Archive for January, 2005

Winter Sports Update

Monday, January 31st, 2005 | Mary Bruce, Justin Davidson and Harry Kang
Margaret Bauer

Women’s Basketball:

LAST GAMES: Wash U 70, Brandeis 40; Wash U 55, NYU 63

TEAM NOTES: Senior guard Kelly Manning scored 18 points and grabbed nine rebounds to upset the seventh-ranked Brandeis squad on the road. All of Manning’s points came from beyond the arc as she nailed six treys in the contest. At NYU, however, the Bears lost a tough game that featured 13 lead changes. In the battle for the University Athletic Association (UAA) crown, NYU put on a late run to upend the Bears’ chances at the title. Junior Danielle Beehler paced the Bears with 14 points.

DID YOU KNOW: Before the NYU game, the Bears, NYU and the University of Chicago were tied for first place in UAA.

NEXT GAME: Wash U hosts New York University, Fri., Feb. 4 @ 6 p.m.


Swimming & Diving:

LAST MEET: The women’s squad finished in first place (of seven teams) at WU Invitational at Millstone Pool, and the men’s squad finished third.

TEAM NOTES: The Bears are currently enjoying a three-week layoff as they regroup and prepare for the University Athletic Association (UAA) Championships on Feb. 10-12. The Bears are coming off a solid showing at the WU Invitational at Millstone Pool, in which the men’s squad finished third and the women’s squad finished first.

NEXT MEET: UAA Championships on Feb. 10-12 in Chicago, Ill.

Men’s Basketball:

LAST GAMES: Wash U 93, Brandeis 62; Wash U 88, NYU 68

TEAM NOTES: Against NYU, senior Anthony Hollins put up 14 points and eight rebounds in 28 minutes of play. Junior guard Scott Stone went nine out of 10 from the free throw line as he chipped in 12 points. The Bears went on a 17-0 run in the first half to blow the game wide open. Against Brandeis, Hollins led the way with 21 points and senior guard Rob Keller contributed 19.

DID YOU KNOW: Wash U is looking for its 1,001st win in its next game against Brandeis.

NEXT GAME: Wash U hosts New York University, Fri., Feb. 4 @ 8 p.m.


Nine new members to be added to University’s Sports Hall of Fame

Monday, January 31st, 2005 | Mary Bruce

Washington University Athletics and the W Club, the University’s athletic support organization, have announced the 2004 inductions into the University’s Sports Hall of Fame. The 11th class to be inducted highlights the hard work and dedication of seven student athletes, one coach, and one administrator. The student athletes include: Charlie Borsheim (basketball), Amy Fisher (basketball), Stan Gardner (football), Nancy Pearce Jeffett (tennis), Mitch Margo (baseball), Anne Kruer (volleyball) and Chris Scaglione (soccer). Former coach for the men’s soccer team, Joe Carenza Jr., and former administrative assistant Josephine Simpson will also be recognized.

To be eligible for induction, student athletes must have graduated from the University at least five years ago and must have competed for a varsity sport. Administrators and coaches must have been involved in University athletes at least ten years ago to be considered for Hall of Fame status.

The nine new Hall of Famers will be recognized at a ceremony on Fri., Feb. 18 and will be announced later that day at halftime of the women’s basketball game against Carnegie Mellon University.

Lady Bears split weekend series; upend Brandeis 70-40, fall to NYU 63-55

Monday, January 31st, 2005 | Justin Davidson
Margaret Bauer

The 11th ranked Washington University women’s basketball team took its five-game winning streak to Waltham, Mass., on Friday night to take on seventh-ranked Brandeis University (14-2). With the 70-40 victory over Brandeis, the Bears moved up in the University Athletic Association (UAA) standings, earning a tie for first place along with University of Chicago and New York University.

