This Week @ UCSD
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Several undergraduates studying abroad this summer agreed to act as foreign correspondents for This Week@UCSD, filing dispatches from the field every two weeks or so. In this last installment, Young Chun and Michelle Di Fiore are saying their goodbyes in Osaka, Japan, and Melbourne, Australia. April Deibert vows to come back to Adelaide, Australia, in coming years. Here are their stories.

April Deibert
Strange Happenings and Some Well-Deserved R&R

Adelaide, Australia, Sept. 10 -- Since my last update, a lot has happened. Just as I was down about leaving my beautiful home in South Australia, I learned that I would be heading to another country for an internship at a U.S. Embassy from January to April 2008. The U.S. Department of State is sending me to the ex-Soviet bloc in Central Asia. Interestingly enough, as I fell asleep the night before, I was watching an episode of "MacGyver" set “Somewhere in Central Asia… present day.” So when I woke up to a phone call from the Central Asian Affairs Bureau, I thought I was certainly dreaming.

And so, as I’ve come to realize, reality is always stranger than fiction—randomness comes when you least expect it.

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April Deibert worked for Senator Natasha Stott Despoja in Adelaide. Deibert also studied international relations as an exchange student at the University of South Australia.




Young Chun
A Sacred Mountain, a Port City and Saying Goodbye

Osaka, Japan, Sept. 10 -- UCSD’s Pacific Rim Undergraduate Experiences research program has now come to an end. We each gave a final 30-minute research presentation in front of Japanese professors and graduate students. Then my fellow PRIME students and I said our last goodbyes to the mentors and students at Osaka’s Cyber Media Center. During the last days of our stay in Japan, we did some more traveling and visited the neighboring port city of Kobe and beautiful Mount Koya. We then headed to Tokyo for a six-day visit before finally coming back home.

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Young Chun studied at the Cyber Media Center at Osaka University in Japan, home to the world's largest electron microscope.The bioengineering major also was a student in UCSD's Pacific Rim Undergraduate Experiences program. Her team worked to create precise 3-D models of muscle cells, known as myocytes.
Michelle Di Fiore
Goodbye from the Field

Melbourne, Australia, Sept. 10 -- Melbourne has grown on me, and now that I have found my place here, it is time to pull out the roots that have grown under my feet. Over the past nine weeks I have seen amazing sights, met unique people and created memories that I hope will last me a lifetime. Now, the PRIME program at Monash University has come to an end and it is time to pack up all my belongings and say goodbye -- however you are supposed to do that.

Knowing that I am going to be in the United States in a few days brings about mixed emotions. I am ready to see my family, eat home-cooked meals, go to the beach to feel the sand between my toes and feel the hot summer sun on my skin.

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This summer, Michelle Di Fiore took an 18-hour flight across the Pacific Ocean to Melbourne, Australia, with four other UCSD students. Her research at Monash University involved three computer programs, which calculate the properties of organic molecules and proteins used in drugs. Di Fiore plans to become a doctor.
Ryan Ferrell
Exploring the Great Wall

Aug. 6 -- Since the last time I wrote, I've settled into my neighborhood and explored more of China. Last summer, I neglected to visit the Great Wall with UCSD’s Education Abroad Program. I have since been scolded for my neglectful traveling, which ran in complete opposition to this country's popular saying: "bu dao chang cheng, fei hao han:" “if one has not been to the Great Wall, one is not a true man.”

So, I took my first step into manhood just a few weeks ago – on a section of the Great Wall known as Shanhaiguan's First Pass Under Heaven.

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Ryan Ferrell filed his first piece from a seedy Internet café in rural China. The UCSD junior was doing research at the Chinese Academy of Sciences in the nation's capital. He was taking part in UCSD's Pacific Rim Undergraduate Experiences program, launched in 2004 with support by the National Science Foundation.
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