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Schoolwork, Bali, Wildlife!

DSCN0110[1] DSCN0127[1] DSCN0156[1] DSCN0174[1]Tuesday March 11, 2014

Lately I have been swamped with work. Honestly I didn’t think I would have to do this much homework while abroad! The assignments I have had since I last wrote include but are not limited to: a Chinese presentation convincing my Chinese class why they should travel to Antarctica (yes, in Chinese), a paper on the threats and opportunities for cyber warfare in China for Chinese defense policy as well as a 15 minute presentation on that topic, a 2 hour Chinese written midterm, numerous profiling reports for my Criminal Profiling class, and the beginning of a case study project for my Learning and Behavior class. Oh yeah, also applying to co-ops for the fall and registering for summer 1 classes.

But the main focus on the entry is my trip to BALI. I left on the morning of Thursday 2/27 and left Bali Monday 3/3. It felt more like five minutes than five days. The flight was around 5 hours. Our days were extremely packed, I’ll give a brief overview. Day 1 we settled in to our hotel and walked around the neighborhood. Day 2 consisted of a 15 mile bike ride, an elephant safari, and white water rafting; all of which were absolutely amazing. Day 3 we had a tour of Ubud and rice fields. Day 4 we went to the largest temple in Bali. Day 5 we took a cooking class, relaxed and then headed back to school. I wasn’t planning on going to Bali originally, but the trip just looked so amazing and 3 of my friends were going. It was so worth it and it had everything I wanted in it: culture, wildlife, and adventure. I had never seen elephants so up close before and I got to pet one! She liked me very much and was hanging out by me; attached is a picture. A big change from Australia—none of the spiders in Bali are poisonous! Given the opportunity to hold one by one of my tour guides I obviously did. Bali was an experience like nothing else and the preservation of their culture is absolutely astonishing.

I am so lucky to have gone there and I felt very spoiled when I didn’t want to return to Australia even though Australia is also amazing! I am going on a few trips around Australia before I leave. I only have about 5 weeks left in my study abroad and am going to Cairns on Wednesday to live on a boat for 3 days and dive the Great Barrier Reef, something that has been a dream of mine for years. I am so excited! I am also planning trips to Sydney and Melbourne before I leave. This semester has flown by so quickly and I am trying to pack as much as I can before I leave. I am extremely happy to have seen so much wildlife already and going to the Great Barrier Reef will be a whole new experience of seeing wildlife. Goodbye for now and I will have a lot to say when I get back from Cairns!



These are pictures from the few days we were in Beijing. As a group we went to the Hou Hai lakes and explored one of the remaining Hutong neighborhoods which surround the lakes. The Hutong’s are neighborhoods of old, one-story, traditional houses and travelling through them gives you a feel for what it would be like to live in ancient, dynastic Beijing! We navigated through the neighborhood’s narrow alleyways in rickshaws and were able to have a homemade meal in one of the Hutong houses. It was delicious! The remaining Hutong neighborhoods are being preserved as most have been destroyed due to new construction projects. They are also big tourist attractions and around the lake are some really fun shopping/eating centers. The lakes are also absolutely gorgeous and it was great just to take in the scenery there :)


Crystal Wegner


Northeastern University chemical engineering students embark on a process safety venture during spring break to Sherbrooke, Quebec, Canada.

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Ten Northeastern University chemical engineering students elected to head North instead of South for their Spring Break.  The venture is a part of a new international program initiative to offer international experiences to students during the Spring Break as part of their educational experiences.  The group led by Prof. Ronald J. Willey, Professor Chemical Engineering, Northeastern will focus on process safety along with some cultural activities in the Province of Quebec Canada.  Their plans include performing a Hazard Analysis of a laboratory area at the University of Sherbrooke, possibly working with some fellow Canadian students.  They will also visit a paper mill and a chlorine producer based on the Province.  The week finishes off in Quebec City with a surprise or two awaiting them.

Hi all!

My name is Crystal Wegner, I am an International Affairs student in my 5th year (and last semester!) at Northeastern University, and this is my blog about my 4-month study abroad experience in Xi’an China.

I arrived in Beijing last Wednesday on February 12th for the Alliance for a Global Education orientation of the Xi’an and the Silk Road study abroad program. A few days later we took the overnight train to Xi’an, got acquainted with the Shaanxi Normal University campus, and started up our Mandarin languages classes.

Just to give you a bit of background into my senior year thus far: from August up until the end of January I had been doing an International co-op with an NGO called Supporting Kids in Peru (SKIP) in Trujillo, Peru. At SKIP I was teaching children in SKIP’s afterschool program and doing microfinance and economic development work with the mother’s involved in the organization. Going from Peru on January 31st to Boston for ten days to Beijing on February 11th made me think my head might explode a little (it hasn’t yet). Also, saying goodbye to my friends, coworkers, students, and life in Peru is too sad to not describe outside of a tragic love poem (still in draft phase), and seeing my family and friends in Boston obviously made me want to stay there forever (they are truly lovely).

With this in mind, when I arrived in Beijing, China for the orientation with Alliance for a Global Education I was feeling a bit removed from the whole experience; still processing how I could have left summer and the beach in Northern Peru for winter and smog in Northern China! I understand this is awful though. I was in the capital city of China and it was my first time ever seeing China! I should have been elated! But it happened and I’m happy to report that since arriving in Xi’an I’ve been able to settle into my new home a bit more and have stopped being such a crybaby. Now I’m back to feeling like one of the luckiest humans around for getting to travel to so many really incredible places for my senior year.

Some things that I am really looking forward to this semester in Xi’an are my classes with Alliance and volunteer opportunities in Xi’an.

CLASSES: Our Mandarin language class is probably the hardest class I’ve ever taken. This past week has been a bit of a roller coaster ride of feeling REALLY excited to start classes, horrified by the amount of homework and how behind I am with Chinese characters, panic that I definitely am not in the right level and they misplaced me, and quiet acceptance… or maybe it can be called feeling up to the challenge. It’s only been 4 days, but I already feel like I’m recognizing way more characters and am able to read the dialogues a lot faster. The first day it took me about 4 hours to individually draw into my phone and annotate each individual character. Now I am down to about two hours and reading the dialogues is becoming a lot easier. All in 4 days! I am incredible.

As for volunteer opportunities, in China the children are adorable. It is winter and they are all wearing the puffiest winter coats ever created and animal shaped hats. It is so cute. If I find out it is culturally acceptable to take pictures of random children I will absolutely post pictures. It’s only been a few weeks but I already miss working with kids. Lucky for me there is a conveniently placed kindergarten on Shaanxi Normal University’s campus and they offer volunteer opportunities to teach English to the kids!
Our Program Director, Orion – maybe one of the nicest people alive – also informed me of a volunteer opportunity with an Art Museum in Xi’an with which Alliance has connections. The woman who runs the museum is also looking for foreign volunteers with an interest in art and curating.
Both of these opportunities would be amazing. I love volunteering in foreign countries because it really forces you to get out into the community and meet locals. Also, you can do some really great things like help curate museums. I feel like it’s especially important to volunteer when studying abroad so that you don’t get trapped into the ex-pat bubble. Also it really helps with your language skills!


Welcome to the OISP Blog!

We are excited to introduce The Passport, OISP’s BLOG!  We look forward to sharing student stories, study abroad tips, program information, and news from 403 Richards and beyond!  If you have any pictures or stories you’d like to share with us, please send an email to!