Refugees in New York Raise Awareness Through Fashion

Comments and photos provided by the Refugee Center in upstate New York…

The Heart of a Community

Refugee Welcome Center in Albany New York
Refugee Welcome Center

Albany, New York is both the center of the capital region and home to a number of diverse communities. Organizations like the West Hill Refugee Welcome Center (RWC) work tirelessly to create opportunities for its members, as well as an accepting atmosphere for those who are looking for a collaborative space to make lasting connections. 

Building Lasting Connections

The RWC works toward building a sustainable community that is supportive of its more established members as it is welcoming of newcomers. The center is known for its efforts in helping refugees polish their skills and tools they need to thrive as newcomers in the United States. They achieve this by organizing youth activities such as movie nights; mentorship programs; as well as safe and affordable housing. They also offer English and civics classes, and space to grow their gardens.

Local Partnerships

This summer, the RWC partnered with two local professors, Dr. Vera Eccarius-Kelly and Dr. Alison Schaeffing, with the purpose of creating a community museum with refugees living in the underserved West Hill neighborhood. A group of 12 Americorp fellows, students, many of whom are refugees themselves, were also involved in the program, which was facilitated by the Siena Project Incubator (SPIn), hosted by Siena College.

Unforeseen Obstacles

The supervisors and their fellows had originally hoped to engage with the RWC by developing a museum exhibit that showcased the voices of refugees. However, the spread of the coronavirus created several obstacles for the group.

They instead started a virtual fashion series, titled “For Us By Us.” The series features West Hill community members who showcase thee refugee community through fashion. 

Learn how men and women dress across different cultures.

For Us, By Us: A Fashion Series

The “For Us By Us” project highlights more than just beautiful clothing. Descriptions of the outfits written by the models tells you more about the history of the garment and its use.

The project strives to provide a space for refugees to share their experiences, stories, and needs with the wider Albany community. The SPIn fellows hope that the future will allow them to use the images and their descriptions from the series as a feature in a new museum exhibit that will eventually be created through this initiative.

Meet the Models

Jeanne Sinzinkayo is not only a curator of the “For Us, By Us” Series, she is also a model for the fashion show. Along with another member of the AmeriCorps team, she is researching the Banyamulenge struggle for recognition, with the long term goal of publication of digital information for a virtual museum exhibit. With both projects, she hopes to serve as a record keeper for the unheard voices and experiences of the diverse communities, along with developing a comprehensive case study to publish.

Jeanne Sinzinkayo in an iribaya and ipantaro
Jeanne Sinzinkayo in an iribaya and ipantaro

Jeanne Sinzinkayo: This blue outfit is a two-piece set in African clothing. The top is called iribaya (shirt) and the bottom part is called ipantaro. This is the most common for everyone of all ages. Usually, younger women would wear this as is or pair the iribaya (shirt) with a skirt (ijipo). Older married women would wear the iribaya (shirt) with another piece of igitange as their skirt. It is handmade and it is very versatile. It can be used interchangeably. For example, the top could be worn with jeans, and the pants could be worn with t-shirts. To save money and time, there are extra stitches so if one gains weight, one can take out some of the stitches to make the clothes lose to fit. The cloth itself is high-quality so it can sustain longer. 

Jeanne Sinzinkayo in an Banyamulenge Ibubu
Jeanne Sinzinkayo in an Ibubu

This yellow dress is called ibubu. This is commonly worn by older women in the Banyamulenge community of Congo. It is loose and it gives you room to be able to move around. It is typically worn with a headpiece because older women from the Banyamulenge community cover their heads as a sign of respect. When it is worn by younger women, they usually wear it without the headpiece. 

Jeanne Sinzinkayo in an Igitange
Jeanne Sinzinkayo in an Igitange

This green outfit is made out of a fabric called igitange. It is a set with pants and a long blazer, the blazer is called ikoti (jacket) and the pants are called ipantaro (pants). This is usually worn by younger women and it can be made for men as well. After selecting the fabric you can take it to the tailor with a design and they will make the outfit for you. 

