Monthly Archives: March 2016

Why Choose Mexico 2016?

Last week Mexicanos around the world celebrated Natalicio de Benito Juárez. On March 21, 1805, the former president Benito Juárez was born. Juárez may be best known as the President of Mexico who helped expel the French Empire from trying to colonize and create a puppet state in Mexico (1861-1867). Cinco de Mayo is another holiday that comes from the France’s ill-fated soirée and celebrates the defeat of, what was considered the greatest military force in the world, by a greatly outnumbered Mexican army. Jaurez on Rivera's Mural at the Palacio.jpg

Benito Juárez was born in Oaxaca, Mexico. IU South Bend students can spend 4 weeks this summer living in Oaxaca, learning about the culture and society that produced Mexico’s only indigenous president.


This past year I had a chance to go with IU South Bend to Oaxaca. Although not my first experience with a non-Western European culture, it was still an eye-opening experience. Unless you have experienced something like this it is hard to describe beyond a longing to return. Just the other day I was telling my partner, who also went on the Mexico trip with me*


My Host Family

not one week goes by where I do not miss and desire for my host mother’s cooking.” 027

The deadline for the Summer II 2016 Oaxaca, Mexico is tomorrow. Do not miss this truly unforgettable trip.


*Our Mexico trip allows spouses and children to participate with special permission.


Jason Rose is an IU South Bend alumni and current graduate student of History at Ball State University. He did part of his Thesis Research on the 2015 Oaxaca, Mexico Trip.

















Woman on Wheels: Touring Vietnam by Bicycle

On March 23, 2016, IU South Bend archivist Alison Stankrauff gave a presentation on her summer 2016 trip traveling solo through Vietnam, a trip she described as “nothing short of amazing” and “days of wonder.”

She encouraged all her listeners, but especially women, to consider embarking on an adventure on their own and referred them to resources for solo women travelers.

She told her audience that traveling solo had empowered her, allowed her to forge a deeper connection to the places and people where she was visiting, and helped her to think about who she is and what kind of person she would like to be.

This talk was sponsored by the Women’s and Gender Studies Department and International programs. Thanks to media services for filming the talk.

Alison’s guides introduced her to the people, culture, and food of Vietnam

Hanoi PeddlerShe had a chance to visit cities


as well as the beautiful countryside

Market at Hoang Su Phiand she loved exploring the public markets

Red Dao Ethnic Familybut best of all were the people that she met,

Me Cycling In Vietnam 2015

…and the chance to do it on her bike.

More resources for women traveling alone:

Solo Women Travelers – A closed group on Facebook – a*very* affirming group, offers good advice!

Woman  Travel Guide:

HostelWorld – “Solo Female Travel: Nine Myths and One Truth”:

Young Adventuress 

“…one of my big big BIG opinions that I frequently and loudly profess in real life as well as online is the following; I am a strong believer that all women should travel solo, at least once in their lives.”

Jessie on a Journey:  “How Solo Female Travel Changed My Life (And How It Can Change Yours, Too).”

GypsyGals:  A love letter to traveling solo and female in Hanoi!

Women’s Adventure Magazine has Vietnam in its Top 10 Places for Women to Travel Solo:

Women Traveling to Vietnam:

“I have never felt that my gender has been particularly relevant in Asia.”


Passports: First Time Applicants

Getting your passport is not difficult but it does take some planning to get your paperwork together. The routine processing time is 6 – 8 weeks, starting the application early saves you worry and money. Expediting your passport adds a $60 charge and still takes three weeks on average.

First time going abroad? New travelers need to complete application form DS-11. You can download the PDF, fill it out, and take it to the Post Office. I visited the South Bend post office to turn in my application,you can use any passport acceptance facility in our area.


First passports and name changes must be applied for in person.

One thing you will need before submitting your application is a passport photo. I went to my local CVS Pharmacy and they provided two photos for $12.99. The process only took a matter of minutes. If you have the Post Office take your passport photos, they charge $15.00 but you know the photos will not be rejected.

You will need to provide identity documentation including evidence of U.S. citizenship and photo identification. The passport application lists everything you need.this-kid-is-going-places-happy-baby

The passport book fee is $110 payable to the U.S. Department of State. There is also a $25 execution fee for processing which will cover the mailing costs of the application process.

A passport will allow you to travel around the world and also serves as an important document when verifying your identity. In other words, it’s a good thing to have no matter where life takes you.

Guest Post by Susan Ward, International Programs Intern