Travel Log 5: “Conversations” by Leah Chernick. Paris, France.

My study abroad program consists of only American students, making it difficult to make French friends. However, there are one or two students in each of my classes who are French students who go to a French university and are taking one class at CEA. Many of the students study language or English, which is why it is appropriate for them to be taking classes at my abroad institution. At orientation we were told that some of our classes would have French students in them and to make them fell welcome and talk to them. I chose to conduct my meeting with one of the French students in my Mass Media and the Fashion Industry class, who I have befriended along the way. We work on a group continuous group project together, which is a fashion blog. It is interesting to get both of our perspectives on fashion due to the fact that she is French and I am American. I chose to meet with Amelie, because I knew I could relate the most to her and felt comfortable talk to her about this. I also chose to interview a French student, because I wanted to hear what it was like from a similar age demographic as myself. . As said in the chapter 5 reading, “Exposure to a new culture causes many people to explore value systems for the first time; discoveries often lead to reexamining the foundation of their own ethical structures” (47). I saw myself doing this quite often even though I did not know it. Especially in the beginning I was always comparing French ways to American ways, but often in a negative light. As I progress more and more I see myself digging deeper into these value systems and comparing them for what they are.

The discussions we had were very interesting. At first I could tell that Amelie felt a bit awkward as I was asking more questions rather than allowing for free flowing discussion. I soon realized that I should stop asking questions and bring up certain points of discussion. It was important to take the time to discuss both personal and cultural viewpoints and mindsets with a French student because we must realize these differences. We cannot brush them under the table and forget about them, which is how stereotypes come about: from lack of understands and just from pure assumption of someone’s culture. Sitting down and speaking about cultural value sets enabled us both to understand each other’s culture much better. Some of the more interesting cultural value sets we discussed included boasting versus modesty, confrontation versus avoidance, and rational versus intuitive thinking. When we discussed boasting versus modesty it was clear that the French are much more modest than Americans, who boast their accomplishments and material things. I shared with Amelie a bit about how in America the pre-college process (SATs, applying and getting into college) is like a competition against your fellow peers. She was quite shocked with what I shared with her and could not believe that students and parents would boast in such a way. Amelie said that none of this peer competitiveness existed in France and that each student is regarded as their own individual and is not compared to others as the US does so. This led perfectly into our discussion of the set of rational versus intuitive thinking. Amelie expressed that the French value creative thinking a lot. In school she spoke about a creative photography project where she had to come up with three self-portraits of herself: one normal, one as the opposite sex, one dead. I expressed to her how in American culture especially in the education system we value following directions on an assignment and are often discouraged from expressing creativity in school assignments unless otherwise noted. When we spoke about confrontation versus avoidance Amelie expressed that one must deal with their own interpersonal relationships within themselves instead of discussing and having an open conversation as we would in America. I explained to her the fact that we value discussion and openness in America. She explained that the French keep to themselves much more and do not wish to move one’s problems onto another person and try to deal with things internally.

One of the highlights of the discussion was talking about drinking and smoking here and in the US and the differences of each. Although not one of the said cultural sets from the reading, we talked quite extensively about smoking and drinking. She held the stereotypical idea that American students heavily drink all the time and I of course for being in Paris for a month held the stereotype that all French people smoke cigarettes, especially high school and college aged students. Although it is not as popular as it is in France, smoking is an example of a home campus culture which I do not participate in and which I hold a more negative view point on, where as here college students smoking is the norm. At home I honestly tend to judge a person a bit if they are smoking, whereas here, I do not “judge” a person at all if they are smoking because it is considered again, the norm.


Travel Blog 10: “Encountering Globalization” by Domenique DeLucia. London, England.

After watching T-Shirt Travels and reading “Encountering Globalization”, it made me really reflect on the clothing I wear, the food I eat and the things I do. I never thought that buying a piece of fruit that is native to a certain country is fulfilling globalization. I love Kiwi, and Mango. I buy a package labeled “exotic fruits” every single time I am in a Sainsbury’s here in London. I never really thought of those fruits as being exotic or unique because they are so popular and almost everywhere all over the world.

There’s an area right near my dorm called Brick Lane, where they have an awesome market during the weekend. If you want fabulous Indian food in London, this is the place to be and I agree. It’s absolutely amazing. It’s also heavily populated by Indian people. That’s the crazy thing about London, it’s so vastly different with cultures and character that you can probably find a restaurant representing any single ethnicity without actually leaving the city of London. I think I have had Indian, Italian, Thai, Greek, Vietnamese, and Moroccan food. SOOOO good.