Ethnic tunics have become part of mainstream fashion globally.

Balqees Sayed is also a SPIns Fellow, a model, and a local resident of the West Hill community.  She is a recent graduate of Russell Sage College. She has been volunteering at the RWC for the past two years. Balqees is working as a part-time Program Coordinator at the RWC after graduation.

 Balqees Sayed in an Afghani Kamees
 Balqees Sayed in an Afghani Kamees

Balqees Sayed: I love wearing my Afghani Kamees (ethnic Pashtun dress). For me, this is an opportunity to show another part of who I am. I am not just a girl from a developing country. I am not oppressed. I am not controlled by men. This is a vintage dress worn by Kuchi women (Pashtun nomads). My ancestors were nomads. Traveling to colder areas in summer and warmer areas in winter. These dresses are perfect for colder weather in summer. It is very loose and has a huge pocket where you can store many things. And this is all handmade!

When I bought it, my mom sewed some torn parts of the dress. This is more than just a dress. This is a part of who I am. This is the beauty of my culture. This is what the media fails to see. We are humans. We have cultures. We have insights. We are smart. This is an Afghani kamees, to all the white people out there appropriating our culture. This is not a “boho” dress. This is a handmade Kochani kamees (nomadic dress). 

Handmade Dress by Balqees Sayed
Handmade Dress by Balqees Sayed

The second dress was designed by me and my mother. Then it was sewn by my aunt. In Afghanistan, people who know how to make clothes, sew their own clothes. It is a very traditional way of wearing clothes. This dress was made from scratch, except the chest part which I bought from a vintage shop. This dress is usually worn in parties and different formal and informal occasions. 

Model Ishaque Ismail in a traditional Afghan

Ishaque Ismail: Men’s fashion is a way to express yourself. People can tell a lot about you just by looking at your outfit. This is a traditional Afghan male dress. It is called shalwar kameez. I wear it on Eid and to weddings.

Muzzamil Khiljee continually strives to spread love and acceptance throughout all of his lyrics. He has persistently fought for his work and message throughout his changing environments. Sip has continued to drop high-quality music with top-notch production to attract a mainstream crowd, all the while fostering the same message that culture is not necessarily just black and white. Music is unity; music is the culture that brings everyone together.

Muzzamil Khiljee in a handmade logo outfit

Muzzamil Khiljee: As a Hip-Hop fan, this handmade “culture” logo that you see on the back of my jacket is an international brand by one of the most talented Afghan hip hop/rap recording artists called Sip.

Continue Spreading Awareness

Looking for ways to become a part of the cause? Consider donating to the West Hill Refugee Welcome Center today, or, if you are a local of the Capital Region in Albany, consider volunteering at the Center and make a difference in a fellow community member’s life.

Here’s How We Pickle Around the World

Coming from a family of at-home gardeners, we have always planted a summer garden. Typically, we grow herbs and vegetables such as basil, sage, tomatoes, and of course, cucumbers. 

Every summer, we plant cucumbers so we can make our family’s favorite – refrigerator pickles. Never heard of refrigerator pickles before? Essentially, they are homemade bread and butter pickles, but more delicious!

As we once again got ready to make this favorite summer treat once again, I started thinking about all the other types of pickling techniques throughout the world. Be inspired to make your own pickles with these ideas…

Keep a handy herb garden to make your pickles

How We Got Pickling

Did you know that pickling started over 4,000 years ago? Preserving food in vinegar or oils is one of the oldest methods of food storage in the world. Pickling got its start when the ancient civilization of Mesopotamia soaked cucumbers in acidic brine to keep them fresh. 

Now, countries all over the world have different methods and varieties of products that they use to make their favorite “pickle” recipe.

India: Mango Achar

Cucumbers are native to the Indian Sub Continental Region, and the Tigris Valley is where historians claim pickling first got its start. Today, people in India use a variety of fruits and vegetables, which they brine in oil instead of vinegar.  

