Travel Log 7 “Global Responsibility” Part 1 by Abby Spooner. Dunedin, New Zealand

During our workshop we discussed the notion of universal human rights. As an American it is easy to simplify this issue to surround complex political policies such as racism, gay marriage, or religious practices. However, in reality it is far more than this. We see basic human rights as natural or god given. Not many of us contemplate human rights on a daily basis because within our own society it is not something we are required to fight for. Unfortunately the simple and most basic human right, the right to life, is not possible in every nation. Yet as privileged Americans we often turn a blind eye to the harsh realities of third world countries simply because it is not happening to us. This is exactly what happened in the Rwandan Genocide, and if we don’t change our perspective on foreign relations soon, it will happen again and again.

Genocide, never again? Unlikely.

The outsiders view on genocide and the associated human rights are presented in the cartoon above. The depicted graveyard with several gravestones creates a very bleak and somber feeling upon first glance. After a closer look, it is evident that this image has a meaning deeper than an everyday gravesite. All the stones name a genocide and say ‘never again’ yet are surrounded with later dated stones with the same words. This exposes both the bogus worldview on genocide. Following every tragedy we say never again, but is there every a follow through? In reality graveyards are constantly expanding every day. This image leaves in impression that just like a real graveyard, another stone will be carved and placed next to the others. The artist is sending the message that actions speak louder than words. He is showing and proving that simply saying ‘never again’ is no enough. In order to prevent genocide and stop the addition of gravestones something must be done to stop it before it happens again. We can no longer afford to sit back and watch minorities die every few years. Action is required from our world leaders not only for the benefit of the minorities but also for the sake of the global community.

In the case of Rwanda, the genocide only escalated once the Belgian soldiers decided to evacuate and abandon their peacekeeping mission. As a result the worldview of human rights and genocide can be connected to the principles of rites of passage. Slimbach says, “we need to step back and think about the actual conditions triggering our mental and emotional disorientations, and our physical response to it”(Slimbach, 165). Although Slimbach is referring to the rites of passage of an abroad traveler, the same principal can be allied to the reaction Belgian world leaders had. Once the unfamiliarity of the situation became to harsh of a reality the Belgian leaders and soldiers got freighted and left. If those in power had taken a step back and thought about the conditions before making a physical response the fate of Rwanda may have been different and the whole genocide prevented. It is now our job as global citizens to remember this tragedy so that when a the beginnings of a similar situation arise again, a more thought out plan can be executed. We all have a voice and we all must use that voice to protect not only our own human rights but also the human rights of the global community. Just as the individual in the picture below is jumping the gap between groups- we must all join in and recognize the global community as one entity endowed with the same universal human rights.

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Mural created in a Rwandan village following the Genocide Source: The Japan Times News

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Travel Log 11 “Holding up Half the Sky” by Aileen Sheluck – London, England

The book Half the Sky was a very interesting read for me. It was really eye opening but saddening at the same time. I think this is a topic that is difficult for a lot of people to discuss or read about because it is so sensitive. Especially being a girl, it is really difficult to read about how other girls in other parts of the world are being so oppressed and are not allowed the same rights simply based on their gender. I think the overall message of the book is to show how so many women are still being oppressed. I think this is an issue that not a lot of people realize is happening since most women in America don’t experience this kind of oppression. The authors really just want people to understand how much these women deal with. I think this book uses experiences and stories as a call-to-action for people to stand up for universal human rights. Everyone can do something – whether it’s donating a small amount, physically visiting and aiding these areas, or simply raising awareness about this massive issue. I think this is what the authors’ real purpose what is writing this book.

One girl’s story that impacted me was that one Dina – the seventeen-year-old who was raped by men of the Hutu Interahamwe militia. Her story is so shocking. And what’s even more shocking is that this sort of behavior is common in her area. She was left, basically to die, in the grass. “’My people had no tribal conflict with them…their only purpose was to rape me and leave me bleeding and leaking wastes’” (Kristof 85). This line in particular really gave insight into the helplessness of these girls. There was absolutely no reason for the attacks against them. Dina was so injured, and her family couldn’t afford to take her to the care facility. Luckily for Dina, HEAL Africa was able to take her to Goma for treatment. Even after she was healed, however, she returned back home. She thought that, no matter where she went, she was exposed to a tremendous amount of risk (whether it was the war coming close to Goma or being raped again in her hometown). It really is so awful what happens to these girls, and the people who commit these heinous crimes are never tried for it. They believe they have a right to violate them. It’s horrifying.

There is a section in the book about micro lending, which I really relate to since I am a finance major. Micro lending is the lending of very small amounts of money to people in a developing country. For example, in the book, a woman named Saima took out a $65 loan to buy beads and cloth for embroidery. To companies in countries like America, $65 is absolutely nothing. But to women like Saima, $65 is everything. I find this whole concept very interesting. There is an experience for Quinnipiac students in my program to take a micro lending trip to Nicaragua. I’m not sure if I in particular will be taking this trip, but doing things like this can really help a lot of people in developing countries. They really have nothing, and lending such a small amount of money means that it isn’t really a big deal if the debt can’t be repaid. Of course, the idea is that this small loan will allow a person’s business to grow big enough to when they can repay the loan easily. But the main point is to give people something for a foundation. It is very easy for people to get involved with projects like this, and it makes a huge difference in the lives of the people who receive the loans.