I have seen a couple different bands here already, most of them have been U.S. based bands/singers that are trying to market themselves overseas but I have been to a few pubs that I have had live locals musicians that have blown me away. I am hoping to be able to get their music on iTunes so I can show all my friends and family back in the states the awesome music scene that London underground venues have.

The Old Spitalfields Market was a crapshoot of all different types of items from all over the world. It was amazing. I had these amazing honey dough balls that were Greek that just thinking about them makes me wish I had one right now. There were beautiful leather journals from Italy, beautiful artwork from French artists and really awesome chocolates from Belgium.

“Some initiates flows and movement, others don’t. Some are on the receiving end of it than others; some of them are effectively imprisoned by it” (Doreen Massey, 242).

I think this is such an amazing and interesting take on globalization. Before watching T-Shirt Travels I would have thought that sending our second hand clothes to Africa and other 3rd world countries would be doing a load of good. While yes, it is in a way, it’s also why Africa doesn’t have any clothing manufacturers locally, global buyers and sellers took the market over. As the video states, slavery and colonization ruined and destroyed the lives of so many African lives that, America believes that by sending over second rate clothing makes up for all the troubles they caused. That’s how some people see it anyway.

I always thought that globalization could only be a positive thing. Bringing in different cultures and traditions could only open your outlook on the world more than ruin it, but I guess if the country that is trying to bring it’s values into yours is more powerful than yours, you feel as if they are taken over rather than just incorporating their selves into your world.

On the idea by Marshall McLuhan of “the world becoming a global village”, I would have to really agree. If any of you have been to Epcot’s World Showcase, that’s how London sort of feels to me. It’s also how many places in America are, and probably in other countries where an array of different cultures are being cultivated. It’s rare that you go to a country and they don’t have a McDonald’s or a Starbucks. They don’t have an Apple Store or they don’t own some electric device made my Sony or Panasonic. They haven’t heard of Ebay or Amazon. Or have no idea who the Beatles were. It’s essentially being apart of a Global Community and accepting and supporting one another and embracing the diversity for the betterment of out society as a whole.

We are all so connected by these products, companies, musical tastes that we sometimes forget that they all didn’t originate in our own country. “Globalization is about growing mobility across frontiers – mobility of goods and commodities, mobility of information and communications products and services, and mobility of people” (Robins, 239).

Products that we use in our everyday lives are developed and manufactures in other countries everyday, some without us even knowing. Right now, I am probably wearing a shirt made in China and pants made in Taiwan on a computer probably manufactured in China while I sit here in the UK, although I bought all of them in America. Crazy when you think about it.

Travel Log 7: “Global Responsibility – Part 1″ by Ryan Stuebe. London, England.

The cartoon below represents the attitude of the United Nations and the major world powers during the Rwandan Genocide in 1994. During this time, many countries around the world believed it was not their place to intervene in what they considered to be a civil conflict within Rwanda. The argument that many countries made was that they had no direct interests in the success or survival of Rwanda and its people. As a result of this, the Rwandan people were left to suffer in their greatest time of need.

The author is trying to convey several themes in this cartoon. First, he labels the U.N. as a businessman standing by while dead corpses pile up in front of him. I think this sends a powerful message about the U.N. and their true function in the world. While it is meant to secure the social security of countries, it can also be viewed as another way for world powers to protect their business interests. Second, it shows the self-protecting tendencies of governments around the world. Most powerful political figures had knowledge of the atrocities that were being committed in Rwanda, but did nothing to offer assistance to the suffering people in the region. The main reason for this was because their own citizens were not at risk of suffering or death, encouraging governments to turn a blind eye to the genocide unfolding.

The two major human rights that are violated in this picture are the right to life and security of person and that no individual shall be subject to cruel or inhumane behavior. During the genocide, people were brutally beaten, killed, and then left to rot on the side of the road. No human being should be subject to this kind of treatment. I believe that every country in the world had the obligation to help those suffering in Rwanda. Unfortunately, the political agendas of the major world powers inhibited military action because there was no plausible reason for these countries to expend resources in aiding Rwanda.

Similar human rights violations continue to occur everyday in all parts of the world. While I think it would be hard to carry out large-scale executions, such as those in the Rwandan genocide, there is still a great deal of murders driven by religious or ethical differences. Social and mass media have contributed a great deal to the combatting of human rights violations. Today, even the smallest stories can gain tremendous momentum in mainstream media. If an event such as the Rwandan genocide were to occur again, it would undoubtedly gain immediate global attention.

Travel Log 9: ” Stereotypes” by Danielle Godley. Florence, Italy.