After starting the game off strong with a 21-5 lead, there was no turning back for the Lady Bears. At the half, the Bears led 32-17. The game was defined by clutch offensive scoring from seniors Kelly Manning and Hallie Hutchens. It was a career night for Manning as she knocked down six three-pointers in the game, a career best. Manning also contributed nine rebounds, three blocks, and a steal to the Bear effort. Hutchens also came through in the clutch as she scored 17 points in the victory.

It was an uplifting win against Brandeis, but before the Bears could celebrate too much, they had to travel to New York to face the 10th ranked NYU Violets (16-2) on Sunday. It was an important game for both teams since the winner would take sole possession of first place in the UAA standings.

In a game that featured 13 lead changes, it was NYU that put together the final big run to earn the win 63-55. The Bears were forced to field an eight-woman team, leaving only three bench players to come into the game when necessary.

Despite this disadvantage, the team held a 43-42 advantage with 11:32 remaining in the game but was unable to score for the next eight minutes, giving the Violets an 11-point edge. The Bears couldn’t hold them off and NYU left with the win. Junior Danielle Beehler led the Bears in three categories, including points (14), rebounds (7) and assists (3).

The Bears (15-3, 5-2 UAA) will have the chance for vengeance as they return to the court on Friday, Feb. 4, to take on NYU once again. Game time is set for 6 p.m. in the WU Fieldhouse.

My hometown

Monday, January 31st, 2005 | Sarah Ulrey
Margaret Bauer

Name: AJ Dunklau
Age: 21
Major: Finance and Marketing
Hometown: Arlington
State: Nebraska
Population: 1,000

What is wrong with the name Andrew James?

My parents thought it would be nice for me to be an AJ because I had a relative that went by AJ When I was younger I thought it was cool and different.

Were you the only AJ in your town of 1,000 people?

I’m probably the only person in town that goes by their initials.

How many people in town do you know?

I would recognize the name or face of most of them. In a rural farming community there are a handful of last names that cover most of the town, Dunklau being one of them.

How many Dunklaus live around town?

I don’t know if I could say, there are lot of great aunts and great uncles.

I hear that you live on a pig farm. What’s the life of a pig farmer?

Farming is a lot of hard work but it’s not too bad as long as things go the way they are supposed to and don’t break.

Any horror stories of things gone wrong? Massive pig escapes, maybe?

Pigs get out every once in awhile. But they usually don’t go too far away because they want to stay close to the food.

What kind of chores did you have to do?

In the winter we aren’t dealing with the crops so it is just getting up, feeding the pigs and making sure everything is working: that the automatic drinkers are working and that the pigs are alive.

Do they die frequently?

If a pig dies they get rid of him pretty quick.

As in…they eat him?

Yep. So you want to find them quick.

When you were younger did you ever think you would own the farm someday?

My younger brother is going to college around there so he plans on taking over the farm.

How long has it been in your family?

We’ve been on the homestead about 90 years.

Is Arlington big enough for stoplights? Any businesses?

No stoplights. No businesses. Well, Dairy King.


Not the brand name but Dairy King! It is open probably five months a year. We have two gas stations, because we are on a highway, and a locally owned supermarket.

What are the big events?

The big event in town every year is the county fair and the tractor pull. That’s the time when you see most of the people in the town.

What all goes on at the county fair?

Well, there is the pig showing. I was actually the Round Robin Champion in Showmanship: the all-around of all the different animals.

What other animals did you show?

We just raise hogs, so I showed swine. I won the Hog Showmanship Competition. Then I was entered into the overall competition against the people who were showing lambs and the horses and the dairy cows and the beef cows. We each had to show all the other animals, and I won it my senior year and shocked all the country folks.

But you’re not a country folk?

Well, I wasn’t as involved in it as a lot of people. I was more into sports and academics. I beat out my brother which was a shocker to him at least.


Thanks. [laughter] I got a nice belt buckle that hasn’t seen the light of day. It’s pretty sweet. It’s got ‘champion’ written across it in big letters.

Have you seen the movie Carrie?

