Tattooing is the most misunderstood art form in Japan today. Looked down upon for centuries and rarely discussed in social circles, people with tattoos are outcasts in this country, banned from most public spaces such as beaches, bathhouses, and even gyms. Tattoos have an extensive history in Japan, and to truly understand the stigma behind them it is essential to be aware of their significance. The first records of tattoos...Read More
Hälsningar (greetings) from Stockholm, Sweden, where our students are adjusting quite nicely to the Scandinavian way of life. We still have many cities and landscapes in Europe left to explore, with our terms in Sarajevo, Bosnia-Herzegovina, and Florence, Italy, on the horizon, but we’d like to turn our attention for a moment to the three fantastic countries we’ll be calling home during the 2016-17 school year.
Next year’s journey will take us 11,000 miles around the world and includes terms in North America, Africa, and South America. Our weXplore outings might include discussing anthropology at one of the oldest settlements in the world or attending a TED Talk on technology in a city dominated by skyscrapers. The possibilities are truly limitless. And while on paper our three host countries couldn’t appear more exotic, all three are well-known for their warmth of hospitality and stunning natural beauty. So what are these countries, you might be asking? We’ve put together a few really interesting facts about each if you’d like to guess, or scroll to the bottom to find out all three. We hope their possibilities for place-based learning excite you at least half as much as they do us.
If you’ve visited, one, two, or maybe even all three (lucky you!), we’d love to hear your ideas for activities, excursions, incredible dining opportunities, and everything in between. You can reach us at email@example.com
- Safety First: This country has a reputation for being super friendly, but not just towards its inhabitants and visitors. Its provinces have begun building multi-million dollar overpasses over their highways to provide safe passage for the bears, moose, wolves, and other types of wildlife that are tempted to cross the road.
- Smart Cookies: Over half of this country’s residents hold a college degree, making it the second most educated country in the world, only behind Russia. One of our graduates, Isaac Forsland, is currently attending school here at the Emilly Carr University of Art + Design.
- Land of Lakes: More than 50% of the world’s natural lakes are situated in this country, giving it more lakes than the rest of the world combined.
- Peace Loving: While its neighbor to the south possesses nearly 5,000 weapons of mass destruction, this country possesses none and is proactive in helping the international community reduce their stockpiles.
- Vast Country, Small Population: Although this country is the second largest in the world, it’s not all that inhabited. In fact, even though it is 740 times larger than Tokyo, it’s population of 35 million residents is less than the 38 million who choose to live in Japan’s capital city.
- Plenty of Room to Explore: This country isn’t only massive, but it’s also 31% comprised of forest and 20% of the world’s fresh water is contained here. Its clearly figured out how to balance its population and sanitation, and is routinely ranked as one of the cleanest in the world.
- Cultural Mosaic: This country boasts a truly multicultural society with 20% of its residents having been born in different countries.
- Orca in the Wild: This country is known as a top destination for whale watchers, and up to 200 orca whales can congregate in the Pacific Ocean at the same time.
- Healthy Eating: With six grams of protein per serving, our students will have plenty of energy to study and explore after eating this country’s most famous dish, couscous. Other famous dishes they might pair the couscous with include tagine, chermoula, and harira.
- Old School: According to UNESCO, al-Qarawiyyin University is the oldest existing, continually operated university not just in this country, but in the world. al-Qarawiyyin first opened its doors as a madrasa in 859 AD.
- Here’s Looking at You, Kids: IMDB has Casablanca ranked as the #5 film of all time, and the titular city has been captivating visitors from around the world for centuries. It’s the largest city in this host country, and a likely destination during our travels.
- A Serious History of Travel: like our globetrotters, residents of this country have been scouring the globe for centuries: Ibn Battuta, recognized as one of the greatest travelers of all times, traveled over 5,000 miles during the 14th century.
- Step Back in Time: History enthusiasts love to get lost in the narrow, winding alleys of Fes’s old town, whose 11,000 historic buildings make up the world’s largest, living medieval settlement. Bikes may fit down these slender streets, but cars don’t, making Fes-a-Bali one of the largest contiguous car-free urban areas in the world.
- Vegetarians Be Wary: in this country, saying no when meat is offered to you is considered a cultural no-no, so our herbivores will need to do some brushing up on their etiquette before landing.
- Shop ’Til You Drop: The heart gets what the heart wants in this romanticized country, and its souks are considered to be some of the best marketplaces in the world. Whether our students are searching for fancy footwork or kitschy keepsakes, they are sure to find it in abundance here.
- Nature’s Bounty: Few people are likely to get this country and our previous host country of New Zealand confused on a map, but the two are both known for their exceptional geographical diversity. Between golden sand dunes in the south, serene oases in the north, and an abundance of mountain ranges and coastlines at our disposal, the opportunities for outdoor learning and activities in this country are limitless.
- Science Lover’s Paradise: Look up and you might see an Andean condor. Look down and you might see a poison dart frog. 60% of this country is comprised of the Amazon rainforest, offering countless chances for a unique sighting or encounter.
- Uncontacted Tribes: Our paths will never cross, but we’ll admire from afar the fifteen indigenous tribes who call the deepest enclaves of the Amazon rainforest their home.
- Close Your Eyes, Rodent Lovers: Adored everywhere from Japan to Jamaica, guinea pigs are many a person’s prized pets. In this country though, you are more likely to find them on a menu than in a cage. Cuy is a popular dish here — are you brave enough to try it?
- Paradise in the Sky: 8,000 feet up in the Andes Mountains sits Machu Picchu, the crowning achievement of the Incan civilization and one of the New Seven Wonders of the World. We’ll undoubtedly snap some incredible selfies while exploring these cloud-covered ruins.
- Three Official Languages: We’ll have plenty of chances to practice our Spanish in this former colony, but hopefully we pick up a few phrases in Quechua and Aymara, Peru’s other two official languages, as well.
- The Oldest Town in the New World: Jericho might be the oldest city in the world, but the town of Caral (est. 2627 BC) in this country is regarded as the oldest in The Americas.
- Surf’s Up: Some of our students got a taste for hanging ten while in Nosara, Costa Rica, and many more will want to hit the water here. Boasting over 1,500 miles of coastline and some of the best waves in South America, this country draws surfing enthusiasts from all over the world.
- Seeing Yellow: If you’re headed to this country for New Year’s, make sure to pack a pair of yellow underwear: the locals here regard yellow as a color of change and good luck, and aren’t above slapping a pair of banana-colored briefs on their pet pooch as well.
Do you know what would make our next school year even better? You.
If you’re an academic-minded teen who craves new adventures, we’d love to hear from you. Visit our Admissions page to learn more about applying to THINK Global School.