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ALLEGHENY COLLEGE

FALL 2007

EXL 300 Cross Cultural Learning: Theory and Practice Professor Ishita Sinha-Roy

Quick Flashback: A selection of thought provoking, funny, and insightful posts from Allegheny College students in the Fall 2007 Study Abroad/Study Away programs. BLOG ASSIGNMENT QUESTIONS: GREAT EXPECTATIONS: So, you've finally taken off for new lands. I want you to reflect here, on what you hope to get out of your semester abroad, both academically, and personally. Explain why you feel that study abroad is important to your development. ONE BIG LESSON: If there is one big lesson that you would like to share with folks at home about cultural entry, what would that be? Use a personal example to make the point. CULTURE TRADE: Describe an encounter with someone from your host culture that you feel reflected what you would describe as a meaningful and reciprocal cultural trade. What did you learn about your culture as well as the host culture from this exchange, that you were unaware of before? I want you to obviously select an experience that would not be part of the stereotypical tourist exchange. DEFINING DIVERSITY: How would you characterize diversity in your new space? What have you learned about yourself through this awareness of diversity that you were not appreciative of before? Please make sure you define how you are using the term diversity before you venture deeper into the blog. 1


ALLEGHENY COLLEGE

FALL 2007

BLOG ASSIGNMENT QUESTIONS (Contd.): A PICTURE IS WORTH A THOUSAND WORDS: For this blog, please select a photograph or image that you have captured/created, and post it, with a brief note about its context and significance. The picture should really say it all. The photograph/image should capture some aspect of the host culture that you find fascinating, disturbing, humorous, or unique. Your text should briefly explain why. WHAT’S HOT AND COOL?: In the course readings, Friedman suggests that American prowess in the global market will be affected by three factors: the numbers gap, education gap, and ambition gap ("The Quiet Crisis" 256). Some may note that while Freidman's argument definitely has weight, it is still a fact that U.S. culture is seen as the standard to aspire to, and is therefore the cool/hot commodity on the global market. What is the definition of "cool" and "hot" in your host culture? Where does it come from? YOUTHSCAPES: In her piece, Sunaina Maira (see course readings) describes her concept of Youthscape as not just a geographic or temporal location, but as a social and political space, "a 'place' that is bound up with questions of power and materiality (210).� Explain how the youthscape of your particular location is constituted. COMING HOME: So, as this semester comes to a close, I'd like you to think of a couple of things. First, what is the one stand-alone memory of this trip that you will be taking home with you? Second, do you believe that study away programs at other institutions are beneficial in a non-academic sense? Explain your answer.

GREAT EXPECTATIONS:

obviously, I am a big fan of studying abroad. But

Studying abroad is the opportunity of a lifetime.

why Germany? Again? Academically, studying

It gives you the chance to experience new things,

abroad in Germany fulfills some of the

meet new people, join a new culture, and become

requirements for my major. Classes are offered

a part of something greater than yourself. So

here that aren't available at Allegheny. Living 2


ALLEGHENY COLLEGE

FALL 2007

...here also gives me the chance

not re-inventing or completely

the top of the list of what I

to be surrounded by the

changing my personality, just

hope to get out of this year of

language as well as to be

exploring those sides of it that

studying abroad: a new

embraced by the culture, which

have hidden themselves over

language, new experiences,

will enable me to write a better

the years. A fine-tuning, if you

and the real “me.” What a

comp. The most important

will. Yes, there are the obvious

souvenir. (Susannah Bender,

academic expectation that I

scholarly goals. For example, I

France)

have is to return home able to

want to become as fluent in

communicate better in

French as possible, and I want

German, especially through my

to learn more about France and

grammar. (Meghan Fatzinger,

it’s culture and people. I want

Germany)

to study not only in school, but also in the real world (where

Not going home for a full year

else can you watch a

Change. It’s the only word that

is more momentous for me

Frenchman eat a baguette,

I can think of to describe what I

than going to college my

make awkward gestures, and

expected to find in Australia.

freshman year was. At

have an intense cell-phone

Change of scenery, change of

Allegheny, I have an existing

conversation at the same time?)

faces, change of classes, and

support system, most of which

In taking time to experience a

change in myself. After already

has been there my entire life.

new culture and a new

being here for two months, it is

Along with this support come

language, I’m taking time to

hard for me to remember

expectations about who I am

truly experience and uncover

exactly how I was feeling

and what I should do. Angers

who I am. I get to revel and

before I came over, because so

marks a new era in my life. I’m

bask in all of my shortcomings

much change has already

speaking a new language and

and qualities, and find new

occurred. I wanted to leave

learning a new culture, and at

ones. It may sound unpleasant

everything behind, and start

the risk of sounding cheesy, I

and pedantic, but it’s what I’m

over. I wanted to see big

get to re-discover myself. I’m

enjoying the most so far. It's at

mountains that end into the

3


ALLEGHENY COLLEGE

FALL 2007

...ocean, not just rolling hills

in Cologne, and the time just

have been slowly answering

with brick roads. I needed to

seems to be flying by. Every

these questions everyday.

redefine myself with new

second of every day I am

(Brandon Goeller, Germany)

friends, because after a while,

presented with the chance to

you become a part of what you

learn something new, and I

are used to. I wanted to break

have been seizing every

out of the Allegheny bubble I

opportunity to do so. It is a

was living in, and see for

challenge to constantly force

myself how other people live.

myself outside of my comfort

Academically, I wanted a break

zone, but I know that I am

from Allegheny. I wanted to

growing from this experience.