One of the most commonly found at every meal in India is a sweet and spicy mango pickle. To make Mango Achar, use fresh unripe green mangoes, mustard paste, mustard oil, red chili pepper, and other spices. 

You can buy kosher dill pickles at WholeFoods or order them online

United States: Dill Pickles

The word “pickle” actually has Dutch or German origin. So it is not surprising that the American staple – dill pickle – did not originate from the United States at all. The concept of a dill pickle was brought over during the wave of immigration in the late 1800s and early 1900s. Before that, the Jewish population in many Eastern European countries still fermented cucumbers to add flavor to their otherwise simple winter meals.

The key to making a dill pickle lies in both the quality of spices and in the duration of time that the pickles are allowed to ferment. Dill pickles are an easy snack to make at home and pair well with sandwiches. 

Korea: Kimchi

Like in many countries around the world, the tradition of Korean kimchi started as a result of harsh winters that did not make for a good growing season. What started as a simple dish of cabbage soaked and fermented in salt, has over time changed and adapted under the introduction of influences from other cultures over time. 

Today, kimchi is typically made with Chinese cabbage or vegetables mixed with the key ingredient of gochugar (Korean chili pepper).

Pair your kimchi pickle with Korean pancakes and kimchi fried rice

Sweden: Pickled Herring

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Fish on a Friday the saying goes, so after three days in the pickle i plate my soused herring, here with compressed cucumber, beetroot, fennel fronds, fennel mayonnaise, capers and some wee white radish flowers picked by @tablejamesmcneish – really enjoyed getting my Scandi head on for this, great fish as ever from @welchfishmongers – will come back to this, flavours are all there though so happy enough with this. Have a great Friday folks, stay safe. Keep your gatherings small, we’ve come this far don’t fuck it up 🙏 #pickledherring #chefbarrybryson #pickling #fishonafriday #plating #scaniinspired #scottishfood #wildherbs #pickyourown #learning #developmentplate #newthoughts #keeponcooking #myleithkitchen #chefinscotland #privatechef #illbringtherestauranttoyou #staysmall #dontfuckitup #personalchefedinburgh @foodinedinburgh @thestaffcanteen @findingfantasticfood thanks for the shopping company @danielpioro

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The tradition of pickling herring began in the medieval period in Sweden. As a water-locked country, herring were found in abundance and was an easy product to export outside of Sweden. However, in order to keep the product fresh so that it could reach further distances, they began to pickle the fish. It was also a good way to have sustenance during the long and cold Swedish winters. 

Today, many Scandinavian communities pickle herring simply in vinegar. You can also add vegetables such as onions, dill and allspice to add a little more flavor. Swedish meals often consist of tapas like cold dishes, called smörgåsbord, where you will find these herring pickles along with smoked salmon, caviar, cheese and bread.

Germany: Sauerkraut

Sauerkraut is one of those foods that you think of as distinctly German. Surprisingly, sauerkraut originated on the other side of the globe – in China! During the construction of the Great Wall of China, workers typically ate rice and cabbage in the summer time. In the winter, though, they added wine to the mixture, which resulted in fermentation. 

Today, German chefs have traded wine for salt. You can make this delicious side dish simply by adding salt to finely chopped cabbage. Then, allow the mixture to sit until the acid in the cabbage, creates a sour flavor that is distinctive of sauerkraut.

~By Jordan Dunn, Marketing and Communications Intern at Go Eat Give. Jordan is a Public Relations and Communications Marketing Major at Siena College in Upstate NY. She has a passion for writing, traveling, and advocacy. Follow her on Facebook and Blog for more about her personal travel stories.

The Funniest Travel Stories from the Go Eat Give Team

When you travel, interesting things happen. You may miss your flight, get almost arrested, find yourself communicating through signs, indulge in a whimsical cultural nuance, or forge lifelong friendships with total strangers. In the moment, you may feel anxious, frustrated, or pushed out of your comfort zone. Yet, when you look back and think about those times, you have a good laugh about it. Every travel memory is a learning lesson and a great story worth sharing.

