Lifestyle

Travel: Arusha

While some students here at UCSD may yearn for the typical ease of summer vacation, and may seek travel locations during their break that assist their escape from the rigors of college life, others seek adventure and satisfaction at the price of sacrifice. Some will abandon dreams of sunny beaches or plush hotel rooms in order to serve the global community. These students will face one of the scariest epidemics on our planet, AIDS, head on in the place where AIDS is literally everywhere, Africa. These students will be a part of the Arusha Project, which sends students to Arusha, Tanzania to volunteer in schools, hospitals and clinics. The project, according to its Web site, addresses gender equality and sexual health and exposes students to these issues through hands-on experience in the global community. Stephanie Moody-Geissler, a senior from Revelle College, went to Tanzania last year with the project, and with the chancellor’s research scholarship for $3,000, to look at the availability of antiretroviral drugs to the women of the area. The experience changed her career ambitions drastically. Moody-Geissler wanted to be a forensic pathologist since she was about 8 years old, but the trip made changed her focus to public health and HIV across the world. While in Arusha, Moody-Geissler volunteered in the testing clinic of the district hospital, where she would sit in on counseling sessions, administer tests and do other assorted odds and ends. “”Three days before I left, they just got their first computer,”” she said. “”They looked at me, and they said ‘You set this up.'”” Moody-Geissler will return with the project this year for another trip. Giving up the easy live to volunteer in far-off places, like Arusha, does have its rewards. Ryan Shepherd, a Sixth College junior who also participated in the program last year, gladly soaked up the culture and enjoyed the local ways. “”In their language, they call everyone brother, father, mother,”” he said. “”I was always kaka Ryan, which means ‘brother Ryan.'”” Shepard was placed at a preschool to teach English, often in the form of song (Twinkle Twinkle Little Star was a favorite). He enjoyed how the locals would talk to him on the street with sincere interest – ‘what’s the news’ is the greeting of choice, as a simple ‘hello’ does not exist in Swahili. Most of the students, like Rachel Keeler, a Sixth College senior, say that volunteering in a place like Tanzania trumps tourism any day. Keeler, who studied in Spain prior to going to Arusha, says that just visiting a place will give a traveler only a superficial experience. “”It’s completely different if you live in the place and work with the people,”” she said. “”It’s such a better way to get to know a place.”” ...

Travel: London

With some of the best professors and teaching assistants in the middle of an international metropolis as laid- back and lively as London, summer school at the London School of Economics and Political Science is an adventure that is guaranteed to be memorable. If studying abroad during the academic year doesn’t work out, this is the next best option. Not only do they speak English, but the LSE is ranked in the top 15 schools in the world, making the credit-transfer process as an Opportunities Abroad Program less of a hassle. In a six-week-long program, teachers – known as TAs in the United States – can easily become friends. Case in point, the teachers make the quick pace of summer school completely digestible, then drink with their students at the end-of-the-term open bar that is sponsored by the university (and student fees). Students from all over the world take one course ranging from economics, international relations, accounting and finance to media, government, law and management per three-week session, with two back-to-back sessions offered per summer. The three to four hours of class per day allow for plenty of learning during and time to explore the city at night. Culture shock isn’t, and shouldn’t be, much of a concern in London. That is, unless you can’t handle interesting books sold in trendy music shops and great-tasting, grocery store-brand ravioli from Italy always on sale – one of the benefits of European Union that can be learned firsthand after listening to a lecture on it earlier that day. High Holborn, the most popular residence hall, is only a five-minute walk from campus and is located equidistant from three tube – London’s subway system. Being in the middle of the theater district, student tickets are easily accessible. Public transportation in London makes it easy to get to Hampstead Heath, the region’s version of a national park. The site has amazing views of the city and lakes in which to swim; classical music concerts at Royal Albert Hall, where standing room in the pit at the British Broadcasting Corporation Proms only runs £5; and Camden Town for the underground British music scene. If museums – which are all free in London, except for special exhibitions – and sightseeing don’t sound exciting, the pubs fill up and spill into the streets at 5 p.m. when most of the city gets off work. Music festivals and outdoor concerts are planned throughout the warm summer, and attract comfortable crowds. Weekend trips to Oxford, Cambridge, Paris and Brussels are also easily accessible, and it’s even cheap to fly anywhere RyanAir, EasyJet and Transavia travel since local airports are their major hubs. Turn in applications early, as the rolling admissions process is easy to take advantage of since there are no letters of recommendation required; however, popular classes fill up quickly. Don’t forget, room and board is in British pounds, which makes the £3,351 fee for both sessions cost approximately $6,790, given the 2.0265 exchange rate. Good thing student discounts and pub lunch specials are plentiful. One final note: In a single day in London, a single person is taped approximately 250 times by CC-TV, the closed-circuit surveillance system in the city. So, despite the weather, try to smile a lot. ...

