October 2012 Archives

Howdy loyal blog readers! As most of you might know, I am a grad student ambassador majoring in Architecture. Although I am passionate about architecture, I also have tons of interest in product design and especially toys! Personally I am a huge fan of high-end action figures (most toy enthusiasts will know what that means lol!) and have a large collection of toys at home, ranging from fixed pose action figures to plastic model kits. Ooops, sorry I got carried away... I like to blabber on and on when it comes to toys :)

So back to the main point. Knowing that I had a huge interest in toys, I was deeply intrigued by this product design class offered in Spring 2012. It was the Toy Product Design class offered by the College of Design under PDES 3711/5711. So without hesitation I registered for that class and boy I did not regret it.

If you are in the College of Design or College of Science and Engineering and you are interested in hands on experience with real clients and prototyping then I would definitely recommend this course. But wait! Other students from different majors can join as well, just as long as you can show your interest in this class to the instructor.

In this class you will be working in teams to create an innovative toy that you will present in the end of the semester not only in front of your clients, but also to kids and families who are the prospective buyers. We call this final presentation as Playsentations because this type of presentation incorporates play and fun! Click here to see videos of this years Playsentations.



Through this class I managed to learn a LOT of things. Not only were the lectures fun and informative, but during lab hours you will have the chance to use all of the cool machines at the W.L. Hall Workshop and DigiFab Lab. So if you're that type of person that would like to have a dynamic and interesting class different from your everyday boring lectures, then you might find enjoying this class as much as I do! Oh and if you do decide to register for this class next Spring then it is likely that I will see you at class because I am going to be one of the lab instructors! Hopefully I will see you there!

Managing stress and what does that have to do with your roommates

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Have you ever had a feeling like you can't keep up with your crazy life anymore, as if somebody stole every happy thought from your brain and there are almost nothing (even babies and poppies) that can make you smile again. Perhaps you don't even want to walk outside you room... or bed. You feel so overwhelmed, responsible, stressed, and mad for the whole world's problems laying on your shoulders (really, there are just the midterms, papers, and job you are juggling with but it feels like there is the whole world involved in making your life miserable). And your social life... just sucks! Oh wait. It doesn't suck, because... you just don't have a social life at all. So imagine you are sitting in your room all by yourself and not even trying to keep track of the Sneakers bars you ate while embracing your misery, when the magic super hero in the image of your roommate appears at your door to rescue you from the mythical Dragon Life you created. Sounds familiar? Well, may be not so much of the dragons and the super heroes part :) But, seriously, how often we all get so much caught up by our everyday business with all of the activities and responsibilities that eventually leads us to an awful stress and even depression. Student life might be difficult and stressful. Think of your ways or tools to manage stress? How do you handle difficulties?

I found for myself the best way to reconcile with my crazy life is to have happy roommates around. Seriously, I love my roommates. And I don't know what exactly keeps them happy: the Ukrainian food that I cook from time to time, or the fact that we live in a beautiful house right by the lake, or a desire to support and accept each other as we are and create a little "family" away from the family? Anyway, on that "rainy" day of mine, my roommate Bitsy yelled me from the kitchen to "get on the couch right now!" to see some uTube video. What happen next... 15 minutes of a crazy laughter and 15 more of a discussion about how some people can produce joy and pure happiness within themselves and how we sometimes forget that we can really notice simple things and the joy they can bring: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OQSNhk5ICTI
My Dragon Life flew away scared and embarrassed and I felt how my cheerfulness comes back to me. After all, this is my choice to be happy or not. I choose to smile or not. I decide to keep myself above the stress and self pity. I love my roommates for reminding me about simple things that bring you joy and for encouraging me to bring joy to others whatever that means (an unexpected gift, or a sandwich, or a hug)

But even if you don't have awesome happy roommates or friends around, or you don't feel comfortable to talk to your friends about what you are going through, there are always services for you at the U of M to help you get where you want to get (I mean finishing up your midterms, or getting your dissertation done, or graduate, or whatever else it might be (I seriously can not think of anything not study related now :) Some of my friends checked out the U of M Boynton Mental Health Services (the word "mental" here doesn't mean you might not necessarily have to have mental disorder or disability to be eligible for the services. You might simply feel homesick or suffer a heartbreak after breaking up with your boyfriend/girlfriend.) The experienced professional will be glad to help you there: http://www.bhs.umn.edu/east-bank-clinic/mental-health-services.htm You just need to ask.