I often forget that being a citizen of the United Sates offers you opportunities that people in other countries do not have or can ever dream of having. It is not just our clean water, freedom to bear arms, to speak our minds…but it is also just the ability to have a US passport. In many countries people are very happy to talk to you for the sole fact that you are from the United States. This came as an extremely shock to me due to the fact that I thought many people hated Americans. Other countries watch American news, read American newspapers, and follow the stock market. I also often forget that our President is in many ways the “leader of the free world”. This being said, people around the world scrutinize him as much as we do in America. Italians sometimes believe that because they are so informed on American news and media they know how American’s act a whole. Italians tend to think that Americans do not know how to relax, are too high-strung, rude, or have a very linear way of thinking. As much as it pains me to say I can definitely agree with some of Italians when they draw these conclusions about us. When comparing Americans to Italians we are very uptight. Although in contrast I do not see us as rude (at least the majority of the time). The owner of our favorite panini shop, Pino, has been in business for over 20 years. His shop is filled with both locals and a large majority of American study abroad students. At his store he often tells us how much he enjoys meeting American’s every semester because they are so polite and eager to learn all about the Italian culture. In the United States we pry ourselves on holding doors open for others, always saying “God bless you”, and moving over to make room for those on the sidewalk. In Italy that is not a thing: doors are slammed in your face, people will slam into without saying excuse me, and waiting in line is often optional.

I like to think of myself as someone who isn’t judgmental but after being warned multiple times I did come to Italy with some conclusions already drawn about the Italian culture. Coming to Italy you are also warned of the crime, creepy men, and the arrogance of the people. Because of what I was told I definitely judged the Italian people before coming here. I know it may seem naïve but I do not see more crime or robbery here than I would in the United States. On our first day of orientation a police officer came inform us that an Italian man’s favorite sport is women. This officer told us that an Italian man could grab your hair and rub against you and it is not frowned upon here as it is in the US. Although we are often stared at or even catcalled I have never felt that it is any more than in the United States. The men here are respectful and charming often calling you, “bella” which means beautiful. The Italian women on the other hand could see you get hit by a car, and would walk over your body. They are a lot tougher than I could have ever imagined them to be.

As an Italian American I was grew up believing that Italian take food very seriously, and also are extremely generous. After being in Italy for almost 2 months, my thoughts have been confirmed in this aspect. When ordering a panino I now know to never ask for both truffle oil, and balsamic because that is “ blasphemy”. If you do this it is actually insulting in Italy (like I said Italians take their food very seriously). If you are in a cafe and do not have enough money on you for what you have purchased often the owner will just tell you to come back the next day or not to worry about. They people here are very generous always giving you free rounds of drinks, or extra food for no reason other than it makes them happy to see you enjoying your meal. In this sense my stereotyped has been validated. The quote,“ In traveling, man must carry knowledge with him if he would bring home knowledge”( Simbach 127). This quote relates to stereotypes because you must be actively aware of what you are learning and observing as you travel. One day in another country could change your entire view of how you previously stereotyped a culture in the past.

The picture I choose to represent how Italians view Americans is a picture of a large group of people walking to work. Italians view up as uptight, unable to relax, and often too narrow minded in our way of thinking. This picture shows the monotony of people’s commute where no one is smiling or laughing. In Italy it is common take long lunches, or leave the office to go for a stroll and sit outside at a cafe with some espresso. I have found that after living in Italy for 2 months, I agree that as Americans we should learn to lighten up a bit and enjoy life more. As they say here we should work to live, not live to work.;_ylt=AwrTcYTGQu9U1Z4AGi2JzbkF;_ylu=X3oDMTIzYTM2N25pBHNlYwNzcgRzbGsDaW1nBG9pZANiYmE1YzNlNDYwZmM5OGJhNTFiOWNmOWE0ZTdlOWQ1OARncG9zAzQzBGl0A2Jpbmc-?.origin=&;_ylt=AwrTcYTGQu9U1Z4AGi2JzbkF;_ylu=X3oDMTIzYTM2N25pBHNlYwNzcgRzbGsDaW1nBG9pZANiYmE1YzNlNDYwZmM5OGJhNTFiOWNmOWE0ZTdlOWQ1OARncG9zAzQzBGl0A2Jpbmc-?.origin=&…+of+people+%3Cb%3Ewalking%3C%2Fb%3E+during+morning+%3Cb%3Ecommute%3C%2Fb%3E+slow+motion+25p+Stock+video&p=commuters+walking+nyc&oid=bba5c3e460fc98ba51b9cf9a4e7e9d58&…+of+people+%3Cb%3Ewalking%3C%2Fb%3E+during+morning+%3Cb%3Ecommute%3C%2Fb%3E+slow+motion+25p+Stock+video&b=0&ni=128&no=43&ts=&tab=organic&sigr=14mmroef2&sigb=15l2h5e6e&sigi=13oud6m53&sigt=12m8gikeg&sign=12m8gikeg&.crumb=fdcKlmjZiTk&fr=yhs-mozilla-001&