Travel: South Africa

South Africa may be the last destination students think about when going abroad. Spain, Australia, France and Costa Rica all seem like common choices, but I doubt many people on campus are even aware that South Africa is a possible option. Well it is, and it offers plenty of advantages over other regions; those wanting to shirk requirements to take year of foreign language to go abroad but who are interested in spending a significant amount of time in a unique political and social environment will want to make South Africa their destination. With the disgusting policies of the apartheid regime still fresh in most South Africans’ minds, the racial dynamic in the country is unique, but never as dangerous as it is pigeonholed to be. Locals can be wary of white Americans “”visiting”” their homeland – but a simple explanation that you’re California and didn’t vote for Dubya can render a local friendly. A huge South African draw is the country’s beaches, which may seem lackluster when compared to San Diego’s coast, but the beaches running from Durban to Cape Town dwarf La Jolla Shores. The city of Cape Town is definitely the best metropolitan area in all of South Africa. Not only does it boast Cape Point, where the Indian and Atlantic Oceans meet in a picturesque setting, but Cape Town is also home to great hikes to the top of Table Mountain, an amazing restaurant and nightclub scene and a great mix of cultures that is unmatched, including my diverse hometown of San Francisco. For those under-21-year-olds sick of the underage life in San Diego, the drinking age in South Africa is 18 and the wine country of Cape Town is beautiful, offering affordable wine tours and many other unbeatable excursions. Because of a school system that is nowhere as demanding as the University of California, and an exchange rate that favors the dollar, traveling is an option for every weekend. I personally made it to Swaziland, Zambia and Malawi and other members of my program went as far as Mozambique, Zimbabwe and Botswana. Wherever you decide to go in your spare time, utilizing hostels will keep adventures affordable for skydiving, shark-cage diving, scuba diving or snorkeling, white-water rafting or just spending a day at a game reserve admiring the animals that you can normally only see at San Diego Wild Animal Park. No matter what you decide, South Africa and the rest of sub-Saharan Africa offer an amazing abroad experience and an enlightening experience into political, racial and class issues that face many people outside of the American bubble. ...

Travel: Australia

Australia’s culture is an easy transition because it is Americanized. But don’t fret; although Australians are English speakers, Australia’s vernacular consists of lingo that is far from American. Do not be surprised if a “”bloke,”” Aussie slang’s equivalent of “”dude,”” turns to you and says, “”G’day, how are you going?”” A must-see destination for the student traveler in Australia is the Great Barrier Reef, located off the northeast coast of Australia. The best part about visiting the reef is its easy access to snorkeling or scuba diving. Rainbow-scaled fish, life-sized clams and sea turtles are just some of the creatures you are likely to glimpse while snorkeling or scuba diving. Brushing your hand against a sea turtle’s back is just the beginning. Australia may be famous for its sea life, but its unique collection of land-locked wildlife is what sets it apart from other countries. Australia’s native marsupials, kangaroos and koalas, offer photo ops with cute little furry things in their natural habitat, not in a California zoo. Other native animals, much less cute, include the platypus, emu, wombat, dingo and the Tasmanian devil. Even if you aren’t an animal fan, you will be captivated by Australia’s remarkably contrasting sceneries. Australia has a variety of topographical regions, including the Outback, the coast, the rainforests and desert terrain. Visitors can also familiarize themselves with Australian aboriginal people and their customs. The aborigines are well-known for their art, especially sand paintings and wood carvings. A way to embrace the aboriginal culture is to visit Ayers Rock or Uluru, which is a sacred site to the aborigines in the Northern Territory of Australia. Uluru, like a Monet painting, changes color throughout the year, depending on the varying light angles and intensity of the sun. Visiting Uluru can also be a physical endeavor; tourists can scale the 800-meter rock formation for a spellbinding view. Dining out under the stars in front of the desert landscape is an experience you will cherish forever. When it comes to Australian beaches, surfing is king. A great place to enjoy the surf is Surfer’s Paradise – home to a great night outdoor market where merchants sell hand-crafted goods. If you visit Surfer’s Paradise in the summer, you can catch Lexmark Indy 300, the annual car race. Another interesting sight in Surfer’s Paradise is the gold bikini-clad meter maids. These women, scantily clad to fight the thick Aussie heat, drop coins into parking meters that have expired and leave a calling card underneath the driver’s windshield wiper. After visiting the beach and the Outback you can enjoy the city life in Sydney, the capital of Australia. Sydney is home to the world-renowned landmark of the Sydney Opera House, which stands proudly by the stunning Darling Harbour and under the Sydney Harbour Bridge. The ultimate way to experience the bridge is to take a climbing tour up to the top and savor the sweeping views of the city. Studying abroad in Australia encompasses the best of both worlds: an excellent environment in which to study and learn and an abundant amount of exciting and fun places to visit. And best of all, the U.S. dollar is worth more in Australia, a trend we’re all hoping to cash in on considering the currency’s plummeting value worldwide. ...

