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27 September 2016

Finding a Comfort Zone in Prague #HogsAbroad in Czech Republic



For my study abroad, I chose to spend a month over the summer in Prague, Czech Republic. I chose Prague, because I wanted to go somewhere out of my comfort zone and experience a place that isn’t your typical European tourist destination. It was hands down the best decision I ever made. It was my first time out of the country so I didn’t know much about the rest of Europe, but other people who had been told me Prague was their favorite and unlike any other European city. So I felt lucky to have chosen Prague.

From what I had read before going, most sources said that Czech people weren’t very friendly, but I was pleasantly surprised to find that I felt very welcome and people were practically as nice as they are here. The language barrier also wasn’t much of an issue. I spent a whole month in the Czech Republic and only learned about four Czech words. I didn’t meet a person in Prague that didn’t speak English, and the only time we ever ran into someone who didn’t was when we went to smaller towns around Prague. Even if someone didn’t speak English we were always able to communicate some way, so it really wasn’t a problem.

I personally liked going on an external program, I went with USAC, because I liked meeting other college students from all around the US. I lived in an apartment with four other people but it was far from crowded and I even got my own room. Two of my roommates were from South Carolina and the other two were from Los Angeles which I thought was very cool. 

I attended class only Tuesday and Thursday for 4 hours. I really like my class which was like an art history class, because we would lecture for two hours and then we would go on a mini field trip for the rest of the time to a place that was a good example of art or architecture in Prague. I really liked this class because I got free admission with my class to places I already wanted go to anyway like the Prague Castle and St. Vitus Cathedral. Our teacher also took us to places that weren’t as touristy, but they were what made my trip more personal and unique than anyone else who had been to Prague.
                 
My friends and I quickly learned that Prague had many incredible Italian restaurants. The best thing I ever ate was at this Italian restaurant near Old Town called Pepe Nero. We shared a caprese salad that had the freshest mozzarella that I have ever tasted. I don’t think we could even speak because we were overwhelmed with how with how good it was!
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Don't miss out on your own study abroad experience! 
Find out more about Anna's USAC Prague program at http://usac.unr.edu/study-abroad-programs/czech-republic/prague 

Search for study abroad opportunities like these in over 50 other countries: http://studyabroad.uark.edu/search

Absentee Voting Reminder #HogsAbroad #TravelTipsTuesday


Article courtesy of the U.S. Department of State


Gilman Scholarship Meeting Today! #HogsAbroad

The Gilman Scholarship offers funding for students who have been traditionally underrepresented in study abroad. If you are either currently receiving a Pell Grant or are Pell Grant eligible, this is a very promising way to get around $5,000 in funding for your study abroad or internship. Learn more at today's meeting!
 

Information Meeting Today:
Tuesday, September 27, from 11am-12pm in the Center for World Languages Lab (JBHunt 207)

Spring and Early Summer 2017 online applications are due by October 4, 2016 by 11:59pm.

Benjamin A. Gilman International Scholarship Program Eligibility Requirements
For students applying for any academic term (Academic Year, Fall, Spring or Summer) please find the eligibility requirements below:
*         Enrolled as an undergraduate student at a two or four-year U.S. Institution
*         United States citizen
*         Receiving a Federal Pell Grant at the time of application or during the term of study abroad
*         Participating in a study abroad program that is no less than 4 weeks and no more than an academic year
*         Receiving academic credit
*         Study in any country not currently under a U.S. State Department Travel Warning or Cuba
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For more information about the Gilman Scholarship, please come to the info meeting above, email us at hogsabrd@uark.edu and visit the Gilman website at www.iie.org/gilman/.

26 September 2016

Nighttime #HogsAbroad in Germany



Even at night this city is so appealing to the eye. The people start to head home, shops close, but the beauty never goes anywhere.
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Read more from Anthony at https://abroadwithanthony.wordpress.com/
Find out more about the University of Regensburg exchange at https://studyabroad.uark.edu/exchange/regensburg

Farming with the Locals #HogsAbroad in Mozambique

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The daughter sitting on the rice straw that will be later used as mulching for the garden. For such a young age I admired her familiarity and ease working with crops. For this family, farming is their lifeline and they are seeing firsthand that the poor soil can provide food if cared for properly. Their family is unique in that they are provided the seeds, watering cans, and tools necessary to farm unlike other families. However, it is the dream of this teaching farm the make these tools available by first starting a seed saving program to provide to the local communities.
It was a Friday at the farm and today would be spent learning from some of the local farmers. Chris was required to attend meetings and work on paperwork, so I went with another associate of New Horizons to visit his farm. The purpose of this farm was to serve as a model farm for local families in the surrounding community. The idea being that 1 hectare (2.4 acres) of land would be enough to sustain the needs of a Mozambican family. The owner of the land is currently in the process of building a home and has already begun garden plots.