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How To Keep Healthy And Calm At The U of M

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Being calm and healthy while living Grad Student's life can be really tough just to think about it. If I see myself I can tell you that I haven't been at the Gym three months ago. But I think I found the formula to be healthy and calm at the U of M. There is no magical theory. For me there are just three different activities and actions that you can follow and your life would be more enjoyable. Of course if you feel that you don't need any of this advices just keep siting in your desk, writing, reading and calculating. For those how forgot about these fours things, just keep reading:

1. Schedule time, weekly, being active: you can go to the Rec Center at the U of M. It is FREE, unless you want to pay for classes such as Yoga and personal training and so on. Here's the link http://www.recsports.umn.edu/. Don't make excuses; you can go at least once per week.

2. Eat well and not too much junk: There are so many temptations to eat food that we find delicious. I know we have McDonalds close to Minneapolis campus and we also have Starbucks at Coffman. However, I can give you some tips. Have you thought of bringing or getting fruits, yogurt and oatmeal, at these places? Turn your eyes and you'll be able to see other options in the same menu. Do you know there is a website where you can get a lot of information on healthy food at the U of M? You should use it sometimes; it might help you to find interesting resources http://www.hfhl.umn.edu/

And now... how to keep calm. You might think I'm crazy and probably you don't see the link between being healthy and calm at the same time. However, whenever you have an extra time, try to use it smartly:

3. Balance your studies and social life: You definitely need time for your body. It also has to do with the happiness of your mind/body. I will recommend you to go to dance with your friends, (I can tell for the aspect of my colleagues friends if they go to dance or not); get some friends if you don't have any, I wont tell you how (that would be cover in another 'entretenido' blog). Try to communicate with people outside of your department because your mind and body will get a remarkable rest by talking about different aspects that are not related you're your academic field.

Here's a video that somebody special made for you:

Credits: Danny Dietl and http://advice.lovedetour.com

Volunteer group

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Hi all,
I am a member of the University's Medical Reserve corps, that held a pharmaceutical repackaging drill for it's new and old members during the last week. The drill was to train volunteers on how to package and dispense drugs to the public in situations of health emergencies.
The University of Minnesota's Medical Reserve Corps is a volunteer group of students, staff and faculty of the Academic health center at the University of Minnesota. The group is responsible for training volunteers to respond to local, state and national emergencies. As a student, it's also an opportunity for networking, to meet other healthcare and public health professionals and share ideas. I think it's a great opportunity for students coming into any health-related field.

You can check out their site for more details: http://www.health.umn.edu/facultystaff/oer/mrc/index.htm
I'm sure it's a group you'll find very exciting and they are always ready to welcome new members.

Stop by here for some marvelous German cuisine!!!!

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Servus! I knew that I had scored big time when I first moved to Minneapolis and discovered that my apartment was only two blocks away from a German restaurant. Most of you may agree with me that there are certain things from your home country that you can't get in the States and once in a while you crave them really badly. But the Black Forest Inn helps me satisfy those cravings once in a while.



I was very impressed with their menu when I went there for the first time as it has an extensive array of traditional German dishes, such as Sauerbraten, Bratwurst, Schnitzel, Spaetzle, Apfelstrudel etc. For meat lovers this is a real treat as Germany is famous for its meat-based cuisine. One of my favorite dishes there is their Veal Jaeger Schnitzel with red cabbage and Spaetzle. In general, I highly recommend that you try any of their dishes that feature their Spaetzle or Bratwurst as these are home-made according to the German recipe. Overall, the menu itself may a bit pricey for college students but let me assure you that you will definitely get what you pay for due to the excellent quality of the food served. Both international and American friends that I took with me always had a good experience there.