I decided to come to Costa Rica

learn things that no one at

What do I hope to get out of

with hopes of better finding

home would know. And what a

my semester abroad? Why is

out who I am. I know this

perfect opportunity for me to

this experience important to

sounds kind of corny, but

test the knowledge I have

me? From an academic

honestly, I want to leave here

learned so far in a new place.

standpoint, I came to Germany

with a stronger sense of place.

(Theresa Clem, Australia)  

in order to advance my

Being so far away from my

German language skills and

friends and family is just as

learn more about the German

much a learning experience, if

culture, both of which have

not more, than my actual

been occurring since I first

classes are. Not only that, but

stepped foot off of my plane.

it's extremely difficult being in

From a personal standpoint, I

a situation where I have an

wanted to see and learn about

extremely difficult time

Wow, I can’t believe that I’ve

the country of my heritage. I

decoding what these Spanish-

already been here for three

also wanted to find out not

speakers are saying, and they

weeks! I’m having a wonderful

only who I am, but also what

seem to be having just as

experience living and studying

makes me who I am, and I

difficult time understanding

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FALL 2007

...me. It is helping my Spanish

Already I feel like I am a

a feel for how graduate schools

skills quickly improve though.

different person from the girl I

run. A friend of mine was here

I am becoming more

arrived as a week and a half

last year and she talked a lot

independent, more confident in

ago. I can only imagine the

about how the classes here

myself, and I am learning that I

person I will emerge as when I

have a graduate level feel. I

am capable of living my life on

return home at the end of the

agree. Classes here are very

my own. I don't have to be a

semester. (Eliza Czolowski, Costa

independent, as are the labs.

follower; I can lead my own

Rica)

It’s a lot of independent

life, and control my own

thinking and reasoning on

destiny. Along with that, I am

your own. We do a lot of

hoping that all these

canoeing out to a neighboring

environmental classes and

island to collect crabs and

experiences here will help

snails for experiments. I also

guide me in what I want to do

wanted to meet people who

in the environmental arena.

I had many expectations when

were interested in the same

There are so many fields that I

I came down to the Duke

things as I was. Knowing I was

have the option to lean

Marine Lab. The main reason I

going to be living on the beach

towards, but I haven't made

came down here was for the

wasn’t that bad either!

that decision yet. Whenever I

academics. I wanted to know if

(Katherine Kump, Duke Marine

tell someone that I'm an

marine biology was something

Lab)

Environmental Science major,

I wanted to pursue after

they usually answer with a

graduation. I also was looking

"Oh, and what are you

to gain experience in the lab. I

planning on doing with that?"

knew this place offered many

Right now, I don't have an

field trips and opportunities to

answer for them. By the end of

expand my knowledge in the

the semester I'm hoping that I

marine field. Another

will have more of an idea.

expectation of mine was to get 5


ALLEGHENY COLLEGE

FALL 2007

This city is a lot of fun! There

articles -- it's been from first-

ONE BIG LESSON:

are so many places to explore

hand accounts of experts in this

Entering into a new and

and events to go to. A big

field of study. My class has

different culture can be

personal goal I have for myself

listened to some amazing guest

difficult, although some are

this fall is to really take

speakers that have come to talk

harder than others. I didn't

advantage of all the things to

with us, as well as attending

think coming to England

do in this city. I have already

various forums and panel

would bring much of a culture

been to some great restaurants,

discussions around D.C. and

shock, and perhaps it wasn't as

a political rally, a jazz festival,

visiting 2 foreign embassies. As

much as a shock for me as it

an international fair, a few

my class is traveling to the

was an increasing awareness.

museums, and I found the

Balkans (Croatia, Serbia, and

Before coming here, I was told

coolest bookstore/cafe ever,

Bosnia) in 16 days, we are now

the British love Americans, and

among other things. I love that

focusing on the wars that

that I would have a very easy

there's always something going

occurred there in the 90s. My

time fitting in and making

on here. As much as I love

academic goal for the semester

friends. While becoming

Allegheny, there's just not

is to make the most of all this

adjusted may not have been as

much to do in Meadville.

experiential learning. I want to

hard as say, entering into

Besides how great the city is,

learn about everything I'm

Africa or France, it has been a

the program I'm enrolled in at

studying, as in-depth as I

little hard finding my place in

American University is pretty

possibly can. (Rachel Jurkowski,

this culture. There have been

incredible. I'm in the Peace and

Washington, D.C.)

times when I have been in a

Conflict Resolution program,

store, restaurant, or bar and

and I've already learned so

upon hearing my American

much. The coolest part is that

accent the clerk, waitress, or

much of what I've learned

bartender has gone from a

hasn't been from books or

cheerful smile asking "how may I help you?" to a blatant 6


ALLEGHENY COLLEGE

FALL 2007

..."what do you want?" While

would be blatantly rude to me.

