England | The Halfway Mark

By Emma Skinner

Wow! As cliché as it sounds, time really flew by. The Pembroke-Kings Program has been extremely fast paced, but in a good way. Not a day goes by where I sit around with nothing to do! From an entire class in three weeks to endless event opportunities, I thought I’d share with you my top seven highlights from Cambridge so far;

  1. Formal Hall: As I prepare for my second formal hall this evening, I remember how exciting this event was for me. Our first formal was held on the first full day of classes and it was such a great way to get to meet everyone. Plus, a three-course meal in the fanciest dining hall ever could never go wrong. Now that I’ve gotten to know such amazing people, I can’t wait for tonight with those I now call my friends!
  1. Evenings by the River Cam: Having a river run through university is one of the best parts of Cambridge. There is plenty of space to sit alongside and enjoy the view and the people! I’ve had quite a few memorable moments spent along here, from photo shoots to picnics to incredible firework displays. The River is also a great place to meet new people as there are always friendly faces punting along that stop to say hello!
  1. Nature Walks at the Mill: One of the things I love most about Cambridge is the multitude of wildlife you can find within a short radius of the school. The Mill, a popular restaurant and pub in the area, sits right along the River Cam and is home to a very friendly group of cows. Just beyond the Mill are plenty of walking paths you can take and explore all the natural beauty England has to offer! Further, the cows roam wild and are more than happy to befriend you!
  1. Day Trips: Thanks to England’s amazing public transportation system, traveling anywhere within the country is quite easy! A few of us in the PKP program took a day trip to Norwich per recommendation from our taxi driver to the train station. We were quite surprised to find such a beautiful area. The Norwich Cathedral and our hike to a lookout point were definite highlights from this trip!
  1. Hot Numbers: This may seem somewhat confusing at first. What is a hot number you ask? The best coffee shop in Cambridge! It sits right across from the Engineering building where most of our classes are held. From beautiful matcha pancakes (pictured) to the best oat milk latte in town, this café has it all. Further, its prime location makes it the perfect social spot. A day doesn’t go by where I don’t run into someone I know here! The friendly staff also make for the perfect environment.
  1. Castle Mound: This hill originally held a castle in England but the stone from the building gradually began to be taken for other uses. Now, all that remains is the pile of Earth and an amazing view of the city. Sunsets at castle mound make for some great bonding time with friends and beautiful views!
  1. The people: Of course, my top highlight is the people I have met through studying abroad! From all around the world we came together to be a part of the PKP program. I am so thankful to have made relationships I know will last forever.

Cyprus | Week 1 and Paphos Weekend Trip!

By Arisa Dhiensiri
We just finished the first week of classes! It’s definitely going to take some time to get used to a full day of physics lectures but our professors are so sweet. The first day of class was a little jarring since we had to jump into so much material immediately, but it’s to be expected given the nature of the program. The nice thing is that every week class ends on Thursday so we get to enjoy a long weekend. This weekend we took our first weekend excursion as a class! The bus picked us up at 9:00 am on Friday and we headed for Paphos, a beach city about two hours away from the capital. Before heading to Paphos we made a stop at Petra Tou Romiou, the birthplace of Aphrodite. Aphrodite is the Greek goddess of love and beauty and it’s rumored that she was born from the foam of the sea and washed upon the rocks along the beach. The coastline along Petra Tou Romiou is really gorgeous and so we stopped to take some pictures and admire the scenery.
According to legend, if you swim around the rock naked three times
under the full moon you’ll gain eternal beauty and find true love.
Unfortunately our tour guide didn’t let anyone try it out for themselves before we headed for Paphos.

After visiting Aphrodite’s Rock we arrived in Paphos and had some free time to walk along the pier and explore the main part of the city. One of the places we visited was the House of Dionysius Mosaics and the Paphos Archaeological Park. The area is the preserved ruins of a wealthy Roman villa, and is lined with mosaic paneling depicting scenes from Greek mythology. The main villa is the House of Dionysius, named after the multiple mosaics paying homage to Dionysius, the god of wine. Directly outside of the House of Dionysius are three other villas. In The House of Theseus the main structure of the villa is really well preserved and there are beautiful column ruins.