Travel Log 8 -Wise for the Worlds by Daniel Raza

Slimbach addresses how American students travel to other countries as a label to say that they have been to that particular place rather than stepping out of their comfort zone. He explains the mentality of American students as those who acquire “…little of the new cultural knowledge, language ability, and perspective change that marks a well-traveled mind” (34). He previously also mentions, “but neither are they eager to relinquish many of the comfortable amenities and social networks of home” (35). This attitude about study abroad students has developed because a lot of Westerners are seen to ignore the values of certain cultures and enjoy the luxury side of a country. Other authors have also commented on this issue and mentioned similar views. Author, Adam Weinberg (2007) of World Learning explains, “Far from experiencing another culture deeply on its own terms, these students simply get the American college experience in a different time zone” (36).

From personal experience both at Quinnipiac and especially in Thailand, I agree with these stereotypical views about American study abroad students. In America, people value acquiring things at fast paces. Many students are not willing to step out of the box or put themselves in situations where they do not have the amenities they are used to. Something out of norm sounds unusual, boring, disgusting or simply plain weird. I believe this sentimental view of Americans comes from lack of exposure to new things. Other cultures value difference whereas Americans remain stagnant. They do not like too many things to change or it messes order and structure. For example, it shocks people to this day that Middle-Eastern and Indian people eat food with their hands, including rice. Westerners simply find this dirty and unusual. Furthermore, my roommates at Quinnipiac would find Pakistani food to look unusual and not picture worthy so they would not be open to try it. Food is just one example but there are many other things that could potentially hold people by.

I, myself, find myself guilty of these accusations at times. I think I manage to be guilty when it comes to unusual foods like trying different animals, bugs and drinks. As far as trying out new things, I like to be very open-minded without “judging a book by its cover” but there are things that I simply cannot ingest because of religious values. I sense a lot of the qualities described above in Americans. Being in Thailand exposes you to the vast differences between your own culture and the Thai culture. Thai culture has its similarities with the Pakistani culture in some aspects but it is totally opposite from the American culture. Respect and caring about others is highly valued in the Thai culture. Since this is a hierarchy culture, the young ones are always seen given a wai and a bow to their elders. Age is not the only factor that determines this, rather the level of your class (freshmen, sophomore, junior and senior), and years of experience in a workplace are also taken into account. My roommate, Tae, is a senior in college and when I walk with him, he is given a wai with a bow from his underclassmen. I find it fascinating how much respect is valued in the Thai culture.


Lady Boy Cabaret Show

Thailand embraces all kinds of people with distinct taste and personalities. People here tend to be much more open to others than in America. For example, there is a growing population of ladyboys in Thailand. Lady boys or otherwise known as Transvestites are men who turn themselves into women. As a matter of fact, Thailand is the cheapest and best place to go through such a process. Transvestitism is in fact very common here. Thailand is comprised of some of the most beautiful lady boys in the world. Since they are such a huge part of the modern day culture, I think every person who comes to Thailand should experience the lady boy cabaret show that is acted out in many provinces of Thailand. When I mentioned seeing such a show, it was simply “too disgusting” or

‘too weird” for any American student to watch. Everyone thought it was weird for me to see a “stupid drag show” that can be found in America as well. Everyone joked that I had this mere interest in lady boys for wanting to see such a show. However, it was not the drag show that I am interested in rather it is being exposed to how the guys embrace their decision to become women and how the Thai people very well accept them

Some ways to discourage this type of stereotype of study abroad students would be to have programs that involve the students to engage in cultural activities that they would not experience on their own. For example, the organization I choose to go with, TEAN, took us to different excursions that allowed us to step out of our comfort zones. We visited the Baan Ton Chok village during the second week of our arrival in Thailand. I was very hesitant to go so early in the program as I was not even adapted to the culture in the city. The people in the village did not have much to offer and lived very simple lives. All of us were put into situations that made us uncomfortable at one time or another. It was either the squat toilet or the ants or the hard mattresses. I thought it was a really good experience, as I would not have imagined doing that if I was not part of this program. This experience led to the conclusion that I will be a mindful traveler by accepting what the culture has to offer. Coming to Thailand and living in Marriot or another 4-5 star hotel does not allow us to experience the people of the society and their ways. If were to promote another view of American study abroad students, we would raise volunteer opportunities that allow us to give back to the community.