acceptable to shake hands or

traveling on my break and

And while I have met many

when it’s acceptable to do the

meeting many new people in

Frenchmen who are very nice,

bisous! (Erin Geiser, France)

hostels I came to find that a lot

it was still shocking to have

of Europeans are not fond of

people do that to me. Most

Americans. (Ashton Kohler,

French kids our age that I've

Britain)

met ask the same questions like, where are you from? Do

I think that before coming to

you like France? Do you like

France I knew that this

Bush? Did you vote for him? It

I think that entering a foreign

experience would be really

is also hard to get used to

culture for the first time, and

hard at first, and I thought that

people staring at you. In our

not as just a short-term visitor,

I had accurately predicted the

culture that is considered rude,

is one of the most personally

difficulty of this transition. But

but apparently not here! Even

challenging experiences. The

I found that after the first 24

if you don't speak English on

first few days I was here

hours, I was sorely mistaken,

the streets, somehow they

everything was completely

and that this was going to be

know that you are American

overwhelming and exhausting.

much harder that I had ever

and will stare at you. It has

Even though I have been

imagined. I never imagined

been one of the most awkward

studying German since high

how hard it would be to try to

cultural experiences to

school, the language sounded

understand directions from a

understand and accept. And

completely foreign. I was

Frenchman on the street, or

the French “bisous!” The

afraid to make mistakes and

even try to explain to my host

bisous is the French cheek kiss

didn’t talk very much, and

family what sledding is. I knew

that they do to each other

everything surrounding me

before this experience that the

instead of hugging or shaking

was so unknown. It took me

French in general aren’t huge

hands. It has been quite

several days to relax and really

fans of Americans, but I never

interesting trying to

begin to enjoy the experience. I

realized how some of them

understand when it is

think the biggest lesson I have

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FALL 2007

...learned is to be open to new

Bread, bread, and more bread.

that my number one pet peeve

experiences. Living and

That’s what I eat here—white

is not about the French—it’s

traveling in a foreign country

bread. The French love of

about other students in our

will never be as comfortable as

baguettes is not an

program refusing to leave

home and things won’t always

exaggeration. However, I’ve

American food behind. They

go perfectly. Every mistake I

also tried many different meals

complain every day about what

make when speaking and every

—I’ve had black pasta from

we eat/don’t get to eat, and

time I get lost is a learning

Italy, colored by squid ink. I’ve

insist on smothering everything

experience. This is something I

eaten part of a fish plopped on

in ketchup and salt. The people

still have to remind myself as I

the table, complete with skin

at my table don’t try anything

try to fully enjoy Germany and

and bones, eyes staring and

we’re served until I try it first,

make the most of my time here.

mouth flopping open. I’ve tried

waiting to see if it tastes okay.

Studying abroad is something

pears from Anjou, grapes from

When you vacation to another

that many people never have

Nantes, and even olives and

land and refuse to eat the

the opportunity to do and it is

mushrooms, two things I

cuisine, you’re missing out on a

certainly a once in a lifetime

already know I detest. But I

large part of that culture and

experience. That is why I think

tried them, and that’s what

way of life. What’s the point in

really trying to be open to the

counts. As much as I miss

going to France if you want to

whole adventure is so

peanut butter and my

eat McDonalds the entire time?

important; because I know it is

Coldstone ice cream, I realize

You might as well just stay in

something I will never get to do

that this is not America. This is

the States and speak French to

again. Don’t stress about little

France. It’s a completely

your dog. (Susannah Bender,

things, don’t dwell on the bad

different country, on a

France)

stuff, look around and

completely different continent,

remember how lucky you are to

with a completely different

have this chance! (Lauren

language and a completely

Winberg, Germany)

different culture. I’ve found

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CULTURAL TRADE:

FALL 2007

something I would expect from a third world country, but this

My host mother bought her

is France we’re talking about.

first computer the Saturday I

This is the country that

arrived. She also just got

developed the civil code that is

Internet. However, the Internet

used throughout most of

was not so easy to come by and

Europe and has one of the best

the company screwed up her phone line and didn’t send her

here would be the biggest relief

health care systems in the

the modem—we were without

in the world, but has been the

world. They’re no more third

Internet AND phone for over

exact opposite. Now that my

world than the States.

half a month. She’d called them

host mom has Internet, she

(Susannah Bender, France)

over 9 times and they still

won’t let me use it. She insists

didn’t fix anything. I was

that switching out her Ethernet

In Spain, we have something

completely appalled—I

cord with mine will break her

called intercambios. They are

couldn’t imagine a company

modem, and she refuses to use

people around our age, from

like that lasting more than 5

the wireless because she’s

Spain who have an interest in

seconds in the US, especially

convinced that someone will

learning English. I am lucky

since apparently it’s a problem

steal confidential information

enough to have two

that a lot of people experience

off her computer. This is all

intercambios, one 22 and the

with this particular company.

very frustrating for me, seeing

other 20. My experience in

Customer service in France, I

as I know better, but no matter

culture trade occurred with my

have discovered, is barely

what I say, she will not budge.

intercambio Ana who is 20

existent. I have the sneaking

However, it’s also a little

years old. Now age is what is

suspicion that whoever came

amusing, as I’m not the only

of key importance in this.

up with the motto that the

student who has had this

While talking to my

customer is always right was

problem. The French, it seems,

intercambio in a bar, I used the

killed in France. I thought that

are afraid of technology. I find

phrase "Cuando yo era muy

getting Internet at my home

this comical because it’s

joven...." which translates in

9


ALLEGHENY COLLEGE

...English to "when I was very

were leaving a popular

young. She immediately and

Australian hangout. How in

without doubt corrected me,

the world did they know we

stating that this was not

were Americans? When

appropriate since I am indeed

arriving back to my Uni in

still very young. For a good 20

Townsville, I asked a group of

minutes, we talked about what

my male Australian friends if

it meant to be young. (Thomas

they could tell just by looking

Rodgers, Spain)

at me that I was American. Their instant answer was yes.