Many times the locals say, “the land and soil are too poor to grow any food.” While the soil is sandy and lacking rich organic matter, it is proposed that overtime with the right crop rotations that the soil can be built and improved. There is a 5m water well that was dug and irrigation is used from this source to water the plants in the garden. Chicken manure is collected from New Horizons Farm that is not far away. However, when the family farm is fully functioning it will have chickens and the source of manure will come from onsite.

Also, goats will be incorporated into the system for several purposes that include a source of milk as well as clearing land after plots are fallow. It was noted that goat’s milk is more nutritious for the human body in comparison to cows and goats require less inputs to maintain. The goats will be placed on fallow fields to break down the remaining plant material and return the nutrients to the soil through their manure.

The land that was purchased for this project was chosen partly on how poor the soil is. This is to strongly emphasize that it is possible to grow crops even if it is difficult at the start. There is a family which includes: a husband, wife and two children that are taking care of the land. In return for their work they are able to keep the yields from the land and are paid for their time and effort. At the moment the crops being grown include: maize, tomatoes, carrots, lettuce, basal, rice, and bananas.
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The rice planting at the 1 hectare farm. (1 hectare of land= 2.4 acres)
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The family that manages the land harvesting rice. The process is that the rice is cut and then beaten with a stick to remove the grain. Then the rice is allowed to dry in the sun and is placed in baskets to be tossed in the air which allows the wind to remove the hulls from the rice itself. Typically the rice straw is thrown into the bush, but it was suggested that it be used as mulching to conserve water and suppress competitive vegetation. The children help in whatever way they can while also finding time to play games and share laughs with one another. When the family was asked if they would sell or eat the food the mother responded, “we plan to eat this rice and it will provide us with the food we need to survive.” This was a special moment and my first encounter in Nampula when the genuine appreciation and direct impact of successful subsistence farming was beginning to be understood.
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The young child smiling to have his photo taken while working to harvest the rice yields. It was a wonderful experience to learn this skill and share moments of horticulture that extends beyond language barriers or national borders.
It was mentioned that one bowl of rice seeds from the previous year’s harvest is enough to plant the field of rice seen in the first image in this post. If some of the seeds are saved and not eaten it can be a wonderful cycle of planting, harvesting, eating and so on for years and even generations into the future. A foundation for building the soil, growing the crops, and providing food to families starts with education.
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An image of the rice drying on a black cloth tarp. Once the grain is dry the hull will be separated from the rice and will be ready for consumption.
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One of the first composting systems I have seen in Mozambique. Composting is not a popular topic and cultural changes will need to be made for this to become apart of the normal farming practices. It is not thought that trash can be used for something useful. The food scraps are commonly thrown into the bush. However, if composting can be properly implemented it is a huge step forward to improving the quality of the soil and obtaining a more holistic approach to nutrient cycling.
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A mixture of a lettuce and basil crops that are being grown onsite. This is the first time for basil to be grown on the farm and it seems to be doing well. Below is the tomato crop that has been flowering and producing fruit. Bamboo stakes are used to support the vines that are weighting more and more with the fruit.
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A depiction of the quality of the soil at the 1 hectare farm location. The soil is sandy and lacks organic nutrients that would typically be a dark rich color on top. This citrus tree was grown from the seed of a fruit bought at the market because the grafting attempts were not a success. Grafting is when a portion of a branch is tapped or attached to an already growing tree and ideally the sections would heal together providing a fruiting top to a rooted tree. However, when this fails growing from seed is the next best option, but a high amount of patience is needed for this will take many years.

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To find out more about the faculty-led Community Development in Mozambique summer program, visit http://studyabroad.uark.edu/mozambique