While our team is working virtually during summer 2020, we decided to share our funniest travel stories with our readers. We hope that in sharing ours’ you may be reminded of your own humorous travel moments.

Melissa Ting: Always Do your Research

Melissa Ting in front of Notre Dame in Paris, France
Melissa on her anniversary trip to Paris

I always research restaurants before I travel to make sure I’m getting the best representation of a country’s food. On this particular vacation to Paris however, I may have fallen a bit short… 

It was my first time in Paris, France, and as it is a place known for its marvelous food, I knew I wanted to do something absolutely amazing to celebrate my boyfriend and my anniversary of being together for 3 years. In conducting my initial research, I discovered that Chef Cyril Lignac had a 1 Michelin star restaurant, and I just had to try it! 

I had done my research and had even made my reservations several months out; and before I knew it, we were finally in Paris. I thought I had done everything right. On the day of, however, I was on the restaurant’s website, drooling over the photos of the foods we were going to later experience, when I happened to stumble upon the menu…and the price. I was flabbergasted! I quickly converted the Euros into USD, hoping that somehow the value of a Euro had dropped and my USD was worth a lot more. It wasn’t. I debated whether to tell my boyfriend but figured it was better to let him know before we made a scene in the restaurant. When I told him, he was in shock. Lucky for me, we decided to go anyway. 

This quaint little restaurant had the most exquisite food I had ever had in my life. We had a 7-course meal with white asparagus, scallops, lobster, steak, and adorable little desserts. When the bill finally came, we had been subdued by the incredible food and the 4+ hours of impeccable service. It’s a night that we (mostly me) still laugh about to this day! 

Lesson Learned: Research beyond the pretty food pictures and definitely confirm the price in your own currency before booking a restaurant.

Laura Vo: Beware of the….Bucket? 

Laura Vo on a travel trip
Laura Vo on a vacation

I was around four-years-old when I first traveled to Vietnam. Being a Vietnamese American, I was in tune with much of our customs and culture. However, it wasn’t until I went for the first time that I genuinely was culture-shocked. It was mid-day when it was time for me to take a bath. 

Being only four, you’d think my parents or someone would supervise a child during this time, but everyone thought that I’d be okay on my own. So I walked in, ready to wash, only to come face to face with two buckets. One was small and filled with water, and the other was large enough for a person to stand in.

At first, I was confused about what I needed to do, but I decided to sit in the larger bucket for a few minutes. I don’t know when the thought hit me, but I realized that the water from the smaller bucket needed to go into the one I was sitting in, so I began dumping all the water into it. I also found a soap that I could use and proceeded to squirt as much of it as possible into the water I was sitting in. This resulted in a slippery, bubble bath concoction.

As the bucket was quite deep and everything was wet and slippery, I couldn’t get myself out and could only sit there screaming in sadness. I was in there for about 30 minutes when my mom finally came in to check on me. I remember her being so shocked to see the makeshift miniature pool and me hysterically crying. With my mom’s help, I was freed and cleaned off. For the rest of my stay, however, I was told that I was extremely terrified of buckets.

Lesson Learned: Don’t underestimate the bucket… or unexpected cultural norms.

Jordan Dunn: The Brig Is Real  

Jordan Dunn on a Caribbean Cruise to St. Thomas
Jordan Dunn on a Caribbean Cruise

I am no stranger to cruise travels. Starting with my first cruise at the age of eight, my memories of these trips are endless. I will never forget however, the day I learned that the brig is real. 

At fourteen, no one could have convinced me otherwise that I was not, in fact, invincible. With that mindset in tow, it never once crossed my mind that I should have checked in with my grandparents, or even my older sister about where I was venturing off to.

In my defense, I had simply made a new friend, a girl my age from England and we had spent the late afternoon and evening hanging out, exploring the boat, and talking about our respective cultures. Having always encouraged me to learn about new cultures, I thought my grandparents would be so happy to hear about how I had spent my time.