On my recent spring break trip

As our conversation continued

to Sydney, my friends and I

on, I learned a lot about body

went out on the town. All of us

image in the Australian culture.

have become obsessed with

While both America and

Australian fashion and each of

Australia are westernized

us were wearing outfits bought

societies, there is large

in an Australian boutique. As

difference in how we view

we were leaving a club down

beauty. For me personally,

an escalator, a group of

when looking around during

Australian men were entering

my walk to class, I could not

the club and yelled out to us,

tell the difference between an

“Americans! Where are you

Australian and an American

girls going?� Each of us looked

just by looking. (Theresa Clem,

at each other dumbfounded.

Australia)

FALL 2007

my Peace and Conflict Resolution class at American University. One of our stops was in Novi Pazar, a small city in southern Serbia that is near the border of Kosovo. While in Novi Pazar, we spent a few hours one afternoon talking with students at a university. A few girls from my class, myself included, spent most of the time talking with a girl named Hanna, who was a few years older than us. She was born in Bosnia, lived most of her life in Pristina, Kosovo, and now lives in Novi Pazar. She is part Bosniak (Bosnian Muslim), part Macedonian, and a few other

None of us had even opened our mouths to say a word, all

From October 6-27, I was

of us were dressed in

traveling through the Balkans,

Australian clothing, and we

which was the case study for 10

things. During our talk, she told us how hard it was for her to grow up in Pristina as a girl


ALLEGHENY COLLEGE

FALL 2007

...who wasn't ethnically an Albanian or a Serb. Kosovo's population is 90% Albanian and 10% Serbian. Even when she was a young child in school, she felt pressured by both ethnic groups to "take their side." She didn't want to choose one side and hate the other, so she tried to be neutral and get along with both. As a result, she never felt like she fit in. She never felt comfortable or accepted in Pristina, simply because she wasn't Albanian or Serbian, and she wouldn't pick a side. (Rachel Jurkowski, Washington D.C.)

One night I was talking to my host father about what I want to do in my future and we got onto the concept of marriage. He was shocked at how I, and most people in the United States, approach marriage. I explained to him the typical man proposes with a diamond ring, and either the bride’s family or the couple pays for the wedding. He explained to me how it works in Kenya. The husbandto-be has to pay a dowry of however much the girl’s father says. It is usually 13 cows that is paid and the father can ask for up to 50,000 US dollars in addition to the cows. The man’s whole community comes together to help his raise the needed funds and he goes to the bride’s father’s house to present the dowry. The father has the right to accept the man and allow is daughter to get married, or to reject him. I learned from this how traditional a culture this was, and how the family plays a very large part in someone’s life. I also realized in my own culture how independent people are, and how an individual in the United States has absolute control over their lives. One reason this conversation was so special and enlightening was because we were not supposed to talk about it. Significant others are a very controversial matter,

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FALL 2007

...and most families are not

light, especially in terms of

willing to talk openly about

beliefs. Living in Cologne,

relationships. So through this, I

especially, has allowed me to

learned about the host culture

experience diversity in a city of

and also about the effects of

millions of people. This is

westernization. If

something that, until now, was

westernization had not taken

outside of my comfort zone. If

diversity, in terms of individual

place in Kenya I probably

someone had asked me before I

lifestyles, religious beliefs,

would have never had that

left what I thought of city life,

cultures and backgrounds but

conversation because it would

my reply would have been

it doesn't seem to offer the

be considered too taboo

negative. But since I moved

same diversity that even this

especially for a girl and her

here, my opinion of city life has

small town of Lancaster,

father to talk about. (Caroline

changed. I still wouldn't want

England offers. Diversity is the

Lewis, Kenya)

to spend my whole life here,

norm here. Walking to class, I

but as a student it is not half

will usually hear several

bad! (Meghan Fatzinger,

conversations spoken in

Germany)

different languages. There are

DEFINING DIVERSITY: I think diversity is the same anywhere, in that no matter where you go, things and people are different than what is normal for yourself. For me, diversity is the opposite of who and what I am. Living in Germany has given me a greater appreciation of myself. Through recognizing the differences in others, I have come to see myself in a new

social clubs and groups Rarely does one find much

dedicated to a vast array of

extensive diversity in any

different hobbies, talents,

given town in America. Most of

religious beliefs, cultural

the diversity seems to come

activities, etc. I have met

from the large cities, where

people at Lancaster University

people of other nationalities,

from all over the world, from

races, cultures, and religions

California to Australia, that

seem to settle. True, Allegheny

have offered me an insight into

College and some small cities

diversity. Coming from a small

in America offer some

town in the U.S., I don't get to

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FALL 2007

...see much diversity. Sure, I see

As a society and culture,

the Arabic influence on

many races - Caucasian, Asian,

Seville and Andalucia are not

Andalucia. This past weekend I

African American, etc. America

very diverse. The majority of

went to Barcelona, which is in

is known as "the melting pot,"

