Sable Liggera '17
Assistant News Editor
Smith College’s student-run online journal Global Impressions has just released its spring issue, titled “Up Close / From Far Away.” The journal showcases short, non-fiction , reflective pieces by Smith students and alumnae exploring “intercultural and interlinguistic encounters, experiences, misunderstandings and epiphanies made abroad and at home,” according to the website for the publication. By providing students and alumnae a public forum to discuss experiences they have had while traveling or studying abroad, the journal aims to provide a platform for students interested in writing to have their work published.
“Up Close/ From Far Away” is the first of three issues to be published this academic year. Showcasing photos submitted to the Lewis Global Center’s annual International Photo Contest, this issue shares the stories and experiences surrounding each photograph, adding more depth to the photographs.
One photo included in the publication was taken by Jacqueline Morse ’15 on Mount Hua in China, which exhibits a fence covered in locks bordering the very edge of Mount Hua’s 2,160-meter drop. While the photo itself provokes a whimsically romantic feel, the story behind it adds a new depth. With frank and rather blunt humor, the author’s descriptions of her group’s troubles of finding sleeping arrangements and finding a bathroom atop the tourist crowded mountain gave the picture a context which made it that much more relatable.
The issue covers a wide range of destinations, from Botswana to Greece to Buenos Aires. Each piece offers a glimpse of the realities of life behind the spectacular images we often use to visualize places abroad. In doing so, the issue deconstructs expectations one might have when traveling abroad by conveying the experiences students had when actually visiting. While the essays range in tone from tongue-in-cheek to somber, all convey the sense of reflection and realization felt by those beginning to understand what life is like in a different country and culture for the first time. Even though some essays seem almost mundane in the normality of the life they depict, this sense of wonder and adventure permeated through them all.
Global Impressions is accepting submissions for its next issue until April 3. The last issue was specifically themed to display the work of the International Photo Contest contestants, but the next issue’s theme is titled “Activism.” When discussing the theme, the editorial board specified the reasoning behind choosing “Activism,” describing their belief that Smith College has, since its establishment, been known for social activism and that this reputation lives on in the work and lives of the institution’s current student body.
The editorial board wanted to provide a way for Smith students and alumnae to vocalize their own accomplishments or involvement in tackling social issues in a cross-cultural context. It was specified that this is not intended to be interpreted as limited to American students traveling abroad but also to international students whose social activism took place in the United States.