Never did I expect to hear “Jordan, please come to the main desk on deck 5” come blaring over the loudspeaker! I was mortified but of course, and made my way to the front desk, where I was met by – none other than my anxious grandparents and a terrifyingly stern cruise ship security officer. Expecting to speak my case and be scolded but lovingly embraced for my safe return, I was taken aback by what happened next. The security man said that if I did it again, I would be sent to the brig! My fourteen-year-old self didn’t even know what the brig was, so needless to say I was scared straight. 

To this day I have no clue if that security man meant what he said, or if it was just a scare tactic, but it can be said for certain that I never again wandered off on a cruise… 

Lesson Learned: 14-year-olds do not, in fact, know it all, and cruise security means business.

Sucheta Rawal: All’s Well That Ends Well

Travel Stories from Sucheta and Dipak in Santorini, Greece
Sucheta and Dipak in Santorini, Greece

A long time ago, my husband and I traveled to Greece. We rented a car in Athens, Santorini, Mykonos, and Crete, exploring the little villages and getting a flavor for authentic Greek life. This was back in the days before GPS and smartphones. We didn’t speak Greek and only had a physical paper map to guide us through the complicated streets.

After our road trip around Athens, we were supposed to head to the port to sleep on an overnight ferry from Athens to Crete. I had everything printed out – direction to the port, car rental papers, cabin reservations, etc. Even with all my preparation, we just couldn’t find the port! We drove for hours and hours, until all the streets started looking the same. Finally, we asked a taxi driver to lead us to the ferry port. We followed him in our rental car and found the port that was only a few minutes away. We had been so close! In our minds, we had fortunately planned enough time to get lost and still make our departure time.

However, just as we got to the docks, the ship was pulling away. Based on my calculations, we still had hours before the ferry was supposed to leave. I pulled out my printed reservation which read as “Departure 19:00.” Somehow my brain misread the military time and converted the actual 7pm departure time to 9pm!  

Since we still needed to get to the next island, we found the cheapest hotel nearby and booked the first flight out the next day for a quick flight to Crete.

Everything went smoothly. Instead of a 9- hour ride on a ferry, our flight took less than 1 hour. The hotel we had booked in Crete was walking distance from the ferry port (as per the original plan) and had a nice view of the Mediterranean. Just as we settled into the room and looked out the window, we saw our ship just pulling in. We had a good laugh at our own blunders and misadventures. At least we were right on schedule!

Lesson Learned: Know how to read Standard time vs Military Time, and just because the original plan didn’t work doesn’t mean everything is ruined.

For more unexpected adventures, read about driving into Mexico…by accident!

~By Jordan Dunn, Marketing and Communications Intern at Go Eat Give. Jordan is a Public Relations and Communications Marketing Major at Siena College in Upstate NY. She has a passion for writing, traveling, and advocacy. Follow her on Facebook and Blog for more about her personal travel stories.

What You Need To Know to Travel Sustainably and Meaningfully

More than Just Memorable

Painting a Rural Community Church in Jamaica
Painting a Rural Community Church in Jamaica

The more I travel, the more I find myself seeking meaningful, not simply memorable, travel experiences. This desire has taken me down the path of researching how to travel sustainably, considering the footprint that I have left on past trips, and even partaking in immersion travels where the focus is on cultural awareness and international relations.

I know first hand that this kind of travel can take a lot of time and effort to plan out, so let’s talk about some of the easy ways you can start traveling sustainably today.

Keywords of Sustainable Travel

In recent years, many keywords have emerged in regard to sustainable travel. These words include – Green Travel, Social Responsibility, and Environmental Consciousness. 

While figuring out the nuances of each term can be a bit tricky, it is important to know that they all promote the same thing – that is traveling with footprints and impact in mind.