Seville's population is made up

the north of Spain. As a larger

so while we may all be

of dark skinned people

city and a city with a seaport,

different races, we are all still

originally from the Moors,

the cultural population was

Americans. However, over

including Morocco. The

very mixed and diverse,

here, you will meet people who

majority of people are Catholic,

including people of all skin

live in Asia, the Middle East, or

with some practicing more

types. For the first time this

Eastern Europe, who have

than others. Additionally, most

semester in Barcelona, I felt as

come here to study and that

people come from a similar

if I fit in and belonged there.

bring with them their culture,

socio-economic level. As

(Alexandra Papa, Spain)

beliefs, and lifestyles. It is not

American students, because of

all melted into one nation with

the differences in our physical

There is so much diversity in

differences amongst it, but it is

appearances, it is difficult to

Washington. What I mean by

many different nations coming

blend into Seville’s culture. We

diversity in this context is the

together to share with each

look and tend to dress

abundance of international

other while learning. Diversity

American, and most of the

families living here. Whether

to me is the ability to have

Spanish citizens can tell we are

you are on Embassy row and

many differences (other than

American students because of

meet the ambassador’s family

the color of your skin) and

the way we act, dress and look.

from Denmark, or walking the

coexisting with other traits and

Although it is not the diversity

corridors of a Smithsonian

characteristics, while sharing a

that I was used to this summer

Museum, not a day goes by

mutual relationship of learning

in inner city Boston, I do see

that I do not hear a foreign

and understanding and

Asian shops and restaurants.

language being spoken. I have

enjoying. (Ashton Hohler,

When I visited Cordoba, I saw

always been interested in

Britain)

an ancient Islamic Mosque. It

learning about other cultures

was very interesting learning

and meeting people from

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FALL 2007

...around the world. I have had the opportunity

my friends or bake German cookies for

to do so in the Washington Semester Program

Christmas. I wanted to be American. But as I got

because of the large number of international

older, I realized how advantageous it was that I

students enrolled in the program. I love just

was German. I could travel to Germany any time

sitting down with these students over lunch or

I wanted and visit family. I could speak another

coffee and learning about where they grew up

language, and I was able to experience another

and see how their upbringing was different from

culture. Over the years, I have come to terms

American life. My mother is from Germany,

with my heritage and have totally embraced my

making me a German citizen. I was not always

German ethnicity. I realized that being different

so appreciative of this because I did not like

is not a bad thing and I actually like being

being different as a kid. I did not like how my

different. I think it makes me the unique person I

mother would speak German to me in front of

am today. (Elizabeth Andrews, Washington D.C.)

A PICTURE IS WORTH A THOUSAND WORDS:

This photograph was taken in Grasmere in the Lake District near William Wordsworth's house. Wordsworth said that his writing was inspired by the views from his house and the

beauty of the nature

throughout my time here I

surrounding his home in the

have journeyed into the

Lake District. The English

countryside and have felt

countryside is an aspect of

connected to something, as if

English culture that I find

there have been others just like

fascinating. It brings a sense of

me throughout time that have

calm over you while at the

walked where I have now

same time eliciting feelings of

walked and felt wonder, ease,

inspiration and wonder in the

excitement and inspiration that

fact that everywhere you look

I have felt from the beauty of

in England there is so much

the English countryside.

history. When I have been

(Ashton Kohler, Britain)

homesick or just needed a lift

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ALLEGHENY COLLEGE

FALL 2007

This picture was taken during the anti-war protest that took place on September 15th. Protesters marched from the White House to the Capitol Steps, where they were greeted by hundreds of police officers. This picture is symbolic because while America is called the land of the free, hundreds of people were still arrested that day during the march. I think this picture is ironic in a way because the capitol building is supposed to be an embodiment of our democratic values, yet people were detained for voicing their pacifist beliefs that day. (Elizabeth Andrews, Washington D.C.)

This is the landscape of Kianjokoma taken from the edge of Mount Kenya forest. Most of the people have tea farms and grow most of their own food. The fact that this area is extremely fertile is what most impacts the people here. Many people do not get an education because the way they see it, as long as they have land they can make a living and support their family. Since many people work in their farms all day, many people do not leave Kianjokoma, This means that most people have never seen a white person and it becomes a big deal. The farms have a large influence on the upbringing of the people here, which effects how I am treated and viewed. (Caroline Lewis, Kenya) 15


ALLEGHENY COLLEGE

FALL 2007

This photo was taken directly outside my dorm

for the best grade. I've also held a job while I

on the lawn where seven wallabies set up camp

was here and even my employer had a laid back

at least three times every week. They take a

vibe. His favorite phrases are "no drama" and

huge patch of grass between our walkways and

"no worries mate!" I think the Aussies and the

lounge for hours on end. These wallabies aren't

wallabies got it right - it certainly makes for a

stupid: they know there are tons of students

more fun and stress free life. (Erin Horning,

walking all around them within arms reach but

Australia)

they don't panic about it. I think they exemplify Aussie culture because wallabies seem so

Sevilla's Cathedral is the third largest in Europe

inherently laid back. Within the student culture,

and it is in the center of the city. Religion is

people don't stress as much about exams as we

practiced and considered something different to

do at home: first of all, they don't have as many,

everyone. The cathedral has services as well as

and second, they're content with passing the

many tourists. The small chapels in

class instead of trying to beat everyone else out

neighborhoods are filled with people who go for devotion to pray. There are also cultural Catholics, like my host mother, who have crosses in their houses but only go to mass occasionally. Everyone celebrates fiestas, which are holidays such as Christmas and Semana Santa. Even to people who aren’t religious Sevilla’s cathedral is the pride of this city. (Alexandra Papa, Spain)

