Student Article
Reflections on Omaha Beach

Sand. As far as I could see, sand carpeted the expansive, harmless beach. Yet this wasn’t just any beach, and – seventy-one years before I arrived in 2015 – it was anything but harmless. My World War II pilgrimage brought me to northern France. Five beaches, code-named Omaha, Utah, Juno, Gold, and Sword, dotted a 50-mile stretch of the Normandy coast. That day I stood on the most famous one,...

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Student Article
A Leopard’s Way

“Sighting of a leopard.” My head snaps up as the static voice crackles over the radio: “5 kilometers away.” I hold my breath and glance over to our tour guide (and terrifying driver) Lucas. He answers in Xhosa and I peer over my mother’s shoulder. He puts down the crackling radio and I see the excitement alight in his eyes…and a mischievous grin. I feel a smile forming on my own lips...

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Student Article
Breathtaking Burials: Bogus or Believable?

My alarm goes off at 3 AM, and I begrudgingly roll out of bed to go dig up my great-grandfather’s corpse. I find myself tripping down the stairs; I’m not used to the dimly lit hallways because it’s not my home. It’s not even my own country. It is, however, a part of my roots: Guangdong, China, where my great-grandfather grew up. We buried him 13 years ago. In my mind, I do the math: his...

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Student Article
Religion and Revelry in Cuba

A window of opportunity opened last year, and through it I had the chance to travel to Cuba with my family, on a journey to trace my father’s heritage. He and his family fled during the revolution, each child with a 100 dollar bill in his shoe, since Castro’s government wouldn’t allow them to bring any possessions. Midway through the trip, we happened upon a scene of festivity in Matanzas. Cubans...

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Student Article
Dust Motes

The dust motes. They floated with the ambience of rolling hills. A suspended colloid, only visible with a shaft of early morning sunlight piercing through the window of the electric bus, making those dust motes shiver and dance. At eighty-six years old, my grandfather watched the new skyscrapers in Tianjin and the crammed-in stands selling red bean rolls blur past, focusing on the nearly invisible...

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Student Article
Undressed in Atami

Our loaf-shaped tour bus wove up hilly roads to the New Akao Hotel, located in Atami of Japan’s Shizuoka Prefecture. Its snow-white buildings had tucked themselves into leafy pockets on the rocky shores of the Nishikigaura Bay, as if they had sprouted from the forests that cradled them. After settling into our tatami-floor room, my sister and I shuffled to the ground floor’s onsen...

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Student Article
A Rose in the Desert – Serenity in Damascus

Damascus, Syria, a city at the heart of a bloody war. A city that itself is a juxtaposition where life thrives only kilometers away from heavy conflict and war. After years of waiting, a turbulent flight to Beirut, and a bumpy taxi ride with hundreds of checkpoints, I finally reached Damascus. For my parents, this is where they were raised, a melting pot of Syrian Arabs, Armenians, Kurds, Assyrians,...

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Student Article
Setting Foot in a Nation of Faith and Resilience

A blank computer screen… This is the scholarship applicant’s dreaded nightmare, yet at the same time, the cherished dream of countless poverty-stricken Filipino sidewalk dwellers. Gratefully exchanging their handful of coins for the use of an outdated computer in a run-down wooden shack, they marvel at the opportunity to write letters to beloved family members overseas—family members who can...

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Student Article
On Painting Impasto

When people think about visiting DC, they create an impressionist painting characterized by swirling shades of patriotism: dashes of museums crowded with artifacts, towering monuments, and ribbons of ethnic restaurants mingling with office spaces. This is the big picture. This is what we put on postcards and in picture frames. The smaller picture is much uglier. A disabled veteran...

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Student Article
The Path of Life

  The world reopens. Kekik and Cumin spices rekindle their piquant friendship as their aroma fills the air. Pashminas hanging in the dimly lit store fronts regain their color. Vendors sing out like the birds overhead as they resume shouting to every...

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