Decide What it All Means to You

Impact Travel Alliance Mission for Sustainable travel changes
Impact Travel Alliance’s Mission for Change

Kelly Campbell, co-founder and executive director of The Village Experience, an organization we partner with, says “Green/Sustainable travel is traveling in a manner that respects and takes into consideration the local community, wildlife, and the environment.” Her company organizes tours to Kenya, India, Guatemala and other countries, that also combines giving back to the local communities.

Meghan Aftosmis, SR PR and Media Network Lead at Impact Travel Alliance, states that green travel and sustainable travel are not interchangeable concepts. Green travel connotes that it’s solely focused on environmental conservation, whereas sustainable tourism has a much broader perspective and meaning. The keys to sustainable travel are that a destination’s local people, culture, economy, and environment – are all benefited by tourism in that place. Even beyond the travel industry, businesses often describe this as a triple-bottom-line: people, planet, profit.

With this in mind, think about your own travels and decide what sustainable traveling means to you. Ask yourself how you will integrate more best practices on your next trip?

Do Your Research and Choose What’s Right

Traveling sustainably with the Village Experience on a Kenyan Safari
Sunset on a Kenyan Safari with The Village Experience

With sustainable travel, as with any kind of travel, it is important that you do your homework before you go. Doing so will ensure that you not only choose the right destination, but that you also engage with the right kind of organizations and travel companies when you get there. To get an even better understanding of the destinations practicing sustainability, check out Go Eat Give’s recommended travel destinations and blog here.

One place to start your research is to look for travel companies that have direct partnerships with locally owned hotels, restaurants, excursion tours, and shops. Choosing entities like these, over large commercial tourism companies, helps to confirm that tourism dollars stay local. This also helps the community stay economically stable and that the culture of that destination stays intact.

Prepare For the Trip

Traveling Sustainably Starts with Packing Sustainably

If you are like me, you have a stash of basic travel products that you bring on every trip. In the past couple of years, I have personally added a reusable water bottle, snap and go snack containers, a cotton wrap sheet (to be used as a beach sheet, picnic blanket, or poolside cover-up), and a packable travel towel – to my ever-growing expanse of sustainable travel gear! Each item has saved me so much time and effort while I’m jetting off from place to place. It has also cut down on the waste that I have left behind.

These Hydro Cell Stainless Steel Water Bottles keep liquids hot or cold and come in a variety of fun colors. 

Take the time to purchase a few sustainable travel products that you can reuse on all your trips. Keeping these items on hand can go a long way in saving you money, while reducing the footprint you leave behind.

Engage With The Local Community

Immersion Trip to a Guatemalan Elementary School
Immersion Trip to Guatemalan Elementary School

In addition, it is important to continue giving back to the destination you visit every time you travel. By partnering with local charities and social enterprises that have sustainable visions and missions, you’ll leave a positive footprint behind. There are many easy ways to integrate this into your next trip, no matter where you choose to go. When you travel again, consider shopping at fair trade stores, taking eco tours, joining cooking classes led by locals, and eating at locally-owned restaurants

Another way to take this a step further is by donating your time. Many local organizations offer opportunities to volunteer for a few hours to a few weeks, bring much-needed supplies, or donate any special skills you may have. It is best to find out from the local organization what assistance they need. Go only with reputable nonprofits that ensure that no one is taken advantage of in the process.

Also, some of the activities Go Eat Give volunteers have done in the past include teaching English to businessmen and women in Spain, farming on a cooperative farm in Cuba, giving lessons on health and sanitation in Indonesia, and organizing life skills classes for women in India. Anything that involves touching wildlife is typically a No Go!

Start the Connection at Home

Even when you are not traveling, you can continue to learn about sustainable and meaningful travel while at home. Doing so will ensure that you have the right mindset before you take off on your next adventure.

The nonprofit travel organization, Impact Travel Alliance offers a series of virtual events that introduce travelers to a sustainable mindset. These are educational, offering facts and perspective from travel industry members from around the world. All events are free, but donations directly support their travel partners.

If you are ready to start planning your vacation, with sustainability in mind, of course, The Village Experience is offering $100 off any 2021 trip listed on their website. Make sure to mention this post when you book!