No, but I’ve seen Snatch though: “Beware of people who own pigs.”

Is that true?

No. I think pig farmers are well respected in the community. I wouldn’t mess with the pigs though.

Are they dangerous?

They are super inquisitive. They’ll go up and chew on anything they find. When they talk in Snatch about the pigs eating the bodies: that would probably happen. You are fine walking around in there. I wouldn’t lie down!

Stepping Out: El Maguey

Monday, January 31st, 2005 | Seth Dubner and Matt Reed
Seth Dubner and Matt Reed

Titillation Score: Titillating

From the moment you step out of the car, it smells like Mexico. The arousing aromas of supple roasting meats and succulent grilled vegetables intoxicate the air with the welcoming smell of Mexican seasoning. This is El Maguey.

You know a restaurant is good when the line of fanny-pack clad Midwesterners is protruding out the front door on a Tuesday evening. The slew of cars surrounding the restaurant immediately diverts your attention away from the barren parking lots which otherwise line the roadside in the area. We almost turned around to ask for directions as we passed by both Ted Drewes and the Catholic Supply Center of St. Louis, but El Maguey seemed to beckon to us with the glow of every Mexican beer sign in existence.

El Maguey is not the kind of restaurant that messes around. Everyone that works there has a mustache. There are no vibrating coasters or even a hostess to call you when your table is ready. You sit down to eat in the order that you show up at the door. They get you in and out of the restaurant faster than the Mexican border control. There are no fancy decorations besides Corona and Dos Equis advertisements. El Maguey merely offers traditional Mexican cuisine at a very reasonable price.

El Maguey is Spanish for agave, which is a plant that happens to be the main ingredient in a staple of the Mexican diet, Tequila. True to form, El Maguey offers a variety of margaritas to choose from. While you may only have three choices of flavors (lime, strawberry and pi¤a colada), your choice of size will undoubtedly determine the rest of your night. The sizes are 12 oz., 27 oz., and the mother of all margaritas, the 46 oz. variety. If you have the cojones to tackle the beast that is the 46 oz. margarita, your pants are surely coming off later that night, one way or another. If you want to drink a fair amount without spending as much, you and your amigos can share a small or large pitcher of margaritas. Though simple, El Maguey knows how to make a great margarita.

Like the interior d‚cor and the margaritas, El Maguey’s food is unsophisticated culinary prowess. Each meal begins with a basket of thick chips which never break in the bowl of El Maguey’s famous spicy, homemade salsa. El Maguey veterans will usually accompany this appetizer with a bowl of their famous cheese dip. The cheese dip and salsa combo creates a flavor fiesta in your mouth. When your chip count is getting low and you’re about to go all in, the waiter replenishes your table with a new basket of chips faster than you can say Tenochtitl n.

There are dozens of combination plates to choose from and also a number of entr‚e specials on the menu, including burritos, fajitas and steaks. The fajitas come in a variety of ways and are served for one or for two people to share. We chose to taste the fajita, “El Maguey” which included chicken, steak, chorizo and shrimp, as well as grilled peppers and onions with a side dish of all the standard fajita fixin’s. We ordered the plate for two, and when our waiter brought it to the table, we thought that one of the steaming hot platters could have easily filled us both. This was not the case. A second platter was soon to follow, and they were both as hot as a midsummer’s day in Guadalajara. The fajitas were so good that even after we had eaten enough to be full we still yearned for m s tortillas.

The food was overwhelmingly filling and, in true Mexican fashion, we felt the need to tip down our sombreros and take a peaceful nap after the satisfaction of a great Mexican meal. If El Maguey were a matador, we would have surely been the bull.

Imagine yourself sitting in Puerto Vallarta, sipping on a cold Mexican beer after Victor brings you a complimentary shot of tequila and has been calling you and your friends, amigos, all afternoon. While everyone is an amigo at El Maguey, you’re actually sitting across the street from Jesus’ Walmart, undoubtedly in the heart of Middle America. If all the Mexican restaurants in St. Louis were put into a pi¤ata, El Maguey would be the best prize that fell to the ground.