Travel: Venice

People say that Venice is a city for lovers, and that Italian is the language of love. Movies such as “”Casino Royale”” and “”The Italian Job”” have captured the antique beauty of the city. Home to the famous Grand Canal, Piazza San Marcos and various palaces, Venice provides plenty of culture to see and experience. Though it may be one of the most romantic places to vacation in the world, it is certainly more than enjoyable if you are single, especially during the spring and summer seasons. Not only are Gondola rides in the Grand Canal mandatory while in Venice, but true tourists try the gelato – the slop made in the United States doesn’t even come close to the real Italian stuff. There are beautiful knick-knacks in tiny stores and street-side stands, and lovely little churches in just about every square. The best part is the collection of small outdoor cafes that serve wonderfully strong coffee – Starbucks has nothing on it. Another plus: You’re bound to meet beautiful people to match the city’s loveliness, whether you understand what they are saying or not (Italians are very tourist-friendly). Even if you can’t spare a week or two exploring the labyrinth of streets in Venice, a weekend getaway while enrolled in European study-abroad program is worth every moment – and Euro. ...

Travel: Korea

In Korea, there are enough Buddhist temples and royal palaces to enthrall a cultural connoisseur, and enough designer stores and open-air markets to appease any shopaholic. But best of all, there is enough clubbing and alcohol to satisfy both a sorority and fraternity of 19-year-olds. International students at Yonsei University are a heartbeat away from the artsy nightlife of Hongdae, popular among college students for its underground music and club days. On the last Friday of every month, thousands flood 10 local clubs – admission to each club is only 15,000 Korean won, or $16. At Noryangjin, denizens sample the freshest seafood: King crabs, snow crabs, abalone and more can be prepared as sashimi or hot pots. What palate could resist sides of chili and garlic, lettuce and wasabi? Seoul’s city streets envelope Korea’s historical landmarks: Gyeongbok Palace is popular for its ceremonial re-enactments and elaborate architecture, Dongdaemun stands as a great gate amidst the eastern markets and Jongmyo Shrine guards royal graves of the Chosun Dynasty. And for those who never matured past childhood, Lotte World is the local version of the happiest place on Earth – complete with the world’s largest indoor theme park, a luxurious department store and a year-round folk festival. ...

