American Pilgrimage: A Road Trip to Mount Rushmore and Back

David DiLillo

Born a third-generation American, I was raised with a vivid sense of pride for my country. Born in New York City, however, my perception of what this country exactly is remained far more tenuous for a long time. What did the soil feel like one thousand miles away from either coast? What scent did the trees give off resting between the Appalachians and the Rockies? Most importantly, what were other Americans like? What does that word mean, apart from the ideals and laws we all uphold and debate over? I set off from my home city with two close friends, determined to make it to the west end of South Dakota, committed to answering these questions. 

Seoul, Korea: Another City That Never Sleeps

Alexis K. Barnes

Nestled between eight mountain ranges lies an Asian metropolis rivaling the population of New York, the culture of Tokyo and the backdrop of Denver. With a population greater than NYC, at over 10 million inhabitants, and divided by the Han River, Seoul sits as a beacon of economic growth and Korean pride. Just 35 miles from the North Korean border, Seoul technically straddles a still active war zone. Despite its name, the demilitarized zone (DMZ) is the world’s most heavily militarized border. Manned around the clock by American, North and South Korean soldiers, the area is a constant reminder of North and South Korea’s shaky relationship. 

San Francisco’s Asian Population Will Soon Become the Majority

Andrew Lam

San Francisco is now part of a statewide trend that has resulted in majority becoming minority, with minority continuing to surge and multiply. The latest census showed that whites have slowly shrunk to 48 percent of the population in San Francisco, becoming another minority in a city that has no majority. The city's Asian population, on the other hand, has risen above the 33 percent mark. That is, one in three San Francisco residents has an Asian face. For the population under 18, the number for Asian closer to 40 percent.


Lima, Peru: The Gastronomy Capital of South America

Stephen Delissio

Herman Melville’s famous character Ishmael, from Moby Dick, called Lima “The strangest, saddest city thou can’st see.” Probably referring to the hazy veil that hovers over the city. Forget Melville. Lima is a city of rich history, culinary extravagance, and beautiful parks and gardens. The architecture is a mix of Baroque and Renaissance style. With more than 9 million people, Lima is the largest city of Peru. It is located on the coast of the Pacific Ocean, offering beautiful beaches and a stunning landscape. 

Is Jackson Heights New York's Most Eclectic Neighborhood?

Yolian Cerquera

Welcome to Jackson Heights. Population: more than180,000 and counting. Sitting in the northern part of Queens, this mini-city claims a total of over 60 percent foreign-born residents [U.S. Census Bureau 2010] that nourish its economy; it is a cluster of Asian- and Latino-owned restaurants, bakeries, specialty shops and beauty salons. Now despite sharing congressional jurisdiction with contiguous neighborhoods, Jackson Heights maintains a distinct identity with clear boundaries. 

Have Passport, Will Travel: Notes From a Globetrotter

Andrew Lam

To travel, to really lose oneself in a new setting, is, after all, to subvert. In that C-130 full of refugees, I was moving not only across the ocean but also from one set of psyche to another. Yesterday my inheritance was simple -- the sacred rice fields and rivers, what once owned me, defining who I was. Today, Paris and Hanoi and New York are no longer fantasies but a matter of scheduling. My imagination, once bound by a singular sense of geography, expanded its reference points across the border toward a cosmopolitan possibility.

Seattle: The Myths & Reality of the Emerald City

Snapper S. Ploen

Rising like vertical lines of steel against a backdrop of evergreen mountains and dark water, Seattle has a popular reputation for being a high-tech city with some very granola roots. Hosting the headquarters of a number of powerful, global corporations such as Starbuck’s and, Seattle and its vast metropolitan area – which runs mostly along the edges of Puget Sound and Lake Washington – is the largest urban center in the Pacific Northwest and it single-handedly sways the politics of the entire region. While most people think of grungy hipsters, delicious coffee or overcast skies when the name ‘Seattle’ is mentioned, one may wonder: How much of this is accurate and how much is exaggeration? 

Hello Portland, Home of Hipsters, Foodies and Breathtaking Scenery

Beth Kaiserman

Aside from skinny jean-clad peeps wallowing around and being ironic, Portland has a lot to offer. And yes, people will say “Hi” to you in this town of trees, friendly folks, serious coffee and bounties of craft beer. Though not on par with Seattle’s rain, Portland often sees light drizzles that last a few days. The city also sees wet winters that include snow and ice. Avoid visiting December-March if you want to participate in outdoor activities.

Disappearing Beijing: Finding Local Culture in a City of Migrants

Bradley Gardner

Things tend to disappear in Beijing. Long-term residents regularly speak of the death of old Beijing - the lost Hutong alleyways, the disappearing bicycles, the much less sketchy concert venues. Restaurants, bars and businesses open and close at a frantic pace, entire parts of the city can be destroyed and built again in a few years. Beijingers conspire to share their  favorite “hidden places,” where they can still enjoy what they love about the city before it becomes popular or  is redeveloped. 

Vacation in Europe: The Political Struggles of a Global Cosmopolitan

Maggie Hennefeld

I frame this story about my three-week getaway to Europe last summer by asking what it means for Americans to venture across the pond at this juncture in our history. How do we navigate foreign cultures during a moment when our own national obsessions, with everything from rape biology scandals to “Honey Boo Boo’s” Southern familial dysfunction, are more insular than ever? How can Americans abroad serve as global ambassadors when our own national discourse is emblematized by a Hollywood cowboy ranting at an empty chair while apostrophizing the President? 


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