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ALLEGHENY COLLEGE

FALL 2007

so much healing that still needs to occur. (Rachel Jurkowski, Balkans)

WHAT’S HOT AND COOL? This is a picture of Cologne, the

This picture was taken in

first place I saw in Germany

eastern Croatia, in the town of

and now my home. I will never

Dakova. It captures the main

forget this city and this view

elements of many towns and

from the top of the cathedral is

cities in the region, especially

a good visual explanation of it.

throughout eastern Croatia and

We were fortunate enough to

much of Bosnia-Herzegovina.

get a tour through the seldom

There's beauty in the picture, in

seen parts and onto the roof

the warm color of the building

and it offered an unforgettable

and the graceful branches

view of the city. It shows the

swaying in the breeze - the

Rhine and the train station,

entire region is extraordinarily

both the transportation hubs of

beautiful. But as you look

the city, and also a spire of the

closer, you will see bullet holes

cathedral, an unmistakable

and shell marks in the side of

mark of tradition. Both of these

the building. There's so much

aspects of Germany are very

damage and destruction

clear explanations of the

evident here, as there is

culture here and this picture

throughout the Balkans. There

captures them. (Andrew Busch,

is so much evidence remaining

Germany)

of the war in the early 90s, and

Living in Germany not only allows for the experience of German culture, but European culture as well. It has become cool to be a world citizen, rather than just a citizen of your own country. Since the creation of the European Union, Europe has become more and more dependent on its neighbors, especially for trade. It is not surprising then, that the fashion industry has become a part of that. Through my travels here I have seen many different countries and their peoples. Teenagers in Germany are dressed the same as teenagers in Amsterdam. This has all been made possible by a Swedish clothing store, H&M. H&M has some of the

17


ALLEGHENY COLLEGE

FALL 2007

..."coolest" clothes and

popular in the US in just a few months. The

the "hottest" trends.

teenagers of Europe are setting the style for the

And what is popular

world. (Meghan Fatzinger, Germany)

here now, will be

In terms of England, the trends

amount of American slang

I am glad that I got to spend the

and popular mindsets seem to

being spoken by the students as

semester in Townsville, a

be attained from somewhat

well. It's truly eye opening to

smaller Australian city because

backward influences. As a

see how a country like America,

I don’t feel that it was as

culture known for its propriety

essentially the much younger

affected by the U.S. culture.

and diplomacy, it shocks me to

offshoot of the UK can quickly

When I traveled to larger cities,

see the effect American culture

over turn years of tradition.

such as Sydney and Melbourne,

has had here. The fashion

England and the UK still

there were many more

world is constantly striving for

maintain distinct identities

American influences

the glamorous "LA look" and

though, with their extreme

(Starbucks, Coca-Cola,

every magazine I have read

focus on political activism and

American Eagle clothing,

here includes some bit on how

activism for a green society. The

McDonalds, etc.) While

to achieve some version of the

issues at the core of the nation

Townsville had McDonalds

American dream. The hot, new

still stand strong and from

(aka Macca’s), there were no

trends are almost always based

what I have seen, uninfluenced

other brand name American

on something straight out of

by the ways of America.

places. However, Hungry Jack’s

Hollywood. Even the food and

Hopefully, what is considered

fast food was exactly the same

linguistics of the country are

hot and cool in the States will

as our Burger King and The Big

changing rapidly. The cheap

only leave its mark on the

W was almost identical to Wal-

supermarkets and fast food

lesser aspects of British

Mart. Kentucky Fried Chicken

chains are booming, as

lifestyle. (Caroline Hilty,

was a favorite among the

everyone looks for the easy

England)

students and I doubt that most

meal. I hear an increasing

of them even know what 18


ALLEGHENY COLLEGE

FALL 2007

...Kentucky is. The ideals of American culture are

and see people my age clad in Billabong, Roxy,

overwhelming; however they find ways to make

Independence, and all the skating brands of the

American ideals into Australian items. Like

US. This is what my kid brother at home wears

others have said about European fashion being

and not what I was expecting. The music on the

ahead of American fashion, it is the same in

radio was another shocker. Many of the most

Australia as well. People are able to wear what

popular songs were American. Fergie's hit "Big

they like. One thing that is hot or cool is being

Girls Don't Cry," and Sean Kingston's "Beautiful

environmentally friendly. Everyone uses cloth

Girls" were gigantic songs here. The people that I

grocery bags, and the stores refuse to give out

got to know here are practically obsessed with

plastic bags if someone buys less than 3 items.

the US. They think it's the ultimate in cool.

Even clothing stores give out reusable cloth bags

They're perfectly willing to give up all they're

with their store name printed on them.

culture to become just like us Americans. What is

Australians carry these bags to class, the beach,

the world coming to? (Eliza Czowlowski, Costa

and the store, almost everywhere they go.