For those of you who are 21 and older and are beer connoisseurs like me, you can also look forward to a magnificent selection of delicious German, European and local beers at this restaurant. On top of that, the Black Forest Inn also features a beautiful beer garden. Coupled with the restaurant's cozy atmosphere, their beer garden is a nice place for hanging out, enjoying a cold beverage and having some good conversations with friends during the summer.



In addition, if you are looking into learning a little more about German traditions and festivities, this is also a suitable place to go to. The Black Forest Inn hosts events, such as Oktoberfest, Spargelfest, a Christmas market, Fasching, and many more. Some of these events also include live music and dancing. Anyway, this is all from me today. I hope to see some of you over there some time. Until next time, my friends. Auf Wiedersehen.

This is Italian Style! This is Buca !

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Although I am an international student from China, I decided to write a review for an Italian restaurant! The name for this restaurant is Buca di Beppo, or in short, Buca. I love this restaurant very much since it is a great place to go for dinner as a big group as well as their food is fantastic. It is also very affordable and very distinctive!


When we talk about Italy, the wonderful Toscana's sunshine, the amazing artists, the architectures, and, of course, the yummy Italian food such as Pizza, Pasta, Tiramisù will pop out eventually.....

Buca is the place where you could find almost all of the great Italian food you can name.

I went to this restaurant with six friends one time. We did not know how big a dish would be, so we ordered five dishes, two desserts, and some drink in total. Since it is a family styled restaurant, their dish size is very very big. The dishes in Buca are designed for sharing with others. Small size would fit 2-3 people and large size would fit 4-5! This sharing mode added fun and happy atmosphere to eating meals with our friends and families. That day, we did not ended up finishing all the food we have ordered, so we packed a lot of leftovers home. After we split the bill, we were so surprised to find out it only cost us around 18 dollars per person.


We ordered a Salad, a Seafood Trio Platter ,a Supremo Italiano Pizza, a Prosciutto Stuffed Chicken, a Penne Arrabbiata Pasta, a Colossal Brownie Sundae, and the Tiramisu!The dishes are all super fresh and tasty. And the desserts did surprise us! I have to say they make the best Tiramisu outside Italy.

Buca di Beppo is a national chain restaurant brand and it has several locations in the twin cities area. The closest one is located in 1204 Harmon Place, Minneapolis, MN 55403. Another good news is that on Friday and Saturday, they have extended business hour till 11:00 p.m.!! Since this is such a popular restaurant, no matter whenever you go, there would always be a waiting line. It will really help reduce the waiting time if you make a reservation before you go!

If you enjoy having dinner with lots of friends, going to Buca would always be a great choice, give you a wonderful experience, and surprise you with its amazing food and service!


Experiencing a modern styled Japanese Izakaya


As an international student from Asia, I always have an "Asian stomach" and crave for good Asian food. Here in the twin cities area, we get plenty great Asian restaurants. It is sooooooo hard for me to pick a favorite to write about. So I decide to write the one that I go most often this semester:) which is Zen Box!

Zen Box is a very modern Japanese Izakaya(居酒屋).In Japanese, 居 means to stay, to live, 酒 means sake, liquor, and 屋 means shop,cover. Isakaya restaurants is like a combination of pub and kitchen. Hope this can give you a better understanding of what an Izakaya is. Zen Box has two locations in Minneapolis. The bigger one(yes, better menu and happy hour!) is located on 602 Washington Ave S., just a few blocks off U of M west bank campus.

