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
You can find more spotlights like Gigi’s on The Chameleon, a website aimed at connecting our community with the outside world through a variety of student-created content.
Hi Gigi! Can you tell us more about yourself
My name is Gigi E., short for Angelina. I was born in the Bay Area, California. When I turned seven years old, my family decided to move to the Philippines, and we’ve been here ever since.
Art is my biggest passion — creativity and imagination are my two favorite things in the world. It was actually through TGS that I was able to transform this simple hobby of mine into my biggest passion. I noticed that every single one of my projects was related to some form of art. I would find ways to link geometry with fashion design or the history of Bosnia with the art of mosaic building.
What have been the highlights of your TGS experience, both academically and non-academically?
During my third term, we went to Chile on a 12-day hiking expedition through the Patagonian wilderness. I never thought that carrying 25 kilos on my back while trudging through all sorts of terrain would be something that I miss. Still, I would go back to Patagonia in a heartbeat.
Community, leadership, trust, contentment, purity, homeostasis, and natural beauty are just some of the words that I believe describe my experience; My appreciation for the simple, beautiful things that our world creates naturally has grown exponentially. I was able to rethink the whole concept of necessity, and what I thought was completely necessary for my life in the front-country. I realized how simple things could be when I remove all the random stuff we add. I also learned about the importance of a strong sense of community. It was a genuinely life-changing experience that I will never forget.
Do you have a favorite teacher-led module or personal project that you’ve worked on?
In Australia, I created my first personal project called “Aussie ABC.” Inspired by the unique slang that Australia is known for, I created a tongue-in-cheek PG-13 ABC book. Each letter had a different sentence using all the Aussie slang terms that I learned.
One of my favorite parts of the whole project was gathering my data for the book. I got most of my content organically through the different interactions I had with locals. Because of this, there was an added personal value to each term that I learned. Now I can link each word to fun experiences I had with all the wonderful people I met in Australia.
My favorite page was for letter D, “D is for a drongo smoking a dart on the dunny,” which translates into “An idiot smoking a cigarette on the toilet.”
Do you feel your travels and in-country learning have benefited you? If so, can you share what you feel your biggest takeaway has been?
I find that the more I travel, the more I realize how little I know. A benefit of traveling is being exposed to so many different perspectives. There are more than 7.5 billion people in our world, each person with their complex, unique story. Whenever I think of that, I realize how limited my viewpoint is and how much more I can learn. The number of things that I can learn from the world is endless, and it’s been through TGS that I’ve come closer to a global perspective.
What has been your favorite country to live in, and why?
Australia. Melbourne checked almost all the boxes. It had delicious food, prime location, excellent workout spots, fantastic street art scenes, and a bunch of great events happening all the time. The window from my room overlooked the entire city. Every morning, I would wake up with the sunrise and watch from the 39th floor as the city slowly began to come back to life. I loved being in the middle of the city. Walking down any alleyway was a mini adventure because of all the amazing art you would see across the walls. Melbourne also had almost every cuisine you could think of, as well as some remarkable fusion restaurants like “Drumplings” that served surprisingly delicious cheeseburger dumplings.