Rica)

(Theresa Clem, Australia)

The American Pop-Culture is very popular in Germany. American movies, songs, and Hollywood gossip are just are very popular among the German youth. American fashion, in some regards, is also "cool." But of course the This is one of the things that actually really

Germans have their own music, films, and

bothers me about Costa Rica. What's hot and

fashion. Night Clubs, Discos, and Bars are "hot"

cool is exactly what's hot and cool in the US. I

places to hang out in the city, and there are a

came here expecting to see all this fabulous

many of these to suit everyone’s individual

culture and individualism, but what I saw was

tastes. Personally, I have found some popular

an extension of the US. I walk along the streets

trends among the German youth in Cologne to 19


ALLEGHENY COLLEGE

FALL 2007

...be quite absurd, such as

thing I noticed by watching

What I've noticed that is

mullet hairstyles, high school-

television here is that Miss

different between here and

style varsity letter jackets, and

Kenya, the beauty pageant

Allegheny is awareness. People

baseball hats worn so small,

winner, has very European

here, especially at the Marine

that they sit on top of the head.

features. So traditional Kenyan

Lab, are much more involved

One "cool" popular fashion that

features usually involve a flat

with protecting the

I do like and is very different

wide nose, while Europeans

environment and promoting

from in the US is the absurdly

have skinnier more pointed

awareness of it. Everyone's

stylish dress shoes that men

noses. Yet Miss Kenya could

bumper sticker has to do with

wear whether going to work or

have looked like a European if

saving some aspect of the

to the bar. (Brandon Goeller,

she was white. While I spent

environment in one-way or the

Germany)

six weeks in a rural village near

other. I guess that would be

the base of Mount Kenya so

expected at a marine lab.

The definition of hot and cool

many of the people I worked

However, it is interesting how

is basically westernization.

with commented on my hair,

much more people seem to care

People seem to be attracted to a

because it is long, strait, and

about our environment. People

western style of dress. Also

soft. They all played with it

don't care as much about

lighter skin is seen as better.

and said how they wish that

politics, just the environmental

There are creams to lighten

could have hair like mine.

part of politics. Being cool here

their skin to they will be light

(Caroline Lewis, Kenya)

is not worrying about your

brown instead of black. People

outward appearance, it's not

in Nairobi are seen as cool if

about formality, it's about

they dress in western clothes

being who you are, being

and act in a more westernized

comfortable, and learning in

way. Westernization is what

one of the most relaxed

everyone here seems to be

atmospheres. It's about caring

striving for, to be

about and respecting the

individualistic and rich. One

environment and promoting 20


ALLEGHENY COLLEGE

FALL 2007

...awareness to others. It's

When they want to be heard,

the youth of France at all feel

about being involved with the

they go to the streets because

they will be molded into

community and receiving

that is where they seem to be

anything they don’t want to be.

input from them. It's a great

the most comfortable and feel

They will congregate and

environmental community and

they can have the most impact.

discuss politics, globalization,

I think that other places could

For example, right now in

religion etc. where they want.

really learn from this lab.

France there is a possibility that

Where they seem to want to

(Katherine Kump, Duke Marine

laws will be passed in the next

congregate is the street because

Lab)

few years that will make

no one influences them when

entrance into university harder

they are in their element.

and they will privatize more

Frankly, to sum “youthscape”

Youthscapes in Angers

public universities. This poses

up for me in Angers, for them

definitely exist. I think that the

a major problem in France

it’s the streets. (Kristin Isabelli,

youth here feel that it is there

because all public universities

France)

right to express their opinion in

are, for the most part, free. All

any way they feel fit. I don’t

of the students in the Lycees

believe that the youth here feel

have been fighting this idea for

that they need to be “socialized

weeks by protesting at the

into adult norms of political

schools, organizing student

involvement.” One of the

marches through the streets of

things that struck me the most

Angers, barricading the doors

about “the Youthscapes here”

to the Lycees, etc. Because of

was that they seem to

their sentiments, the students

congregate on the street. Yes,

have literally taken this to the

they congregate in cafes, at

streets because they know this

school and in restaurants, but

is where they will be heard.

where I live the majority of the

Being a bystander of this and

youth congregate outside.

seeing it firsthand, I don’t think

YOUTHSCAPES:

21

The youthscape of Nairobi is very westernized and with that they are fighting against the problems of the older generations. The youth are very politically active and working hard towards their


ALLEGHENY COLLEGE

FALL 2007

...future. They are trying to

school. One thing that

German youth tend to

fight against tribalism by

showcases part of the

congregate almost any night of

befriending and even marrying

youthscape of Kenya is the

the week in clubs, bars, and

people from different times,

matatus. The matatus are

discos. German culture is in

which, in their parents’

colorful with “youth like”

many ways much more open

generation, would have been

sayings on them, playing loud

than American culture. For

completely unheard of and is

music and having colored

example, teenagers can drink

still looked down upon. Many

lights in it. Many youth will

legally and parents often

youth understand the power of

not get into a matatu that does

encourage their children to go

education more than their

not look “fun.” So although

out into the city and have fun.

parents. Therefore most youth

they are very into their

Bars, clubs, and discos might

are very ambitious. This is

education and trying to

be popular locations for youth

partially due to the schooling

improve their country, it seems

in Germany to gather, but I

system. All school in Kenya are

like they are trying to almost

think youth will gather almost

extraordinarily competitive

run away from their parents

anywhere. My pictures shows a

and if you don’t make the

generation and the

group of teenagers I saw

grades on the exams you don’t

conservativeness of it. Thus

gathered in front of the Dom,

go on, and if you don’t make

creating interesting looking

the famous cathedral in

the grades on the final after

matatus. (Caroline Lewis, Kenya)