Their dishes are deigned to be shared, think "Japanese Tapas" or "Japanese Dim Sum"! They are small plates to share. The price is very affordable and the eating experience is always fun. Besides the small dishes, Zen Box also offer great Donburi(a kind of rice bowl) and Japanese Ramen! Happy hours runs 4-6pm and after 9pm Monday through Friday. It is really worth going if you get time:)

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As my final note, if you are above 21 years old, make sure you try their Chu Hai drinks. Chu Hai is an alcoholic drink that contains very low percentage of alcohol. Lychee flavored Chu Hai is the all time favorite drink of my friend Fannie and I!!! If you are still underage, you can ask the waiter to get you Lychee Soda, which is also really amazing:)

My Best Thai Cuisine Experience


Hello blog readers! As you all know this week is restaurant week and we decided to write some things about our favorite restaurants or just restaurants that is worth trying in the Twin Cities area. You might think that I'm going to pick an Indonesian restaurant but sadly no, because there are no Indonesian restaurants in Minnesota that I know of. So Sad! So I decided to write about a Thai restaurant that I visited over the summer in downtown St. Paul.

The name of the restaurant is Ruam Mit Thai and is located on 475 St. Peter Street in Saint Paul. I don't go to Thai restaurants a lot but this place is definitely the best I've ever visited. I went there with three other Indonesians and we all agreed that the food was delicious. We all ordered separate items so that we can taste each other's dishes (a common behavior for most Indonesians and probably other cultures). We decided to choose which dish out of the four that we ordered is the best and it was the Matsaman Curry.


I don't do a lot of restaurant reviews but I would definitely recommend this restaurant to anyone who hasn't tried Thai food and is in the Twin Cities area. The place is comfortable and is reachable by bus by just taking the 16 towards downtown St. Paul and getting off at St Peter & 7 St.

So if you are ever tired of eating "college student food" or ran out of ideas of what to cook for lunch or dinner, head over to downtown St. Paul and taste the deliciousness that is Thai food in this highly recommended restaurant!

My Next Favorite Restaurant: Fogo de Chão

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This week I got the idea that Fogo de Chão will become in my next favorite restaurant in Minneapolis. For my closest friends it is not a secret that I have had a hard time in terms of food since I first arrived. I have the feeling that some people don't understand that I come from the Atlantic Coast of Colombia, where almost everything is made it with garlic, salt and red pepper; the land where rice is almost always on the table and meat is part of our biweekly dinner experience. Although Minneapolis has a colossal number of restaurants it is a little bit hard to find restaurants with the southern sabor. This is why Fogo de Chão will resolve one of my food desires.

I know this sounds a little bit unrealistic, since I haven't been at Fogo de Chão, but once in a while, I try to think about different ideas or possible 'free-time activities' that I would like to do in Minneapolis. I'm not writing about this restaurant because my Portuguese teacher is in love with it or just because I miss my delicious colombian food. It is mostly because something got my attention: their creative and persuasive menu. Take a look:

Dining Experience

Step 1: Sit down, relax, and enjoy a drink while we explain the Fogo dining experience.
Step 2: Visit our gourmet salad and sides bar. Enjoy over 30 items including fresh cut vegetables, imported cheeses, cured meats and Brazilian side dishes.
Step 3: Turn your card green side up, signaling that you are ready for our gaucho chefs to begin tableside service.
Step 4: Choose from the 15 cuts of delectable fire roasted meats that are brought to your table, sliced, and served by our gaucho chefs.
Step 5: When you are satisfied, flip the disc to the red side until you are ready for more offerings.
Step 6: If you wish, end the meal with one of our delicious desserts.

Basically, you'll find a variety of meat: Picanha, Filet Mignon, Beef Ancho, Alcatra, Fraldinha, Costela, Cordeiro, Frango, Costela de Porco, Lombo and Linguica. In terms of drinks they have a huge range that you can check by yourself. Something that make me happy is that they have one of my favorite dessert: South American Flan

Don't forget: having dinner at Fogo de Chão can cost you between $25 and $30 dollars. You better save with one or two month in advance... I can't wait to go.

Isn't it enjoyment and tasty food what you look for when you go out for dinner?

No good to be hungry on campus...

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You know, the thought of writing about food makes me hungry. Seriously, feeling hungry is no good when you are trying to put your thoughts together for a brilliant midterm paper... or writing a blog :) Good thing, there are plenty of options on and around the U of M campuses.