After getting lunch at the pier and visiting the mosaics we got dropped off at the Anemi Hotel and were given the rest of the weekend to explore and relax. For dinner my roommates and I walked to a restaurant called The Corner about five minutes away from the hotel. The Corner was directly across the beach and served a lot of seafood, so we all got fish and chips. My roommates and I took this weekend to relax on the beach and hangout near the pool, a much-needed break from the week of intensive physics we just had. In the end this weekend was exactly what we needed, a little bit of sun and rest to recharge.

Tokyo | Tokyo & Rakuten Open

By Deran Chan

Over the past few weeks, I had the opportunity to attend both the Rakuten and Tokyo Open tennis championships. I’m a huge tennis fan and I was super excited to attend a professional tennis tournament outside of the United States. The last few months of the year constitutes the “Asian Swing” of the tennis calendar and first stop: Tachikawa. The Tokyo Toray Pan Pacific Open is held by the WTA (Women’s Tennis Association) and is the largest international women’s tennis tournament in Japan. Headlining the tournament was Japanese superstar Naomi Osaka. After her recent triumph at the U.S. Open over Serena Williams, Osaka became an overnight sensation and Japan’s first grand slam champion. The event was held about an hour from my university, and I successfully made the trek with my brief knowledge of Japanese transportation! The venue was held indoors, and a general admission ticket gave me access to all of the matches.

I went on the first Saturday of the tournament and watched former World #7 Eugenie Bouchard (Canada) play local favorite Moyuka Uchijima. I managed to sneak to the front row, and as you can see, had the best seat in the house. After her win, Genie was kind of enough to take a photo with me and I definitely didn’t freak out. On the way home from the tournament, one of the most exciting things happened. I was across the street from Tachikawa Station, and I thought I recognized a familiar face. Standing in front of a 711 was World #1 and Grand Slam Champion – Caroline Wozniacki. Starstruck, I asked for a picture and asked her how she liked Tokyo (while trying to keep it together of course) and wished her luck throughout the tournament. What an experience.

A couple weeks later I went to the Rakuten Open, the first Asian tournament of the year hosted by the ATP men’s tour. Walking up towards the main stadium, fans were greeted by tents showcasing traditional Japanese food, oversized tennis rackets, and popular sportswear. It was raining out but that didn’t stop waves of Japanese locals and tourists alike from watching their favorite players. A sold-out crowd packed the Musashino Forest Sports Plaza, but somehow my friends and  I managed to sit together. We witnessed Japanese player Kei Nishikori win on home soil with the help of an electrifying crowd – to reach his 3rd final at this tournament.  Unfortunately, I didn’t get any pictures with the players this time but the immaculate tennis stadium and modern architecture definitely made up for it. There is no doubt that fans are awaiting next year’s Rakuten Open which will return to Ariake Coliseum, a newly renovated stadium undergoing preparations for the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games.

Japan | Fruits & Fast-Food

By Deran Chan

I’ve been in Tokyo now for about 2 weeks. I moved into my dorm at International Christian University (ICU), started my classes, and played tennis indoors for the first time. This is my study abroad experience. Once I got to Japan, I needed to stock up on snacks (priorities) so I started at the local markets. If you didn’t already know, fruits and vegetables in Japan are SO EXPENSIVE. This mango peach costs 600 yen at the supermarket (roughly equivalent to $6 in the U.S.) and this is because Japan gets a lot of their fresh produce imported from around the world.

After my Japanese produce haul, I ventured into the world of fast-food. Just a 10 minute bus ride away from campus, Musashi-Sakai Station offers a wide range of restaurants and shops. So where did I go?

McDonald’s. Yep, that’s right. I travelled to the other side of the world to eat the most “American” restaurant known to man. In my defense, the menu is completely different, but more importantly it’s way better. The McNuggets taste like actual chicken and the whole experience feels like anything but fast-food. I also tried their grape float since their ice cream machine was actually working <shocker> and I was pretty satisfied overall.

A few days later, I went to a chain called “MOS Burger.” The burger was really flavorful and I could tell that MOS Burger was the In-n-Out of Japan. Unlike the United States, a lot of Japanese restaurants will have a second story for additional seating. When you’re done eating, make sure you put your dishes and trash in the appropriate area. In Japan, you are required to sort your trash into different categories: combustibles, non-combustibles, bottles, plastics, etc.