with a few friends, and after I return from Europe, I think I’ll make more time for these small adventures. My time abroad is teaching me that travel is very possible and very rewarding; by embracing Europe, I’m also learning the value of what my own region has to offer.

Communication Frustration

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By Olivia Clarke

At a little over a month into my study abroad program in France, I’ve learned a number of things. For instance: French pastries are, in fact, delicious; discussing sensitive political issues is a favorite local pastime; and picking up after one’s dog is definitely not a priority here. But by far the most jarring discovery I’ve made is that learning a new language is really, really hard. Really.

I came to France after studying the language for four years. When I arrived at the University of Pau, I tested into one of the highest levels in the language program. However, this does not mean I’m anywhere near fluent. Between prepositions, conjugations, listening comprehension, and just plain vocabulary, the ever-present language barrier can make my interactions with French people exhausting. And then, of course, there are the inevitable embarrassing mistakes, like the time when I used the wrong auxiliary verb and accidentally informed my host mother that I was dead. It seems like every time I open my mouth, I get corrected, and every day I learn that I’ve been misusing a word or expression this whole time. Sometimes the frustration of being wrong so often just makes me want to hide in my room.

It all comes down to two basic truths: language is really complicated, and expressing oneself is really important. When we’re stripped of our ability to communicate ideas, it can be pretty traumatic; yet a new language can’t be learned overnight. So the budding bilingual finds herself in an uncomfortable no man’s land between blissful ignorance and fluency, where communication is a constant struggle. That’s tough, but I have to keep two things in mind: I chose this experience for myself, and you can bet I wouldn’t learn any of this from a textbook.

A bloody good summer

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By: Sharon Jackson

More power to those who are on the fearless fast track towards graduation by taking accelerated courses over the summer! But for me, I am in much need of some relaxed summer time off and re-energizing before another rewarding school year at PSU. Not all of us who are taking off these few months when the sun shines its best over the world, will be motionless. I, for instance, will be obtaining a summer “education” through my experience traveling to unseen [for me] parts of the world.

The last two weeks of August, my boyfriend and I are spending our time bouncing back and forth between the coasts of England. On my first trip across the pond, we will be visiting my boyfriend’s grandfather near London for his 90th birthday [merely conversing with him will be an English history lesson in itself]. In the seaside village of Churston Ferrers, we will explore the Churston Court Inn, a proper English pub that Sir Walter Raleigh would frequent, and we will visit the village of Haworth in the West Riding of Yorkshire, where the nineteenth-century literary family, the Brontës, resided. Nevertheless, England has a special significance for me, as it is where my father and mother met and married. I am beyond thrilled to finally be able to know something of their England.

So tell me, what sort of “educational” experience are you going to have this summer?

WWOOFing in France

WWOOF, which stands for World Wide Opportunities on Organic Farms, is just one option beyond studying abroad to get out and explore the world. I spent my entire junior year last year preparing for study abroad my senior year. My heart was absolutely set on it, and I was ready to follow through with everything. I’d attended orientation in Eugene, sent in my host family preferences, signed up for classes, and had even already checked out the tango dance scene. The only part that didn’t follow through? My finances.

Upon realizing a tad too late that there was no way I could afford the ridiculous fifteen grand to study in Lyon, I looked elsewhere for a way to 1) travel 2) ameliorate my French 3) have some fun. A few classmates and coworkers had done WWOOFing before, and they were the ones to put the bug in my ear. In exchange for approximately 5-6 hours of work per day, 5 days a week, a farm will host you, house you, and feed you. So essentially, you can go stay and work for a host family for the price of a plane ticket and whatever else you’d want to spend your money on for fun.

I chose to come to Velaux, France, just outside of Marseille on the Mediteranean, to work on a horse farm. My hosts have been incredibly gracious and welcoming, and I’ve learned a lot while being here. I still have two weeks left, but time seems to be flying. I’ve learned how to ride horses, how to care for them, the pain of getting stepped on by one and what the electrical fence feels like, and that horses get super cranky if you don’t feed them on time.

It’s been a great experience so far. I plan to do this again, but in Germany or Sweden next time. I’ve had the same advantages of studying abroad in that I’ve gotten much better at my comprehension of French, I’ve met a bunch of new people, and I’ve even been able to take my days off to explore Marseille, Montpellier, and Nice. And not to mention the food and wine… So if you’re strapped for cash but have a desire to go abroad, let me recommend you to WWOOF! If you’re interested in following my adventures as I’m currently working as a WWOOFer, here’s my personal blog: katiegoestofrance.wordpress.com. And if you want to check out what WWOOF is and how to get involved, go here.

Crossing the Columbia

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In the Portland metro area there are only two ways by car to cross the Columbia River, the I-5 Bridge and the I-205 bridge. And that’s it for the foreseeable future now that the Washington state legislature has rejected funding a new bridge via a Republican controlled Senate coalition. Is there an issue about this commute to PSU that affects students and their decision to attend the university?

The current I-5 Bridge was built in 1917 with a twin section completed in 1958. As the only drawbridge on the entire length of Interstate 5, it has the only stop sign on this important freeway. Hundreds of thousands of cars cross it daily going either north or south, and 60,000 vehicles alone travel from Vancouver to Portland per day for employment. It is a crucial connection for greater Portland and the entire West Coast.

The design of the bridge, although an engineering achievement in 1917, is now being used far beyond its design capabilities. The bridge’s wooden pilings are not set in the bedrock beneath the river but in the sandy bottom, thus increasing many times, the damage an earthquake could cause. Hours-long traffic snarls occur on a daily basis.

How amy PSU students find commuting to the university hindered by this ancient bridge? How many students find they must attend another university because they simply cannot rely upon a commute to Portland utilizing this old bridge with its traffic nightmares?

Students, faculty or staff of PSU, what do you think?


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