El Maguey (314-832-3632) is located at 7014 Chippewa St.

Notes from Madrid

Monday, January 31st, 2005 | Stacie Driebusch

I traveled to London to study abroad this semester, but it took a weekend in Spain to finally realize how far I have come. My trip to Madrid was my first outside of London, where I’m living in a flat, studying business and taking tours with an adorable lady named Angie, who I’m convinced knows everything about the city. Just when I had finally mastered the London tube, I jetted to the continent with four friends to bask in the sun and eat tapas.

My grandiose vision of a Spanish holiday was fleeting. As soon as we stepped off the Metro in Plaza del Sol, one of my friends discovered that his wallet was stolen out of his front pocket. After consoling him about his loss of 150 euros and credit cards, I was relieved to finally crash in the hotel.

Instead, my bubble, already punctured by my friend’s missing wallet, proceeded to dissolve around me. My nylon purse, which held all my valuables, was slashed across one side. Dumping its contents onto the bed, I scrambled to take inventory. Wallet, check. Passport, check. Camera, check. Nothing was gone. I was lucky, very lucky.

My luck, however, was not consoling. One wallet gone and another lucky to be around. We were targeted because we were tourists, specifically American tourists. And American tourists are, of course, spoiled and na‹ve.

I definitely was the spoiled American my first few weeks in London. But what I complained about in London (the horrible weather, the worthless washing machines, the bad pub food, the high prices) is meaningless when compared to the greatest thing I take for granted, my safety. I had an incredible time in Madrid eating lunch in the Plaza Mayor, walking through the Prado, and dancing at Kapital, one of Madrid’s hottest clubs, but I never felt completely safe. With my hand always clutching my purse, my eyes scanning the crowd for possible pickpockets, I could not attain the carefree Spanish way of life.

Many students study abroad to become more fluent in a language. I took the easy route. I went to London, a place where I believed I would more easily acclimate due to a common language. This, however, was hardly the high road. I might have been more of an outsider in Spain, but that does not mean that I am a Londoner. I was helped with my luggage by a 10-year-old in Heathrow airport, and I’ve had people on the streets yell to prevent a speeding car from flattening me. I still pull out my London street map and receive dirty looks from people when I walk down the right side of the sidewalk.

Though I now live here, I am a tourist in London, too. I might say ‘toilet’ instead of bathroom, but I say it in a Chicago accent. I am branded with my scarlet A, and it stands for American, for better or for worse.

Not that this is a bad thing. I may be a na‹ve American, but I’m becoming less so every day. I can’t prevent the inevitable shock and embarrassment that occurs when something unpredictable happens. But whether amusing or nearly devastating, these moments erode the innocent perceptions that I had of the people, places and most importantly, myself.

Arbiter Elegantiarum

Monday, January 31st, 2005 | Cory Schneider

During this past finals week, which is when it usually happens anyway, my computer decided to break. Not in the “breathe and reboot” sense, but in the totally, completely, inexplicably gone retarded way that is only meant for people on Satan’s special list (confirmation, at last!). This malfunction warranted the always disturbing journey to the Apple store, where you’re not only made to feel inadequate by overgrown high school dweebs in sleek black clothing toiling in an atmosphere that tries in vain to simulate a late-night lounge in South Beach, but also told that your over-priced computer is a prettily-packaged p.o.s.. A week later my computer was returned to me, cleaned of my hard drive and free of any sign that I had used it the past two-and-a-half years.

