#09: Adventures in Aotearoa (July 27-August 10)

New Zealand is home to the Māori, a polynesian group that has called the island nation home for hundreds of years. In the Māori language, the word for New Zealand is Aotearoa, or the “land of the long white cloud,” and as I journeyed through the country during the height of winter I certainly encountered my fair share…

#08: Down Under (July 11-July 26)

Indigenous Australians are composed of nearly 300 different groups/tribes and are part of the “oldest living culture in the world,” a culture that stretches back for thousands of years. The arrival of European colonists in the 1700’s, however, threatened their existence by implementing centuries of discriminatory policies. Since then, the non-indigenous government of Australia has…

#07: Asian Aboriginal Education and the Coming Storm (June 29-July 10)

My time in the city of Taipei was supposed to be a lot shorter. I’d made plans to visit Yilan and Hualien on Taiwan’s East Coast, home of the largest aboriginal populations on the island. Unfortunately, mother nature had other plans. “Super Typhoon” Nepartak, a storm the size of a category-5 hurricane, was barreling through…

#06: Midnight Sun (June 17-28)

When telling people about my travel plans, many were surprised to learn that Norway is home to an indigenous population. The Sami, the only recognized indigenous people in Europe, are the traditional inhabitants of the Arctic in Northern Europe and are spread out over four different countries (Norway, Sweden, Finland, and Russia). Norway, with an…

#05: Breathless in Peru (June 02-15)

So many things in Peru left me feeling breathless: the ocean breeze in Lima, the spectacular landscape of the Cusco region, and, of course, the altitude sickness. Seeing the best of Peru’s natural wonders often involves climbing to heights of 10000 ft or even higher, and while my calves and lungs were certainly upset with me…

#04: The Rise (and Fall?) of Ecuador’s EIB

  Educación intercultural bilingüe (EIB), or intercultural bilingual education, is the system of indigenous education promoted in many Latin American countries with indigenous populations. As its name suggests, the system stresses two key elements: first, an emphasis on indigenous cultural knowledge and practices, such as traditional medicine; and second, the promotion of indigenous language as either a course…

#03: Latitude 0°0’0” (May 23-June 01)

About Ecuador Located on the western shore of South America, Ecuador is known for its diverse geography. Within a total area of 283,560 square kilometers, slightly larger than my home state of Minnesota, it hosts four unique environments: the sunny and temperate coast, the Andes mountains in the center, the Amazon rainforest to the East,…

#02: Who am I? What am I doing here?

(Pictured: A photo of me taken in September 2015 at my cousin’s wedding in Maryland. As my friend Joanie put it: “He’s all grown up!”) By the time I was a junior in high school, I started wearing a long-sleeve Georgetown t-shirt to class and spending time scouring the internet for every piece of information I could…

#01: Taking Flight (Or, an Exercise in Extended Metaphors)

(Pictured: A photo I took of the Minneapolis skyline. The journey starts and ends here!) At my high school graduation ceremony, I volunteered to be one of three speakers who offered their words to the class of 2013. Standing at the podium in our overcrowded gym, I began to apply a moderately cheesy metaphor about docks, waves, and every…