Travel Log 10: “Encountering Globalization” By Alexandra Borges. Cardiff, Wales.

Globalization in the words of Kevin Robins “is about growing mobility across frontiers—mobility of goods and commodities, mobility of information and communications products and services, and mobility of people” (Robins, p. 239). It is growth across the world as a single entity, thus moving civilization forward. However, although many may see this growth and progression of the world as good things, as we can see from The Travels of a T-shirt in the Global Economy, there are always two sides. Unfortunately nothing in this world can be neutral with that being said globalization is a two-sided coin. It true that we the growth and change in the world can be visibly seen with each passing year, but the fact remains that there is a cost to everything.

In globalization, you have exploitation, questionable labor regulations, and regulations that don’t quite cover all of the people it should. This is where global community comes in, its our obligation as members of the global community to question the dark side of globalization from our view, but also to look a globalization from the view of those “we” believe are being exploited. I think something that we don’t really consider when thinking about things like globalization being exploitative is the perspective of those who are at the bottom of the food chain, the workers. In the video, their mention of a woman working in the “sweat shops” in china that always looked her best and loved her job even if it was tedious and boring simply because it was only thing that allowed her the freedom of independence. She made her own money and spent that money how she pleased without being restrained by her family/village that even if they had the money would not buy her the things she wanted. Her job gave her financial independence. That being said we also mustn’t disregard the fact that not all stories are like this woman’s, but the fact remains that we always have this assumption that the people at the bottom need justice without thinking about the repercussions of removing “exploitive” matter.

Times have changed since way back when, the way money was originally made in any culture/country especially in poor ones has changed whether because resources are no longer available or because somewhere else can provide resources cheaper and better. Thus leaving the markets, “sweat shops”, and resell of objects we take for granted and throw away, which some of the global community view as “exploitive” behavior. However, even if that is so the responsibility of the global community is to determine whether or not removing this exploitation will really benefit all the parties involved. If we get rid of this import/export because the work being done is exploitative towards the workers, will there be another output source of income for those people and their community? A bigger picture is usually needed that’s why globalization itself is such a delicate subject, but one that “we”, members of the global community must take responsibility for.

Back at the beginning, when the class first came up with our working definition for global community, we were still blind to the world around us. We had perhaps this notion of what we believed a global community consists of and even perhaps considered it lightheartedly. However, from the experiences that I’m sure every one of us has had, we can begin to see that what we thought was a relatively decent definition deserve much more time. Our definition was that a “Global Community is comprised of all living things who make up smaller communities that are joined by the desire to achieve human rights.” However, the global community that we thought seemed simple, we realize is so much more complex. To be quite honest I don’t think we fully understood the weight of actually being part of and participating within the global community. It’s not per say a burden, but rather this sense/weight of responsibility to the people of the world. It’s obvious that our definition is one that needs to be looked over once again and altered; it’s too broad and doesn’t cover things that we are now aware of. These last couple of weeks there has been this recurring theme of what and how human rights play into global community and now globalization. This exploitation with globalization is where human rights play a big part in. It’s obvious from not only the reading with Kevin Robin and the video, The Travel of a T-shirt in the Global Economy, that although there are benefits to had for the world of globalization there is often the question of maintaining the human rights of those at the bottoms of the chain. It gets tricky like I was speaking about earlier because although it’s a question of maintaining these peoples’ rights, there’s also maintaining their livelihood. For some of these people those jobs which we think are exploitive, are their only source of income. That’s why there are groups of organizations all over the world trying to come up with ways in which to protect these people of the country while maintaining the progression of globalization.

It’s my belief that the role of the abroad student is to experience the world for what it is, to be enlightened on how it really works. This chance that we’ve been given to travel abroad gives us the opportunity to activity participate on a global scales, something we aren’t used to. It gives us a chance to interact with peoples of the world that we would never have a chance to meet back home. Exchanging information whether for the pleasure of knowledge or simply to educate yourself on the country in which you are staying or culture you’re immersed in, is not only participating in the global community, but also in globalization.

As a student abroad we are bound to see the shadows of America, there’s no escaping it. I know I’ve seen the McDonalds’, Burger Kings’, T. ‘K’. Maxx ( TJ Maxx), capitalism and globalization. There’s nothing more to it, enterprises such as these connect the world. Not to mention the other of the globalization, of which we of the younger generation are exceptionally savvy in, media. Communication and information passed and had across the world at the palms of our hands. The younger generation, us students, have world at our fingertips, we have a duty to share our experiences, whether good or bad, with people. Hence, speaking to locals, our blogs and travel logs, Facebook’s, Twitters, and Instagrams. Obviously, our purpose being abroad to experience the world and what it has to offer and social media can be a barrier/obstacle that stops you from doing this. That’s why we must exercise balance use it as a way to put knowledge forth rather than allowing it to hold you down to the ghosts of your pasts and longings for home. Our obligation to do our part in becoming responsible adults in the higher schemes of the world and global community, to think of new ideas, solutions, and questions to ask of the world. Talk to the locals around you; ask them questions, find out what they think should change in the world. What’s their view on some of the world’s problems? Only then can to truly understand the people, the members that stand beside you in the global community.

I chose this picture because I think that it speaks volumes about the way people view the world. We’ve been talking about global community and globalization, this sense of unity and connection throughout the world, but often people lose sight of the big picture. Yes, we all are different, yet work together when we get along, but at the end of the day the world is all of ours, its shared. A true global community is one with no presumptuous labels and no barriers.

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