In the Apple store, when “Joe” told me that a “hard drive wipe” was a slight, but distinct possibility, I laughed it off. How bad could it be, I wondered. What are the chances, I scoffed. God, I really am stupid. I grieved and I mourned. Gone were the 1200-something songs I had legally acquired through means I won’t divulge (I’ll see you soon Abba and Sinead!), the emails I had saved and intended to get to, the Madonna music videos I had downloaded and secretly danced to at night. What smarted the most, though, was the loss of the away messages I had amassed in my time with my iBook. I had always prided myself in my away messages, thinking, perhaps too loftily, that I was something of an Auto Response Artiste. I collected random quotes, amusing aphorisms, witty one-liners, and put them on display for the world to see.

And yet, so many of you, my adoring public, were not privy to the fruits of my labor. So here, in memoriam, are a few of the best, the brightest, the deceased (a.k.a. what I could salvage from the annals of my mind). You might also note how fun it is to take quotes out of context. R.I.P. darlings!

“Are Smurfs supposed to be anti-Semitic?” – A friend

“I love your sweatshirt. Did you get it at a place or a thrift shop?” – One fool to another in Wohl

“This is a low class store. Compared to where you’re from, this place is like the country. These people don’t know Dior, they don’t know Blahnik.” – Matthew, my favorite shoe salesman at Neiman Marcus

“Trust your dreams…that’s how I ended up with my Gucci sunglasses.” – Me

“Something in my room smells like cheese…do you think it’s my cancer? It kind of smells like aged Roquefort, so to counter the smell, I am dancing around my room to Britney spraying that damn pear spray everywhere.” – Me

“Honey, you know I love you more than my luggage. And you know my luggage is Louis Vuitton.” – Let’s be honest, I wish it was me.

Confucii (kun-few-shy) n. 1. Dutch devils living under my bed with operatives stationed in Communist China and Bellefontaine, Ohio – Courtesy of the Abnormal Psychology Language Game

And, for your reading pleasure (a month too late), my favorite New Year’s Resolutions:

1. I will stop putting more effort into my away messages than I do my school papers. That is bad, very bad.

2. I will find a deeper spirituality. I will start with Lambuel. (Note: For the uninitiated, Lambuel is the lead of a cast of characters who promote Jesus in all his love!)

3. I will be one of MTV’s Rich Girls.

4. I will use the term “f.o.b.” more frequently.

5. I will incorporate Hate Scrabble into my life as often as possible.

6. I will start my papers before the morning of the day that they are due. I will work for my grades!

7. I will stop using Shift + F7 and I will learn the word.

8. I will stop insisting that the “reality” portrayed in Sex and the City is plausible and I will set my sights a little lower.

Mini Moto

Monday, January 31st, 2005 | Sarah Klein
George Lai

Remember PowerWheels by Fisher Price? Those cars you could actually sit in at age three and drive? Now an adult version exists, a motorcycle that fulfills those childhood dreams of great speed at the same diminutive size.

Pocket bikes, as they are generally called, are part of a fairly new trend that has already overtaken California and has reached Wash U via seniors Brian Berman and Alan Pruce. The bikes look like real motorcycles and can go as fast as 40 miles per hour, but are only 21 inches tall. They weigh around 40 pounds, yet they can hold up to 250 pounds.

“It takes a secure man to ride a motorbike that’s only three inches off the ground,” said Pruce.

The original pocket bikes were created and ridden in Japan. The sport spread to Europe, where the Italians developed the bikes into high caliber racing mini motorcycles. These bikes were not available to the public sector because of their high price: up to $4000. Now, there are cheaper knockoffs available from Chinese and other manufacturers, which only cost about $300.

Pruce and Berman, who would like to be referred to as, “The Shmog Gang,” bought their pocket bikes off eBay. The bikes are not really for transportation-they are not even street legal. As Berman said so eloquently, the bikes are just “something fun to screw around with.”

The allure of the pocket bike is that it has the biggest engine available without needing a license plate or other tags. Plus, they are just cool.

And so are the riders.

“The guys who ride motorcycles are the ones you want to date; guys who ride [pocket bikes] are the ones you want to take home,” said Berman.