My host family at Ban Ton Chok Village

My host family at Ban Ton Chok Village

Travel Log 9: “Exploring Stereotypes” by Sarah Soucy. Gold Coast, Australia.

We all like to believe that we are open-minded individuals who would never pass judgment upon someone who we don’t know, unfortunately this is not always that case. We all end up in a situation at one time or another where we find ourselves not knowing a whole lot about a person’s background or culture and sometimes certain stereotypes we have heard can creep forward in our minds. I have learned while studying abroad that I sometimes use stereotypes to fill a void in my mind when I know very little about an individual. Just going off of stereotypes can sometimes be easier than taking the time out of our day to learn more about a person. I have found that when I have taken the time to learn about a person that many of the stereotypes that I had in my mind weren’t even close to being an accurate way to describe the person I was talking about.

Australia is a lot more diverse than I originally was expecting. When I thought of Australia before I left the United States I thought of beach blonde surfer guys walking around everywhere. While there are people with blonde hair who surf, that is very far from an accurate representation of the Australian population. Australia is made up of individuals from all over the world who work and live with one another, and as far as I can see, there is little judgment from anyone in regards to what race someone is or where they are from. When I first arrived in Australia I realized how friendly everyone was and I just naturally assumed that everyone was going to be inviting. One thing that shocked me about the Australian culture is their codes change when you go out at night. Many places have strict dress codes, especially for males, and some places have a no tattoo policy. They are trying to uphold a standard of high-class with proper attire and what they consider “appropriate behavior.” This was something very new to me and very different compared to America. Back at home bars are very welcoming to customers because that means business, in Australia they will not let you in if you even appear to be slightly intoxicated or if they find you to not be dressed up enough.

Although I try to be as open-minded as possible I have found myself resorting to certain stereotypes while I am out with my friends but I am quickly reminded that I am just the same as everyone else. Since Australia is such a beautiful place, obviously many people want to travel there. Recently there have been large groups of Asian individuals touring around where I live. Unfortunately, I have found myself resorting to the stereotypes that they are always in large groups and taking pictures of everything and whenever I hear a large group of people I just assume it is another bus of tourist. As I was thinking about this more the other night, this is not a stereotype for me to pass as I often walk in group with my friends and when we see something we like we also take pictures. It is not just one culture that walks around taking pictures. I definitely believe that many people use these stereotypes to avoid confrontation and the acceptance that many cultures are the same when you really think about it and all you need to do is talk to someone to learn a little bit about them.

Since being in Australia I have learned about many of the stereotypes that individuals have towards Americans, the biggest one, Americans are rude. Whenever I say “please” or “thank you” to someone they automatically assume I am Canadian because Americans would never say those things. It amazes me that everywhere I go people ask me if I am from Canada, I have never once been asked if I am from America. I think this stereotypes has developed because sometimes Americans can be very blunt but even when I am at home, I feel like most people still say “thank you” which is why this stereotype shocked me. The stereotype of Americas that wasn’t as surprising is that Americans are loud. Compared to the laid back style of Australians, you can pick out a group of Americans in a room. They are typically drinking more and talking much louder than everyone else. I think this stereotype has evolved because in most situations this is how people usually act. One stereotype that made me a little upset that some students at my school have is that American students aren’t smart and are lazy. I think this stereotype has developed due to a lack of knowledge about how our education system is set up compared to theirs. The way Australian classes are compared to the way American classes are, is very different, and for someone who doesn’t understand the other I can see how this stereotype developed. It definitely takes a little while to adjust to the Australian style of teaching but it is not impossible and I have found American students more than capable to keep up with the school work and not be dumb when it comes to tests and projects.

The picture I chose is one showing a map of Australia and in different parts of the country it shows what it is “known” for. When many people think of Australia they immediately think of sharks and big spiders. Personally I am not a fan of either of these things, and since I have been here I have not seen one shark and about 2-3 spiders (none of which were poisonous). In many cases the media can distort what we think about a place and this can lead to many of the different stereotypes that we have towards a country and the people living there. If we are unable to travel to a country, what we see and hear is the only thing we have to base our opinion off of and when these reports are so dramatic our opinions became dramatic. Although Australia do have sharks, spiders and hot deserts it has so much more to offer than appears to the naked eye which is why it is so important to learn more about a country and its culture. Like Slimbach states, “But our real frontier lies elsewhere, in traveling more wisely – transforming fragments of information into real knowledge that can then be applied to forming cross –cultural friendships, cultivating understanding, and addressing the most pressing problems that confront humankind (Slimbach 150).”  By doing the research and learning ourselves we can gain a greater appreciation for the world and a better understanding to help avoid these stereotypes we tend to be drawn to and develop our own thoughts and opinions.