You see, I am an East-banker (meaning I usually have my classes and hang out on the East Bank campus), and there are nice places to eat, snack, or have coffee on campus (Coffman Union, Walters library, Nolte Hall, etc.). Some Halls besides lunch options places have microwaves, where smart people hit up the launches they brought from home. Well. I'm not that smart yet, unfortunately, so here is what I do when the hunger tries to take over my brilliant study thoughts.
There is my favorite place on the 14th Ave SE, just a few min away from campus, called Walley's (http://www.wallysfalafelandhummus.com/). So if you are a fan of Mediterranean food, like me, eventually you'll find yourself eating Chicken Shawarma Salad at Wally's every other day. It's not only the taste which reminds me of the best Crimean-Tatar food I had back home, but also the big portions with the affordable price that make me happy each time I show up at Wally's. Although, sometimes I stay there, other times I take my food "to-go" and then hide in the couch of the Appleby's Hall basement to enjoy my salad in the quite while writing my paper.

Even though I spent in Minneapolis a little over a year, I still keep finding cute little places with delicious food. I love having new experiences with food. And it seems like Minneapolis is the greatest place for me to enjoy my experiments. Sometimes I feel like somebody has to come up with some sort of a research paper on how-the-delicious-food-influences-students'-performance-at-the-University-of-Minnesota. Seriously.

Minneapolis St. Paul Restaurant Week

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Hi everyone,
The Minneapolis restaurant week commences next week. An event hosted by the Minneapolis-St.Paul magazine, restaurant week provides an opportunity for people to explore several restaurants in the twin cities with a variety of cuisines from all around the world. There will be over 40 restaurants participating in next week's event.

It's an exciting time to discover the best spots to order your favorite meals. Our blogs this week will be giving you details about some of the participating restaurants. Hopefully, you be happy to find a few restaurants that offer your favorite dishes

You can check out participating restaurants at:

Hope you enjoy reading our blogs this week for more details. Have fun!

Fun Things to do in the Fall

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Hello everyone, I found this amazing picture from a friend's twitter. It's taken in the upper state of Minnesota. Hmmm, with all the red leaves and a thick layer of snow, should we call it Fall or Winter? It's Minnesota...


I am so glad that in the twin cities, the Fall is still here with us:) While keeping up with course work is important, it is also very important to relax yourself well on the weekends. The Twin Cities area is a great cosmopolitan that offers many exciting arts scene, landmark architecture, intriguing museums, and abundant natural resources. Before the real winter comes, fall might be our last opportunity to go outside with light clothing.

Here is a list of some fun things to do in the fall:
1.The twin cities area has miles of paved bike trails, it is a great season to go for a bike ride as well as capture the beauty of fall along the way. If you do not own a bike, the NiceRide offers quick, easy and affordable public bikes in the metro area.

2.For sports fans, it's college football season! The Minnesota Golden Gophers play at the TCF Banks Stadium on selected Saturdays. Be there and show your U of M spirit!

3.Minnesota is the state of the lakes. Nearby the U we can easily get to Lake Calhoun for a nice short trip then go explore restaurants, cafes, and boutique shops in the uptown area. If you do not mind driving up for 3 hours and half, Lake Itasca is also a great place to do a weekend trip.

4.Fall is also a great season for water activities. The Mississippi, Minnesota and St. Croix rivers pass through the twin cities and offers a various adventures on the water. One can do a kayak tour or a Mississippi cruise to take oneself down in the heart of the water and immerse oneself in the nature.

5. How can I almost forget about jogging! Besides the bike trials, the twin cities area also has a lot of fun walking paths.My favorite one is the St. Anthony Falls Heritage Board walking trail. Not only because it is so close to U of M, but also due to its beautiful scenery along this trail! This trail is a loop that along both sides of the river. It crosses over the Stone Arch Bridge and Hennepin Ave and will lead one to the Mill City Museum. After looping the trail, how laid back is to grab a cup of coffee and relax in the Water Power Park while enjoying the nice view of Mississippi river and downtown skyline!