The bikes are not only for “secure men,” they are also quite popular with the younger sect, since one doesn’t need a drivers’ license. Berman said the bikes are popular among 14- and 15-year-olds, especially in the beach areas.

“You don’t have to be a badass [to ride a pocket bike],” says Pruce.

Pocket bikes are not meant for rough terrain. Even pavement can be a little dangerous. Berman warned that since the tiny bikes are fast, little potholes could send a rider flying. The bikes also have to be handled like motorcycles, tilting on turns, which can be a little perilous since the rider is so close to the ground in the first place.

Kung fu fighting

Monday, January 31st, 2005 | Kristin McGrath
George Lai

Inner harmony, physical health and mental well-being are three things that many Wash U students have learned to live without. But for members of the Kung Fu Club, peace of mind really kicks ass.

“Basically, [Kung Fu] is using relaxed energy in the most efficient way to simultaneously attack and defend yourself,” explained senior David Weingeist, the club’s founder. “That’s the main difference between Kung Fu and some of the other martial arts.”

The tranquility involved in Kung Fu becomes obvious when watching the group practice. The only sounds to be heard are the thuds from the nearby racquetball courts while the club members go through the fluid yet intense motions of the Siu Nim Tau form of Ving Tsun Kung Fu. Some even some keep their eyes closed.

“[Closing your eyes] increases sensitivity,” said freshman Cordula Simon. “You can feel what’s coming next. One of our main principles is relaxation, and being relaxed is what builds sensitivity.”

Although diminutive and soft-spoken, Simon isn’t a girl you would want to mess with. She’s dabbled in various forms of martial arts.

“I was always intrigued by Kung Fu,” said Simon. “It’s different than some of the more flashy stuff, and it really is the most efficient way to defend yourself. But the more I learn, it seems, the more I have left to learn.”

Learning to relax is of utmost importance in Kung Fu. Neglecting to do so can have painful consequences. Case in point: freshman Mark Sorensen’s arm, which sports a large bruise.

“These guys tell you to relax all the time, and sometimes I tend not to do that,” said Sorensen. “When you’re blocking punches with your forearm, that’s bone on bone. Being more relaxed can help to prevent [injury].”

Along with relaxation, Kung Fu emphasizes two other principles-efficiency and centerline. That is, the most efficient way to bring down an attacker and defend yourself is to focus on an imaginary line down the center of the body.

Freshman Lawrence Wiseman demonstrated how these principles could be used to block punches. Using just two basic moves, he effortlessly deflected the punches (albeit weak ones) thrown at him by a certain newcomer. His skills are impressive but not deliberately so, in keeping with the modest environment the club hopes to create.

“I honestly love the dynamic here,” said Wiseman. “People are friendly, and the focus is just on learning the art. It’s not about being flashy or seeing who can be the most macho. In fact, [the club is] mostly girls.”

For one of the club’s female members, sophomore Jessica Pryde, Kung Fu has become an “obsession,” and one that has gotten her a little respect from her peers.

“When I tell people that I do [Kung Fu], they immediately say, ‘Oh, I better not get on your bad side,'” Pryde said.

Freshman Adria Blount has also benefited from her involvement with the Kung Fu club.

“I started out confident in my ability, because I’d taken Karate,” said Blount. “But now I can see how much I’ve progressed in my ability since coming here.”

But although you might learn to do some damage to an attacker, don’t expect Karate Club workouts to be like a Bruce Lee film.

“What you see in the movies is more appealing to the eye with a lot of flashy kicks,” said Weingeist. “What we do here is more efficient. It doesn’t look as flashy, but it’s just as powerful. People come in expecting that they’re going to be all over the place, but it’s really a lot more simplistic than that.”

One of the greatest benefits of Kung Fu lies in its power to take down egos as well as human attackers, said Weingeist.

“When people come here wanting to learn to beat people up, I’d say that’s a good attitude to come in with,” said Weingeist. “Because as they learn Kung Fu, they’ll lose that ego pretty quickly and then gain more confidence in themselves.”