Works Cited

Slimbach, Richard. Becoming World Wise a Guide to Global Learning. Sterling, VA.: Stylus Pub., LLC, 2010. Print.

Travel Log 8: ”Wise for the World” Part 2 by Leah Chernick. Paris, France.

When reading about what Slimbach wrote about the consumerist/entitlement mentality that many American study abroad students acquire I could not agree with him more. “Far from experiencing another culture deeply and on its own terms,” notes Adam Weinberg; “these students (at best) simply get the American college experience in a different time zone” (36). Slimbach draws upon several familiar examples of the consumerist/entitlement mentality of the “typical” American study abroad student: going to internet cafes, going to international clubs and bars, and coming home with a mere online photo album with “been there done that” bucket list check off. What are missing from the experience is the cultural knowledge, language skills, and new perspectives from the experience. This attitude has developed towards American study abroad students, because so many of us have, as I like to call, a cookie cutter experience of abroad. We go to all the big sights we must see travel with Americanized travel groups to different places. The stereotypical American study abroad student stands out. They are loud, go to only the tourist attractions, travel only with American students, have little knowledge about the country’s culture with a “whatever” attitude. While reading what Slimbach wrote about the idea of this “entitled” American I was somewhat embarrassed to read the blatant truth, and yet completely agree with what he is saying. At times I have found myself guilty of these stereotypes and accusations. For example, when all I want is ice in my coffee I am clearly guiding myself right to the point of these entitlement accusations. I try my best to steer clear of Americanized chains and go local as much as possible. When I first arrived in Paris (not knowing a word of French) I was honestly shock to see that everyone spoke French and did not use English, although many do speak English. At cafes and in stores I try and speak as much French as possible and even if they respond in English I keep going with the little French I know. People are much more appreciative when you try to speak the language. My friends and I try to blend in as much as possible, as in Paris it is very easy for American’s to stick out. When I had some friends come to visit two weeks ago, is when I really realized how much I have adapted to le Parisienne lifestyle. They were loud on the metro and spoke in English, they did not attempt to speak in French in cafes, they did not wear all black, they walked slow on the streets, and they did not know the common courtesy of saying Bonjour and Au revoir when entering or exiting a restaurant or shop. I felt awkward and embarrassed. On the other hand, because when we were at a café and they did not speak any French to the waiter/waitress and I ordered and spoke as much as possible in French I felt like I had learned so much. The waiters and waitresses greatly appreciated my efforts especially when compared to my friends. However, I am sure when I visit other countries I definitely stick out like a sore thumb, because I am not accustomed to their ways of that culture. When traveling abroad with American students we can discourage this stereotype of American study abroad students by doing research on the country’s culture prior to visiting. Traveling in small groups will also make us blend in more no matter where we go, as we do not want to attract attention which happens when you are in large groups and are being herded around like sheep. Also, trying to speak the country’s language or even a language other than English will discourage the stereotype. As time goes by and as we adapt more and more our stereotypes lessen over time. However, once the next “batch” of American study abroad students comes it will start all over again. To not be “that” American study abroad student we can do small things everyday, like how I have “befriended” the local boulanger down the street from my apartment where I have my daily croissant au amands et Nutella (yes its very yummy and nutritious breakfast!).

Travel Log 6: “The Mindful Traveler” by Leah Chernick. Paris, France.

We all strive to be a “mindful traveler,” as a “mindful traveler” is to approach our field settings with a level of sensitivity and curiosity that raises our conscious awareness of how we affect the social and natural environments we enter and act upon.” (74) Being a “mindful traveler” takes effort, as there are many aspects a traveler must be mindful of if he/she strives to be a mindful traveler. One must take into consideration the economic, cultural, social, ecological, and social aspects of one’s host country in order to successfully be a mindful traveler. The carefree drifter is not necessarily a bad thing; he/she may strive to be a mindful traveler but just has not yet reached that point. The carefree traveler does not enhance the host country he or she is in. For example, they do not seize opportunities to help out the community he or she is living in. The carefree drifter may strive to be the mindful traveler but in my opinion is the less conscious version of the mindful traveler. They do not try to assimilate to the culture they are surrounded by and may not seek out learning about the culture they are living in or visiting.   Being the mass tourist is in my opinion the easiest option and just because it is the easiest option does not mean it’s the right one. The mass tourist visits all the touristy sights and does not seek any cultural aspects of the country. All they want is a mere instagram picture and are satisfied by that. Here I am being the mass tourist in my host country (even more embarrassing):