Enjoy the prettiest season of Minnesota!

Getting prepared for the winter of Minnesota

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Hey Bodies!! How are you recently? I guess most of you will say, not so bad, but why it became this cold suddenly!
Right, right, right! Winter has already come! It seems a little earlier, and very strong in this year. However, for us international students, if we want to survive well, we should know something for preparing!
1. Check the weather of next day before you sleep, never try to guess the temperature by yourself! Honestly, I tried before and I loose everytime!

2. Wear warm if you know you will spent some time out. How warm is a good a question, actually, it depends on the weather. When you see that it is going to be about 32 degree, (0 degree on celsius), wearing boots, heavy coat, scarf to go outside. When you see that it is going to be about 10 degree (-12 degree on celsius), except wearing those I have mentioned, wear hat and gloves! Never exposure your body without anything, or you will get hurt very soon. I guess the only part of your body without any cover will be your eyes!

3. Drink as much warm water as you can! I know, most of you get used to cold soda or coffee. But warm water will make you feel better when just get through a strong windy or snowy area. I think the most smart way is to bring a vacuum cup with you.

4. If you afraid that you will probably get cold, you could make an appointment at BOYTON to have a free flu vaccination, that is also a good way to prevent getting troubles of healthy. http://www.bhs.umn.edu/index.htm

5. I want to tell you a very interesting construction in our campus is the tunnel underground! During the winter, you could go underground to lots of buildings instead of facing cool air! Check the tunnel map on this link! http://www1.umn.edu/pts/maps/Library/pdf/BikeGoMpls.pdf

6. Finally, after talking about all the boring and essential parts of this topic, I want to reach the most interesting part, what you could do only in the winter?!
NBA will start soon, so you will have the opportunities to watch some real NBA stars and their wonderful performances.
Also, you could go skiing and skating....... So the next topic will be the activities you could do during the winter here!!!


College is not always about attending lectures, sitting in class, doing your homework or assignments and getting good grades. College is the time when you can do other neat and cool stuff like join student groups, participate in projects and join competitions which is what I am doing now. At the end of last spring my classmate asked if I wanted to join a student group called Tesla Works and without hesitation I said yes.

Tesla Works is a project based student group and is a diverse group of people from different educational backgrounds: physics, mechanical engineering, electrical engineering, architecture, aerospace engineering, design, chemical engineering and a lot more. This group of diverse students work on different projects that stimulates creativity and innovation.

I am currently working on a project called the Barbershop Quartet, which is a four animatronic bust figure of President Kaler that sings like a quartet. I chose to join this project because I would like to learn more about how animatronics work and get involved in sculpting the busts (which is fun for me since I am into arts and craft). Projects such as this, where interactions and convergence of different disciplines is what I am interested in and is always a good place to learn more about other things aside from you major and get hands on experience.

Personally, I think getting involved in activities such as this is really important if you are an international student. One of my purpose of studying here is to get to know more American students and learn how to socialize with them. If you are studying in abroad you might as well dive in to the culture and mingle with the locals. This way it will broaden your mind and will definitely change your perspective of the American stereotype. So for you new international students out there, I encourage you to get involved in student groups and other form of campus organizations as soon as possible! Arya out!

What It Really Means To Be a Grad Student!

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Credit: DM Bulletin

Recently I have been reading so many interesting facts about being a Grad Student. I won't write something smarter than that but I think I should be honest by saying how I feel as a Grad Student at the U of M. I read that you don't have a life; you have to read an incredible number of books per week, you drink four cups of coffee or more per day and try to digest an unimaginable quantity of information. For me part of that is true and part of that isn't. It is true that being a Grad Student requires a lot of time for grading (if you get a Teaching Assistant position), reading a lot and writing.
However, there are so many good things that people don't focus on. The first positive thing is that you get to discuss topics that you feel passionate about and things that are your interest. One of the grad student in my department http://spanport.umn.edu/ said that you get to study something you enjoy and you'll be surrounded by those who are equally dedicated to studying things they love.
Another positive thing is that you get to create your own schedule and you have the freedom of turning what you like to do into your job and so on.
Although it can be hard, so far I think it is worth it. What else is better that studying what you really dreamed about?