From MVP to MGM: Fantasy Draft Equates Pastimes

I’ve never been a sports fanatic like my roommates. They can rattle off any sports stat, from baseball to tennis, citing almost any game in history while monitoring every minute detail of the players, coaches and commentators. Needless to say, when they got into the fantasy sports drafts, it was far out of my league. I, on the other hand, am a film nut – while they can spout home runs and touchdowns, I speak in purely filmic language: directors and writers, camera angles, artistic design, musical scores, etc. – it’s an addiction. So, naturally, it was a shock to hear from IMDB that a new draft site had opened up: www.fantasymoguls.com, where they ask the billion-dollar question: Can you choose successful films better than the studios can? I wouldn’t be “”drafting”” based on free throws or assists; I could draft for my own studio based on the credibility of talent behind each film and the essential ability to discover a great project. There are two ways of playing Fantasy Moguls: a basic version, where you draft films based on how much cash you expect them to earn or, my personal favorite, the advanced version, which factors in bankability, critical reviews and the amount of people in each theater. The latter proves a true challenge, forcing you to branch out beyond the blockbusters and look at the indies, which are often the big winners among advanced players (during the last draft it was the small foreign flick “”Volver”” which gave some drafters the silver bullet). And the unpredictability of the session adds to the aura of the game – films that appear to be big winners may turn out to be box office duds (that happened to me three times last draft) or vice versa. The Web site has expanded considerably since it launched last fall, now covering the winter movie season, and is about to head into the long spring/summer haul from March to September. I’ll be playing – realizing now that there’s no difference between knowing sports or cinema in-depth, or for that matter music, history or architecture. Knowledge is knowledge, only with everyone’s personal touch. ...

UCSD Elected to Host West Regionals

The UCSD women’s basketball players have already had a stellar season this year: They are the university’s first-ever California Collegiate Athletic Association champions in women’s basketball, they have a perfect road record, their head coach Janell Jones was recently named CCAA Coach of the Year and they have the two-time CCAA Most Valuable Player in 5 foot, 10 inch star senior guard Leora Juster. Will Parson/Guardian Sophomore forward Michelle Osier earned CCAA First Team honors, along with two other teammates, for her second straight year with an average of 11.1 points and 7.6 rebounds per game. Now, the Tritons are looking to continue their assault on the UCSD athletic record books by traveling deeper into the postseason, which will begin when No. 1 seed UCSD hosts No. 8 seed Western Washington University on March 9 at 8 p.m. in RIMAC Arena at the Division II West Regional Tournament. The two teams have not met since earlier this season. In that game on Dec. 20, the Tritons took advantage of a 34-point night from Juster to beat Western Washington University 83-64. “”It does help that we’ve seen them already this season because not only can we watch tape of them playing other teams, we can point out our weaknesses and strengths in our game against them,”” sophomore forward Michelle Osier said. Jones also believes that the Tritons have an advantage in this game, although for different reasons. “”The biggest advantage for us is that we will hopefully be playing in front of a big home crowd,”” she said. UCSD will host the regional tournament after going 23-4 in the regular season and winning the CCAA championship with the best record in the division. Considering their perfect 12-0 away record, playing at home is more of an honor than a necessity for the Tritons. “”Honestly, it doesn’t matter where we play because we can win wherever we go,”” Osier said. “”But it is an honor since [UCSD] has never won CCAA and has never been ranked first in the region.”” Western Washington University currently holds an 18-9 record but has only won four out of its 10 away games. Leading the Vikings in points and assists per game is senior guard Mollie Shelmack, with 15.9 points and 3.4 assists. The Tritons are less concerned about what the Vikings are going to bring to the game and more concerned with their own play. “”This is the time of the year that you go to your strengths,”” Jones said. This UCSD team has a lot of strengths and contributions from a variety of players. Although MVP Juster and First Team selections Osier and senior forward Hillary Hansen provide most of the points for the Tritons, other players have been key to the success of the team so far. Junior center Jillian Ricks leads the Tritons with 20 blocks and junior forward Meaghan Noud has been an invaluable sixth-woman, averaging 9.2 points per game off the bench. It also can’t hurt that the Tritons have this year’s CCAA coach of the year in Jones. “”She runs very intensive practices and that really prepares us for games,”” Osier said. “”At important points in the game, she knows what to do. She really knows how to coach.”” With a lot of the players from last year’s squad still on the team, experience will undoubtedly be useful this year as last year’s team was the No. 4 seed and suffered a first-round loss to Seattle Pacific University in the postseason. “”It makes a big difference that we are older this year,”” Osier said. “”The experience from last year’s playoffs will definitely help. Last year, we were scared and we were drained from the anticipation of playing a playoff game. Now, we know what to expect, and we can prepare.”” ...