Yes, it is ok to go see and take pictures of all the tourist attractions, but it is also important to seek out the cultural aspects of the country you are visiting or your host country. Sometimes it is difficult when you are traveling just for a weekend to fit everything on the itinerary; of course you want to see all the sights that everyone comes to that country to see. The working definition of the global community definitely relates to the mindful traveler To be successfully involved in the global community one must be or strive to be the mindful traveler. I do not believe the definition of the global community needs to be adjusted at all. To incorporate mindful travel more into my abroad experience is by seeking out more than a check off the bucket list. A genuine desire to learn and experience is necessary to become more of a mindful traveler. One way I like to do this is by seeking out more than just the tourist attractions while visiting a country for a short amount of time. Find out where the locals go- whether it be where they eat, shop, or go out. It is a great way to interact with the local culture and analyze what they enjoy and who they are. I was very much so brought up this way. When vacationing my parents would never choose the first place on the map that they see or the most popular place to go. For example, when we went to Mexico they would never want to go to Cancun because it is basically a tourist trap and has almost no culture at all. Instead we went to Tulum which was much more cultural and had a local flavor and we really got to know what Mexico was like. I am very much the same way. Although while abroad I may chose to go to more popular locations instead of small towns I try to seek out more than just the restaurant next to our hostel or the museum everyone goes to. Also while traveling to different countries, I like to attempt to speak the country’s language. I saw how far learning a bit of French has gotten me, therefore I feel it is very important to at least try to use the native language even if it is with a simply please or thank you. One of the first few weeks upon arriving in Paris, my friends and I were looking to see what concerts were coming up in Paris. In a very last minute manner we found out that Kiesza was playing down the street from our apartment at a local venue. We got tickets and had zero expectations; all we wanted to do was to see what a local concert would be like in Paris. Well I assure you it was quite different than what a concert would be like in America. The audience showed very little emotion and did not dance or sing along. We assimilated to the venue’s culture as much as possible by doing as the Parisennes were doing- no loud noises while the performer is on, no swaying arms etc. My friends and I could have easily been the loud annoying Americans screaming and singing and dancing, however we did not want to disrupt the concert’s culture. I thought about how it has to be interesting for performers to perform across the world and see the different concert cultures and behaviors. Although unexpected, this was definitely a learning experience for us. In a way, I being a mindful traveler in the early stages of my abroad experience in my own host culture. I sought out to go to a musical venue where I wanted to blend in and even learn about they host culture. It was a new experience in my host culture that I had not seen before and I learned a lot from it. IMG_5479

Travel Log 5: “Conversations” by Kayla Vitas. Sevilla, Spain.

One of the first people I met when I landed in Madrid was a female named Ara, who I soon learned would not only be my program director but also the person I could reach out to with any questions or problems that I had while living in Sevilla. Being very nervous and not knowing what to expect during our four-day orientation, Ara made me feel very comfortable with the journey that I was embarking on. I have gotten to know Ara very well due to the fact that she has recently helped me when I needed to see a doctor, change my living situation and navigate to certain places in Sevilla. She has lived in Sevilla her whole life and she is very helpful and patient when I try to speak Spanish, which is why I decided to learn more about my host culture through her.

Ara and I started out talking about youth versus age in the Spanish culture. I told her that in the U.S. young people are valued more than the elderly and she nodded her head as if she already knew that. In response, she said that in the past people were more respectful towards elders but now it is becoming more and more unpopular to respect them. She used an example of her riding the bus and how she normally does not see people giving up their seats for the elderly to sit down. However, we started to talk about the “usted” form of speech, which is used when speaking in Spanish. Just like I learned throughout my high school Spanish classes, “usted” is a formal way to talk to the elderly. Ara explained to me that in the past, it was normal for the youth to use the “usted” form when talking to an elder that they did not know in order to show them respect but she said she very rarely hears it being used anymore. This surprised me because in America, I was constantly reminded that it is only appropriate to use the “usted” form when speaking to someone who is older.

After talking about the differences between the values of youth versus age, we switched the direction of our conversation to comparing materialism versus spirituality. In the U.S. culture acquiring material wealth is favored and is shown as a sign of success. For example, someone who makes more money may be seen wearing more expensive brands such as Louis Viutton, Burberry and Gucci. Being in Spain for about a month now, I really can not tell whether or not someone is wealthy just by the clothes they are wearing. Ara explained to me that due to the economic crisis, the difference between the wealthy and the poor people is more obvious for natives in Spain. The intermediate people are becoming more part of the poor people because they are losing things such as their houses. She said it is sad because the differences are becoming more and more obvious and explained it as being “another world.”

