Monday, February 18, 2013

What Is It Like to Be An Editor for the SMC Defender?

Hi everyone!

This week I thought I'd shake things up a bit.  My friend, senior seminar partner, fellow Defender editor and fellow blogger Gabbi Hall and I have created a vlog for you so we could talk about being on the Defender staff and what it's like to be an editor (as well as other random things).  This is my first vlog (though Gabbi is a vlog veteran) so I hope you enjoy it! It was fun to create and involved way too much giggling, so there will probably be more to come.  Thanks for watching!!

~ Liz

Monday, February 11, 2013

Thursday Night Glee Night


With new semesters often come new weekly rituals.  One of my new favorite weekly rituals happens on Thursday nights this semester.  At 9 p.m., my friends Suyeon (from South Korea) and Akane (from Japan) come over to my townhouse so we can all watch Glee together. Glee has been a favorite show of mine for a few years now, and Suyeon became interested as well when I showed her that the cast did Gangnam Style on the show.  Akane was interested in seeing the show too, so we decided to start having weekly Glee nights!

From left, Akane, Suyeon and me earlier in the semester at Starbucks in downtown Burlington.

The biggest difficulty so far is that we have not been able to figure out how to make the English subtitles on the television work.  Since English is a second language for both girls and characters on the show often speak fast or use American slang, it is much easier when they can see English subtitles.  To remedy this problem, we mute the television at each commercial break, and I then explain to them what is happening on the show if they do not understand.  Of course, some of the context gets lost because of this difficulty, but I try to fill in as many details as possible (even giving some background information when necessary – I am such a gleek!).

After the show ends, we often chat about interesting culture differences or watch videos on YouTube and giggle our heads off.  I love having international friends because not only are they lovely people, but it is also interesting to learn about their cultures and how they see American culture.  It's also a chance for me to explain American cultural things that they might not understand and learn some new words in either Korean or Japanese.  I am now able to say the word "eggplant" in at least 6 languages, though I'm not sure why just that word!

Needless to say, Suyeon and Akane have become some of my best friends, and I enjoy hanging out with them and the other international students so much! I am so excited for our Thursday Glee night tradition to continue.

If you have any questions about my life as a student at St. Michael's College, please do not hesitate to email me (, Tweet me (@LizMurraySMC) or ask me a question on Formspring (lizmurray3).


Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Global Eyes (or "Globalize")

Hi everyone!

Lately, I've been going through all my pictures from my semester abroad to choose the three I have now entered into a study abroad photography contest at St. Mike's called "Global Eyes." Before I left to go abroad, the director of Study Abroad Peggy Imai told all of us students going abroad about the contest details.  Returnees are allowed to enter a maximum of three pictures into these categories:

- City Life
- Creative/Artistic
- Culture Most Distinct from SMC
- Landscape
- Nature and the Environment
- People and the Human Spirit
- Politics/Peace and Justice
- The Essence of Study Abroad

With those categories in mind, I photographed away, taking pictures not only on tours and of myself and my friends, but also of random people and details that others may not have noticed.  The judging will take place later in the spring, and contest photos are displayed in the Daily Room in Durick Library.

I took at least 1000 photos or more abroad, so needless to say, the elimination process was tough. With the help of some of my friends, I was able to narrow it down to the three pictures I would enter.  Here are the three I have chosen.  The descriptions accompanying them are also the descriptions I also provided on my entrance forms.


The day my tour group and I visited St. Peter’s Basilica in Rome, Italy, was a beautiful, sunny day.  Not only was I struck by the beauty of the architecture inside the basilica, but the light streaming through the windows created an almost heavenly atmosphere.  As my Czech professor spoke about the features of the inside of the church and urged us to go “steal pictures” of the deceased pope displayed in the church, I could not help but stare in wonder at the natural light that created such an awe-inspiring scene.

People and the Human Spirit:

In Venice, we stayed in a hotel near the main canal.  Every day, my friends and I would leave our hotel and see an old man playing an old, battered violin.  He would greet us with a polite “Buongiorno” in the morning while he played a beautiful solo, and he would still be there in the evening playing the same melody.  “Buona sera,” he would greet us (“Good evening”). He never collected much money in his violin case, but he would be there every day without fail in the same location playing the same tune. 

The Essence of Study Abroad: 

The John Lennon Wall in Prague is one of the only places in the world where it is completely legal to graffiti. Thousands of people visit the wall every year from all over the world, meaning the colorful drawings and beautiful messages, song lyrics and inscriptions are different every time one visits.  Most of the messages center around world peace, of which John Lennon was an active advocate during his lifetime. This wall is the very essence of studying abroad as people from different cultures all over the world come together to read the messages left by past travelers and write their own for future visitors. The wall connects people, whether they realize it or not, and it is that cultural connection and curiosity that is one of the most important aspects of studying abroad. 

To see last year's contest winners, please click here.

Hope you enjoy the photos! I'm really excited for the contest and curious to see what the other returnees entered.

If you have any questions about studying abroad or about my life in general at St. Michael's, do not hesitate to email me (, Tweet me (@LizMurraySMC) or ask me a question on Formspring (lizmurray3).