Recordings: Air – Pocket Symphony

Ever wish somebody would have slipped Mozart some acid? With their fourth official project, French duo Air attempt to reconcile modern electronica with symphony-hall sheet music, achieving a delicately novel antiquity by looping their already sparse, arpeggioed beats into an acoustic guitar-and-piano orchestra. Pocket Symphony is a departure from 2004’s acclaimed Talkie Walkie, spotlighting nude instrumentals over poppy synthesizer and sound-board pump. The album’s milder aesthetics are still classic Air – a melodic dream-trip with a computer-generated soundtrack – but at a slower, more methodical pace. The pair further simplify their lives by skimping on the vocals (a third of the songs are purely instrumental), a haunting godsend to tracks like “”Mayfair Song”” but an elevator-music ultimatum for others – “”Space Maker”” requires an attentively active listen to avoid completely fading into the background. The most engaging moments occur during the voice-sprinkled “”Mur du Japon”” and “”Napalm Love,”” jolting the listener awake after the meandering tinker of the majority of the album. But the overall sleep-inducing ambience is not necessarily a drawback – because sometimes a pleasant musical haze is the only answer to a rainy day. ...

Tennis Outshines 'Nova Squad

The No. 16 UCSD women’s tennis team earned a huge win against Villanova University, a nonconference Division I school, by a score of 5-4, improving its overall season record to 5-3. Will Parson/Guardian Sophomore Ina Dan won her doubles match alongside senior captain Marsha Malinow, and in the No. 2 singles spot, Dan picked up an easy 6-1, 6-3 victory to lead UCSD to their 5-4 win over Villanova. The team managed to take a 2-1 lead after some determined play in the doubles matches. No. 3 doubles senior Allison Legakis and sophomore Yekaterina Milvidskaia managed to win their match with a close score of 9-7. However, No. 2 doubles junior Justine Ang Fonte and senior Christy Knudsen fell 4-8. With the match tied at one-all, No. 1 doubles seniors Marsha Malinow, the senior captain, and Ina Dan were able to put the Tritons on top as they eked out a 9-8 victory following a tiebreaker. The singles matches were equally tough and exciting. No. 2 Dan and No. 3 Fonte both had very easy matches, with Dan winning 6-1, 6-3, and Fonte completely dominating her opponent, 6-0, 6-0. Fonte was thrilled with her individual victory, as well as the team’s performance. “”I had a cream cheese,”” she said, referring to the win she had without giving up a set. “”We expected them to not be very strong and sort of paid for it in doubles. But the girls stepped it up a lot and pulled through and Tessa [Tran] closed it out for us.”” No. 5 singles sophomore Tran clinched the victory for the team, winning 6-4, 6-3. While the team did win, there were still disappointments, as the other singles players fell in straight sets. On the opposite side of the spectrum from Fonte was Malinow, who has been plagued by an abdominal strain and lost in the No. 1 spot, 3-6, 1-6. Malinow’s match disappointed her, but she was still excited about the team’s victory. “”My performance was less than what I expected, just because I could not serve at all,”” Malinow said. “”I was serving underhanded and the girl was ripping them. I was really impressed by everyone’s performance and I thought Ina and Justine were working their matches very well.”” The remaining singles losses were from No. 6 singles Legakis, who fell 5-7, 0-6, and No. 4 singles freshman Pooja Desai lost 1-6, 6-7. Head coach Liz LaPlante was very satisfied with the result. “”We had some tough doubles matches,”” she said. “”We played them two years ago, but they were much weaker. The girls they had this time were deep. It was a good match to get ready for the Sonoma State-UC Davis trip.”” The Tritons will be going up north to face conference foe Sonoma State, an opponent they already defeated 7-2 previously this season and a strong Division I team in UC Davis. For Fonte, the match against UC Davis is personal. “”I was actually offered a full ride by the coach at UC Davis but I decided to come to SD,”” she said. “”For me, it’s a test to prove that I am as good as the girls they have up there.”” Malinow seemed both anxious and excited for the trip. “”We have a deep team so there isn’t too much pressure on me,”” she said. “”It mostly comes from my mental weakness and I know that if it wasn’t for [the injury], I would be a lot more consistent right now. I’ve never played against UC Davis’ No. 1 so I really don’t know what to expect.”” ...