~By Jordan Dunn, Marketing and Communications Intern at Go Eat Give. Jordan is a Public Relations and Communications Marketing Major at Siena College in Upstate NY. She has a passion for writing, traveling, and advocacy. Follow her on Facebook and Blog about her personal travels.

Virtual Tours Across the 7 Continents

Popular destinations across the globe are virtually capturing their highlights, so that people can still travel, even if it’s from the comfort of their own home. Follow us on an adventure across the seven continents, as we journey through some of the must-see places around the world.

Let’s take a (virtual) trip around the world!

North America

Alaska, the Last Frontier. Virtual tours in North America.
Tagish Lake, Alaska

Start at the edge of the globe by taking in the breathtaking sights of America’s infamous Last Frontier, with a virtual vacation by Travel Alaska. Watch the brown bears at Katmai National Park and Preserve, or follow alongside a professional guide as he explores the glaciers at Kenai Fjords National Park.

Continue south and take a journey through the National Parks of the American West. Explore your way through the diverse landscape of Yosemite, the unique water features of Yellowstone, and the great expanse of carved rocksides of the Grand Canyon.

South America

Amazon Rainforest

In South America, begin in Peru with a tour of Machu Picchu. Soak in the ancient culture of the long-ago Incas, and marvel the site’s ability to withstand the test of time. Then, take in the astonishing grandeur of the Amazon Rainforest in Brazil. Finally, finish your South American tour, with an immersive venture into the wilderness of Patagonia, the famous mountain range shared by bordering Argentina and Chile.

If you have little ones, read with them children’s picture book on travel – Beato Goes To Brazil.

Europe

Cliffs of Moher, Ireland. Virtual Tours around the world, Europe.
Cliffs of Moher, Ireland

Start your European journey on the coast of Ireland, and have your breath taken away by the vertical plunge to the sea that sits just past the ridge of the Cliffs of Moher.

Next, travel to the popular city of London, England, and take in the city sights from the top of the London Eye. Or, immerse your self in the history, culture, and heritage that is encompassed by the virtual tour of Buckingham Palace.

Learn about the history of the famous architectural feat, the Colosseum in Rome, Italy. Virtual traveling does not require a lot of stamina, so you can continue on with a virtual walking tour of the entire city of Rome.

Africa

Learn all about the geography, the people, and of course, the animals of this vast continent, with a short informational video from PBS.

Continue on your journey and view Victoria Falls, one of the biggest waterfalls in Africa, from an aerial perspective. Finally, take a virtual Safari compliments of Asilia Africa. You will quickly fall in love with the native elephants, hyenas, lions, and so many other wild animals.

Asia

Asia is a vast continent and it can be intimidating to pick where to start. The good thing about virtual visits is you can explore all the places you want to from your home and for free! That ways you can pick and choose where you want to go in the future.

Take a walk along one of the wonders of the world – the Great Wall of China. This amazing structure boasts a history of over 2,000 years and is over 3,000 miles long!

In Indonesia, walk through temples, rice fields, or even the famous sacred Monkey Forest Sanctuary.

Continue on westward and travel to Vietnam to experience the world’s largest cave – Hang Son Doong, located at Nha- Ke Bang National Park. 

Antarctica

Watch penguin colonies up close in Antarctica

Finish your virtual tour around the world on a different edge of the globe – in Antarctica, also known as the 7th continent. To see this snowy landscape, Shackleton 100 has a great interactive map of the whole continent. Additionally, Quark Expeditions has created an online guide for viewers to get to know the animals that inhabit the land. These include but are not limited to Gentoo penguins!

Read about our adventure to Antarctica

Continue the Adventure

If you are looking for more opportunities to see the world from your own home there are numerous avenues to do so. Google, for example, has partnered with entities around the world to create vast galleries of Art and Culture, as well as a unique platform for Heritage Sites that are threatened by climate change. Or if you’re just looking for a day trip, National Geographic has created a gallery of 24 sites, one new place for one new hour of the day.