Study abroad in Georgia

Monday, January 31st, 2005 | Rachel Cohen
George Lai

Many students looking to study abroad these days are nervous about how they will be perceived and treated as Americans. However, there are still countries that welcome Americans with open arms. One such nation is the Republic of Georgia.

“On one of my first few days, I went to a bar to try out Georgian beer,” said Diego Chojkier, a senior who participated in the Wash U study abroad program in Georgia last summer. “When we tried to pay our tab, there was this big argument, them in Georgian, us in English. We were pretty scared, and at the least, thought we were going to get ripped off.”

Fearing the worst, Chojkier and his friends quickly found themselves pleasantly surprised with Georgian hospitality.

“As they got out of their huddle, we realized that they were trying to piece together the few English syllables they knew to form ‘present,'” Chojkier said. “They realized we were Americans, and wanted to give us the beer for free. Similar stories happened with free cab rides, meals at restaurants, etc.”

Wash U students, however, do not travel to Georgia merely for the hospitality. They go to study Georgia-a country that is a natural experiment in the evolution of government in a rapidly changing society.

Georgia, a former Soviet republic (not to be confused with the Peach State) is located north of Turkey between the Black and Caspian Seas. Since the fall of the USSR, Georgia has made steady progress towards the creation of a fair and democratic government.

While Georgia has had its share of problems since it gained independence in 1991, its peaceful transition to democracy through the Rose Revolution of 2003 serves as a model to the world.

“Studying about far off countries and abstract theories while sitting cozily at a desk in St. Louis is one thing; experiencing that far off country and seeing that abstract theory in operation is something completely else,” Chojkier explained.

Professor James Wertsch, of the International and Area Studies program, leads the study abroad trip entitled Emerging Democracy and Civil Society. Wertsch took his first Wash U students to Georgia last summer. This year, Wertsch plans to return to Georgia with 15 American students drawn from Wash U and other schools around the country, as well as a group of Georgian students. This program is open to any interested student, particularly ones with interests in political science, history, international studies and anthropology.

The Georgia program is unlike other study abroad opportunities in that it focuses on politics and society, rather than language and culture. Students take a seminar class for credit with Wertsch and other Wash U professors, in which they discuss the challenges inherent in building a democracy. They also participate in internships with various government and non-government organizations in Tbilisi, Georgia’s capital city.

Last year one student worked with the Georgian National Security Council, while others helped create their own Non-Governmental Organization (NGO) that is sponsoring a camp to teach English to national minority children in Georgia this summer.

Through this combination of classroom and real-world experience, American students try to untangle the problems facing democracy in Georgia, and figure out what about the country has allowed it to achieve such success.

As Georgia continues to build a democracy, it is attempting to strengthen its ties to Europe and the United States, though it continues to have some problems with its neighbor and former ruler, Russia.

As Chojkier’s experience showed, and as Wertsch explained, Georgia is “one of the few places where you can go in the world today and be popular just because you are American.”

The United States currently has train and equip troops stationed in Georgia to help the Georgian army develop as a viable institution and protect the oil pipeline. In a show of mutual respect and alliance, Georgia recently increased its troop commitment in Iraq, continuing to aid the U.S.-led coalition despite the international controversy over the war.

However, the changing situation in Georgia and the surrounding region has led to some security concerns. Though participants in the summer program do travel to many sites in Tbilisi and around the country, they steer clear of areas such as Abkhazia, a region that is an “unrecognized republic” after military conflicts in the early 1990s.

Additionally, students must be careful of Georgia’s neighbor Chechnya, the region of Russia currently in rebellion. However, on the whole Georgia is safe and relatively stable.

Students interested in applying for the Emerging Democracy and Civil Society Summer Program in Tbilisi, Georgia, can find more information and application materials at The application deadline is currently Feb. 1, but can be extended, Wertsch said.