Musicians of Cuenca

By Jennifer Frye

I’m amazed by how friendly and helpful the music community is in Cuenca. The musicians I’ve met accept me and are genuinely interested in connecting with me. When I walk down the street carrying my cello I’m constantly stopped by strangers, inquisitive and gregarious. I feel like I’ve found another family, people who understand me and who I understand in return. People who have helped me pursue my passion thousands of miles from home. Here are my impressions of the musicians of Cuenca. 

Raquel is intense and direct, with perpetual red lipstick, and seems taller than she really is through sheer force of personality. I was brave enough to approach her after a symphony concert, nervously rehearsing lines in my head. I hesitantly asked where I could find a cello to rent. With her support and advocacy, I found a cello and joined the local university orchestra. I have the opportunity to take lessons, teach cello to youth symphony students, and even perform a concerto.

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My 1+4 Story: Evan Robison

By Evan Robison

The beginning of college can be a stressful time for many people. After months of anticipation, you are abruptly thrown into a new environment and expected to make friends, some of whom will supposedly last you your whole life. This period of stress can last a week for some, and months for others. In my high school grade, there was one other girl going to Tufts, which was a social luxury that not all Tufts students have, however, I did not know her very well and figured that I would be mostly on my own making new friends. This was before I was accepted into the 1+4 program.

One of the largely unpraised beauties of 1+4 is the social network that you have when you return to campus. In addition to the four fellows in country with me, I had eight others who shared the experience with me virtually from their respective locations, as well as 13 more from the year before me who would be sophomores when I arrived on campus. While many of my peers scrambled around to find social groups in the first weeks, I knew that I would always have my friends from 1+4 to fall back on if I had any problems. They had all gone through the same crazy experiences that I had and would be more than happy to take time out of their days to spend with me. While many students enter college knowing people on their sports teams or through various mutual friends, I had four intimate friends who had lived and worked with me for nine months, who knew me better than many friends from home did.

This is not to say that I avoided making new friends because I already had a small network at my fingertips. Instead, I felt more confident taking my time finding new friends, thus I was not pressured to latch onto the first group of people that I met. Tufts has so many different kinds of people, and it takes time to find people that you can feel completely comfortable around. Being a 1+4 alumnus allowed me to take the first few weeks as a time of exploration and wait until I found the right group, knowing that I already had a tight group in which to confide when I needed it.

A Week Out of Home-Sweet-Home

By Rujen Amatya

 

After spending two and a half months in Florianopolis, I finally got the opportunity to leave my state, Santa Catarina. Our next training seminar was scheduled in Morretes, a historic city in the state of Parana. This was the first time I got the chance to spend some time out of my host family’s house. I was really excited for it, partly due to the fact that I could meet all my friends and mostly because I was leaving everything behind for a week. 
 
We left Florianopolis at around 8am that day. After a long six-hour bus ride, we arrived at Curitiba, the capital of Parana. At Curitiba, we explored the famous Jardim Botânico and played some fun games inside its premises. We spent the night there in Curitiba and were ready for our visit to Morretes. Even though the bus ride to Morretes from Curitiba was only an hour, we took a four-hour train to enjoy the amazing landscapes, rich animal and vegetation biodiversity, canyons, gorges and waterfalls of the Serra do Mar. I felt that I was in the ‘real’ Brazil then. 

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Ducha Gratis

By Henry Baer-Benson

Every day at 1, we go home for a 2 hour lunch break. Yesterday was my laundry day and as I walked the block back from the lavandería with my bag of clean clothes I noticed it was sprinkling. I wasn’t too worried. They don’t have real rain here, I thought to myself. All of the rain I’d experienced in Cuenca had amounted to no more than a drizzle. My host mom had even told me that it rained durísimo during the parade, which I had comfortably endured without a rain jacket. I wasn’t worried.

When I got back to the house I threw my bag of clothes on the floor and decided I had time to watch one YouTube video before leaving for work. About halfway through the video, however, Neil deGrasse Tyson was interrupted by a deafening crack of thunder. I pulled my earbuds out of my ears and immediately noticed that the drizzle from earlier was now roaring against the sides of our house. That’s odd, I thought as I popped my earbuds back in and finished the video. Then I threw on my rain jacket, switched my suede for my tennis shoes and made my way to the front door.

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Volcanoes

By Sophie Impellitteri

 

     When I saw the sweat drop off my face and streak my mud caked ankles I really thought I am never doing this again. Never again am I going to let someone convince me that hiking 5 hours up a mountain will be fun. I get winded carrying my school books to a third floor math class, so why did I think I would be capable of hauling a 50 pound backpack to the top of a volcano. 

 

        By the time we reached the top and fell onto our bags, I hardly cared about the volcano sitting behind me. All I could think about was how, on top of everything, there was no shower, and no bed. The only things waiting for me were a toosmall tent and a very early hike back down. All I could think was that I never wanted to do this again.

 

        But then we started walking up the final slope to the rim of the volcano. All at once, the forest was gone and my entire view was consumed by reddish rocks. I was in a movie or on Mars or in a dream, and my brain was so preoccupied with consuming it that, for a moment, the aches were forgotten. 

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