For even more, check out How to Satisfy Your Wanderlust at Home, here.

~By virtual Marketing and Communications Intern, Jordan Dunn. Jordan is a Public Relations and Communications Marketing Major at Siena College in Upstate NY. She has a passion for writing, traveling, and advocacy.

Going Beyond the Beans: Socially Responsible Coffee

This idea of social responsibility is an important one, but its best practices can be sometimes hard to navigate. To help, I have applied the idea to my favorite beverage – coffee. Below are 5 easy ways to start socially responsible coffee habits today.

Steps towards Socially Responsible Coffee

Group of Coffee Cups. Join the Socially Responsible Coffee Community
Join the Socially Responsible Coffee Community

Learn: What is Socially Responsible Coffee?

Socially responsible coffee is coffee that is either made, sold, or enjoyed with the greater good in mind. The goal is that the product in some way helps improve the social, economic, or environmental aspects of our world in some way. 

Take the brand Cafe Justica for example. I came across this brand on my own journey towards socially responsible coffee habits. This coffee brand is produced by a Guatemalan Cooperative. This cooperative is a group that small farmers can join, and sell their coffee under. Its establishment helps small farmers survive in the time of big-time coffee plantations. With such a great mission of helping others and an amazing product, they prove that responsibility can also be delicious!

Check out other socially responsible brands here.

Be: Brand Conscious

Some coffee brands go a bit further than others when it comes to being socially responsible. Some are organic, others label themselves as fairtrade while some do both. 

If you’re not sure what to look for, make sure the label on your coffee has these keywords: Fairtrade, Organic, Non-GMO.

Fairtrade, NonGMO Project and USDA Organic Symbols. All used on socially responsible products.
Responsible coffee symbols to look for

Use: Less waste

Whether you enjoy your coffee at home or on the go, there are many ways to reduce waste and still enjoy a great cup of coffee. If you make your coffee at home, try purchasing coffee pods that are not one-time-use plastic. Brands like Cuisinart now make reusable coffee filters and Keruig coffee makers can also be used with a reusable coffee pod.

Reusable Coffee Pod from Keurig, a socially responsible solution.
Reusable coffee pods cut down on waste

If you are drinking coffee on the go, try bringing along a reusable mug to your coffee shop. This will cut down on waste, and some stores will even give you a discount for bringing your own refillable cup.

Local coffee shop in Guatemala

Shop: Local

Local coffee shops are more likely to source sustainable coffee than big name brands. Plus, shopping locally also supports the community and the businesses around you.

You may think that neighborhood coffee stores only offer super-rich old fashioned coffee, but you can get mocha-cocoa-chia-chip-venti-latte, or whatever you may order from your favorite big-name coffee chain locally too. 

Visit a coffee farm in Central America

Go: Beyond the Beans

If you want to take your coffee consumption one step further, go see the coffee-making process for yourself. When you travel to destinations such as  Costa Rica, El Salvador, and Guatemala, you can take a coffee tour to enrich your local cultural experience. Seeing the process firsthand will help you gain a deeper understanding of coffee is grown, harvested, roasted, and packaged. For such a tiny little bean, the process of coffee making is actually really intensive! 

Socially Responsible Coffee Farm
Socially responsible coffee farm in Guatemala

It’s All About Balance

I can personally admit that the journey towards socially responsible habits is one that maybe a slow start, but that’s okay. The most important thing to remember is that even if you start small, you can still be a part of the bigger impact.

I myself started my socially responsible coffee journey just by picking up a reusable mug. Did I remember it without fail every time I went to the coffee shop? No way. However the longer I used it, the more it became a part of my routine.

Reusable coffee mug from Trouvaille

So even if you just pick one of these easy ways to start off your own journey, you are still making a difference!

~By Jordan Dunn, Marketing and Communications Intern at Go Eat Give. Jordan is a Public Relations and Communications Marketing Major at Siena College in Upstate NY. She has a passion for writing, traveling, and advocacy.