The last value that Ara and I discussed was independence versus dependence. In our culture it is not healthy to be dependent on family or friends and we are often forced to become independent when we go to college around the age of eighteen. Ara started off by saying that it is normal for someone at the age of twenty-six or even thirty to live with their parents but it does not mean that the are necessarily dependent. She said that Spaniards are very independent because people are immigrating due to the fact that they don’t have jobs and it all goes back to dealing with the economic crisis. People are becoming more and more independent because they don’t have much in Sevilla so they are forced to look for something better. In the past, young people are used to always being with their families but now they are looking to move and get a better job in another country. She told me that her friend used to be very dependent but he had to move to Poland in order to get a job and have a successful life, which caused him to become very independent.

Ara and I in her office after our conversation

Ara and I, in her office, after our conversation

Thinking of my involvement back at Quinnipiac, I am not as involved as I would like to be. I am a member of Kappa Delta sorority and participate in many Panhellenic events but I have always been interested in the Student Government Association (SGA). I have not looked into joining SGA because I have never been apart of a government and programming board so I feel a little intimidated. From what I know about SGA, they are a very beneficial aspect of Quinnipiac and are always looking out for the student’s best interest. I think it would be beneficial to sit down with a representative of SGA to learn more about what they do “behind the scenes” and what it takes to be apart of the organization. This may help me to gain the confidence to get involved with the student government and to help contribute with satisfying the other students at Quinnipiac.

Travel log 6: “The Mindful Traveler” by Jessica Sweeney. London, England.

To me what distinguishes ‘the mindful traveler’ from the ‘carefree drifter’ would be that they figure out what they are curious about, what interests them, what they want to learn more about, and they go find that information. The ‘carefree drifter’ is more likely to go with the flow, or just do things that everyone does, and not decide to look into new things they might not have otherwise. I relate to both of these in a way. I see myself more so as a ‘mindful traveler’ because although I did the normal, tourist things, I have also made it a point to figure out some things I want to see, or try, talk to locals, look things up and go check it out.

These concepts relate to our class definition of “global community” because in our definition we discussed it was all living things coming together, and that is essentially what a part of tourism is. When you are a tourist, you are coming together with the locals of wherever you are travelling to, as well as other tourists, sharing the same rights and trying to make the world a great place. As tourists, there are things that are important to see in every country, however this course stressed that it’s important to go off the beaten path to find areas, restaurants, and places, we wouldn’t normally think of.

I have found myself to be both the ‘mindful traveler’ and the ‘carefree drifter’. At times, I feel like I am completely soaking everything in and truly appreciating the fact that I am in London, and get to live in this beautiful city. However, there are times where I seem to forget how lucky I am, and I forget to take in my surroundings. I will find myself just walking somewhere quickly, just to get there, without taking any notice to what I am passing by, or anything around me. I think ‘mindful travelling’ is extremely important because otherwise one cannot simply get the same appreciation for a city as the locals do. If you are just going through the motions of being a tourist and not immersing yourself in the culture, you’re never going to fully appreciate it. The other day my friends and I wanted to go to this restaurant because it has sounded cool, and been on a list of things to do in London. However, once we got to this restaurant and started looking at the menu, a local came up to us and told us the restaurant really wasn’t that great and then gave us a few more options within our price range that he thought would better suit what we were looking for. After reading the chapter for this week and really thinking about it, I think this put things in perspective for me. Although I have been here for quite a while, I know I don’t interact with the locals as much as I should. The times that I have interacted with them I always get great recommendations for things to do, places to eat, pubs to go to, and I have never been let down. I think what makes being a ‘mindful traveler’ hard is the fact that it is so easy to slip into being a tourist, because it’s comfortable and something we can get used to pretty quickly. It’s trying to make friends with the locals, and finding places tourists don’t go too, that can be difficult if we’re not willing to make the effort.

Sherlock Homes Pub, Spring2015I chose this picture because this is a pub that my friends and I had found when we were aimlessly walking one night. We made note of where it was, and the name and made sure to go back. We went back about a week later, and it ended up being a really fun bar that we could tell wasn’t your typical tourist bar. Although it wasn’t that busy because it was a Monday night, this is somewhere we will go back too and hopefully meet more locals to find other pubs. I am enjoying finding cool places that you can’t see in an article “20 Best Things to do in London.”