Here are some personal tips along with some colleague's suggestions:

1. Be on time with every single assignment you have and you'll survive. Remember that every thing is your responsibility.
2. Become friends with your colleagues. This won't happen right after you arrive in your department. It takes times but it is healthy. They'll become your 'amigos profesionales' at the end of the road. You might discover the value of this when you graduate. I haven't yet but I'm sure I will.
3. Apply to go to conferences. They are good for you to find people interested in what you are doing; you create connections that might help you with future projects. It is also a great opportunity to travel around the US and abroad (at least for me this is a great chance for international students and for natives).
4. Try to have a good relationship with your professors and advisers. Nevertheless, do not wait for your adviser to let you know of little deadlines because is your own responsibility to finish your degree. They have a job and you are an independent person pursuing your goal. They are not high school counselors..
5. When you get a paper back with 100 criticisms it might break you down. However, if you can rebuild yourself, you will become tougher.
6. When you feel that you can't make it think about people who don't have the opportunity to be educated and also live in worse conditions than you right now.
7. Have you found the beauty of what you are doing right now?.

If you think there is more to say about this, please leave a comment. It is hard to think of every single possibility. I'm just in my second year of Grad School. Buena suerte!

Some funny and serious links that talk about Grad School:

1. Grad School / U of M http://www.grad.umn.edu/
2. You can watch The PhD Movie: http://www.phdmovie.com
2R. Have you heard/read about the Ceej and Em: Graduate School Barbie (TM):

Post. Another Grad Student mentioned that to be Grad Student is like a being professional hipster (I'll omit to tell you why).

Wait... I forgot to tell you that you will have time to celebrate the achievement of the first year:


Foods I love to eat, yay!!!!!!

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So, I was at the farmer's market on campus today. The farmer's market is where locally grown produce and fruits are sold at reduced prices. There was so much food and so many options.
I love foods I used to eat in my home country so I like going to the farmer's market, where I can get most of what I need to prepare the kinds of food I really enjoy - stereotypic right? well, I guess I am but I love what I love, can't help it.

I guess you're looking forward to getting your favorite foods from the farmer's market when you get here too.
Here's a sneak peak at some of the produce that was available at the market.

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Apples season in Minnesota

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You've probably heard from other Ambassadors there are lots of things to do in the Twins Cities (and by the way, that's how we call Minneapolis and St. Paul, in case you got confused). Besides parks, museums, theaters, movie theaters (and I will be talking more about that in my future posts), there are other exciting places to relax after a long week at school.

So, today I'll tell you about my apple picking adventures this weekend. As a part of my Fulbright experience I often participate in the different outings that Minnesota Fulbright Association Chapter organizes for the visiting Fulbrighters. This time we went to the Aamodt's apple farm, not far from one of the oldest cities in Minnesota, called Stillwater. I was so excited to be on the farm as it reminded me of home, and that was exactly what I needed in the beginning of a homesickness season.

So after I got my bag for the apples (you have to purchase one or two when you arrive) I went along the apple garden with my friends. Pretty soon we got mesmerized by the sight of all the colors, and tastes, and smells! I've never seen THAT many apples at once in my life! And the coolest part, I could pick any apple I want and eat as much as I want. At the end of the day I felt like I have apple juice running in my blood. There was also a little farm market where people buy all the apple related products and food. Besides my favorite apple chips (oh, you should try it at least once in your life!), I discovered there the whole new world of amazing pancake toppings. The Honey Butter now is going to be one of the foods I'll be missing the most from Minnesota.

The weekend in Stillwater was a lot of fun. I got my bag full of apples, my mind full of refreshment, and my heart full of joy. Now I'm looking forward to more weekends to come...


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