Cologne. The Dom is in the

form four (US equivalent is

center of the city and is a

12th grade), then they just

popular gathering place among

don’t get into university. Since

the population, especially at

most of the youth especially

Christmas when there is a

those without a land

Christmas market right next to

inheritance, know that the only

the Dom. (Lauren Winberg,

way to survive in life it to

Germany)

achieve a good education, the youth work extremely hard in 22


ALLEGHENY COLLEGE

FALL 2007

Youthscapes are not hard to come by in England. Following in the footsteps of the US, England and the rest of the UK has become very youth oriented. Restaurants, stores, ads-everything is targeted at the younger generations. The focus of attention on young adults is even more apparent in Lancaster, as it is a "university area." Most locations and attractions cater towards the university population. Although there is a plethora of places that can be considered youthscapes in Lancaster, the most frequently visited establishments are the bars and nightclubs. (Caroline Hilty, England)

In some ways, I think Australian youth are forced to take up political power in their youthscape. After they turn 18, Australian citizens are required to vote. If they do not, they face a fine. Though some choose to cast a "donkey" vote, or one that is invalidated because of errors on the ballot, many of the students I knew thought critically about who they were voting for in the national election in November. The money of Australian youth also shapes their power. Minimum wage for a 20 year old is $18 per hour. Even with the higher cost of living, that is a good wage. If Australian youth choose to work, they have the money to dictate portions of the market and when they vote they can make large impacts on elections. Their youthscape is defined only by the limits they impose on themselves. (Erin Horning, Australia)

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ALLEGHENY COLLEGE

COMING HOME:

FALL 2007

country. Most of all, I have

every weekend, or the fact that

learned how to be an adult.

there isn't much else to do in

The one memory that I will

And this picture will always

the area. Maybe I would have

never forget about this trip to

remind me of my first adult

realized how much more

France is this view. The first

"home." (Susannah Bender,

expensive everything is in

day I came, when I finally got

France)

Australia, and I might have

out of the airport, off the train,

been able to raise enough

lugging around over 120

money to leave Townsville

pounds of luggage, after being

more than once. I never

up for almost 48 hours straight,

appreciated Allegheny's Late

not eating for about 12 straight,

Night program until I attended

stepping out of the train station

a school where the "late night"

and seeing this sight made me

program was listening to

cry. The only thing I could

drunk people fall down the

think was, "I'm home." It was a

On an academic level, I had an

knee-jerk response, and I knew

incredible experience. I had the

it was right. It's for this reason

opportunity to study at a large

that I know study abroad

university with a multitude of

programs are valuable non-

classes in subjects I never knew

academically. I have learned

existed, and I got to experience

how to properly pack for a year

what a foreign education

abroad. I have learned more

system is like. However, on a

French. I have learned about

social level, I wish I had known

cultural differences. I have

more about the university

learned how to stand up for

before I arrived. Perhaps then I

myself, even when dealing

wouldn't have been as shocked

with language barriers. I have

by the incredible amount of

gained more pride in my own

binge drinking that takes place 24

stairs. (Rachel Clark, Australia)

The most concrete memory that I have brought home with me this semester is the difference of mentalities between one country and another. I had always been told that French professors don’t consider their students to be “gifted and special” like our friendly American professors. Rather, they believe that no one is good enough to get a 100%


ALLEGHENY COLLEGE

FALL 2007

...let alone an 80%. As much as I already knew

notice regional differences I had never picked up

this, the reality of the situation never really hit

on before such as the variety of accents, people’s

me until I got a grade back in one of my classes

natures, and just little details that an average

and was horrified with my evaluation. While

tourist might not catch on to right away. I would

being in France was fantastic, it really made me

definitely recommend study abroad to anyone,

appreciate the U.S. You never really realize what

and that they go into it with an open mind and

you miss until you don’t have it; kind of the

an open heart. (Carolyn Kuzell, France)

grass is always greener type thing. While being away people always ask me if I miss my school in the states. And I reply: “yes, I really miss the people.” I have had some really great professors at Allegheny, and I believe it is important to have a good student-teacher relationship, and having French professors made me realize that they have a totally different mentality in regards to this situation. And that’s alright, it’s their method, and it is good to experience different teaching methods, because it’s another preparatory device for the future even if it can be a challenge to accept. Study-abroad is an opportunity that is incomparable to anything else. And not just in an academic sense. To truly understand a country and its people, one has to live there and learn the customs and habits of the I think the greatest learning and growing

citizens and find out what’s popular and what’s

experiences come in a non-academic form from

taboo. I had a pretty good grasp of the French

studying abroad. The most amazing thing that I

culture when I first got to Angers, but after

have learned from my overall experience is

having lived there for a semester, I started to 25


ALLEGHENY COLLEGE

FALL 2007

...that fundamentally, we are all the same, living on the same earth, hoping for the same general things. Yes, each region of the world has its own unique culture and way of life, but no matter where you go at the core we are all very similar. Even though people are living in different time zones all over the world, time is essentially relative and we're all living in the same time. Even though people are scattered all throughout the world and are adapted to their own environment, way of life, culture, etc., we all share a commonality as humans living on this earth in relation to it and each other. (Ashton Kohler, Britain)

Photo Courtesy: Copyright Free Google Images, Creative Commons ALLEGHENY COLLEGE FALL 2007 EXL 300 Professor Ishita Sinha-Roy

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Allegheny College - EXL300 Fall 2007