Travel Log 11 “Holding up Half the Sky” by Chris Wilner, London, England

Coming from the United States, you never realize what you have until someone explains how much worse off they are or how much better off you are for living in the country that you do. Across the world I have always known that women are treated differently than men, just as they are in the United States, but in the United States is something as minimal as lower wages for the same work. I’m not saying this isn’t an issue because it is, but compared to the hardships that woman in the rest of the world face; wages are nothing but a drop in the bucket. Half the Sky was an eye-opening documentary depicting the hardships that women must endure in order to stay alive.

I decided to watch the documentary instead of reading the book and thinking about it now, I’m not sure which would have been harder to do. Through watching the documentary, I was given the visuals of the injustices that women were and are subjected to even today. In order to watch the documentary I had to do it in two sittings because it was too hard of a topic to subject myself to the pain that the women were enduring for four straight hours. During the breaks that I took, I went into my kitchen to find my flat mates sitting at the kitchen table and I did in fact try to explain what the documentary was about, but I don’t think I was effective in my description. Sitting here actually thinking about the documentary and how I would explain it to my mother if I were to tell her about it I would most likely start by saying that Half the Sky is a story about hope. In every aspect of the documentary, you find women and girls hoping to find a better life or hoping to forget the lives they had before they were saved. Half the Sky recounts the injustices that women are subjected to in developing nations, many of which are a way of life for these women. Things like rape, and female genital castration are two very gruesome examples and yet they are seen as things that just happen in these nations. It is hard to think of the documentary without feeling angry because of the way that men treat women. In the developing world women are seen as objects instead of people. In India, women get married and then their husbands sell them to brothels and collect the money that they make from servicing customers.

When we think about the history of the United States and the problems that women faced including fighting for the right to vote, it is interesting to think about what those women would feel if they knew about those problems now. I also think it is bewildering that we know about these issues and yet there is not much that has been done to correct the problems. The people that advocate for the issues are the ones that have faced those issues in their lives. The person that I was stricken by the most from watching the documentary was the woman who was extracting children out of brothels in Cambodia. There were two things going through my mind when I was watching the documentary; I kept thinking that this woman reminded me of my mother because they are both strong women that are willing to help anyone in need. I admired the woman in Cambodia because she was in the same position as the girls that she was rescuing from the brothels and she was the one going to the brothels to rescue the girls. She would go into territories that were extremely dangerous and risk her life in order to make the life of another girl better. The other thing that I kept thinking about while watching the documentary was what if my sister was in a predicament like this? I wouldn’t be able to sit by and let something like that happen to her and it makes me wonder how anyone really thinks any of the actions that are taking place are acceptable.

I remember when watching the segment in the documentary about the sex trafficking of young girls in Cambodia and I was horrified that something like this could actually be capable, that parents were okay with selling their daughters into prostitution and especially at ages as young as two or three. The woman in Cambodia, I believe her name was Samalimom, is extremely brave for not only risking her own life to save the girls, but also willing to provide education for them. This woman is an example of what everyone should do when they see injustice; although she may exert fear, she is strong. She advocates for this cause not only because she was subject to it, but also because she doesn’t want anyone to have to continue to face the hardships that those girls are subject to. In the documentary there was a point where they went to a brothel in order to extract a girl and they had to leave because of the military forces that were coming to prevent girls from leaving the brothel. The fear from a force like that would deter anyone from wanting to complete a task such as that and yet this woman continues to do it because of how passionate she is for the survival of girls and the treatment that they endure. When in the field Samalimom wears a hat and sunglasses in order to try to mask her appearance and yet people know who she is because of the work that she does. It makes me wonder if she fears for her life when she goes home because someone might try to get back at her for “stealing” their “property”.

Living here in London, it’s hard to think of a particular issue described in the book because I don’t see many of those issues occurring. The way that I imagine London is in the same context with New York City, it is a metropolis in which people come to live in order to have better opportunities than they had in the past. One issue that I can think of that might happen here in England would be gender-based violence. Now, this may be due to the region that people emigrated from or it may just be a part of society. The reason I say this is that for many cultures and throughout history, women were perceived more often as objects as they were people. Objects that were meant to take care of the man of the house, doing all of his cooking, cleaning and taking care of his offspring. This topic was introduced in the documentary through threats and physical abuse. This topic is something that is prevalent throughout the entire world and manifests in a variety of ways. Physical and verbal abuse are something that I can relate to in a personal sense as my mother was a victim of both and although I will not go into detail about it, I can say that it is something that no one should have to endure in their lives.

There are two different senses in which an individual in my field of study might be able to have a positive contribution to gender based violence (GBV). As a student, simply spreading the word about it to my peers and through social networks would go a long way as it would show the problems that one might face if found in a position of GBV. Talking from the sense of a marketing perspective, spreading the word takes on a whole different meaning as advertisements could be created to reach entire communities. In order to prevent a problem from happening, people need to know that it is happening in the first place. The first step in any problem is recognizing that there is one. It is important to increase the scope of the problem and its impact, services should be improved to those who have been involved in gender-based violence and prevention methods should be strengthened in order to make the largest impact on the problem at hand.

TL11: “Holding Up Half the Sky” by Danielle Tomlinson Normandy, France

“Young people graduate from university without understanding of poverty at home or abroad.” (Kristof, WuDunn) Half the Sky tells the stories of women and girls alike around the world who suffer from issues such as lack of education, sex trafficking, lack of proper healthcare and gender based violence. A mother in Somaliland faces death upon conception. A girl in India faces the commercial sex trade. A girl in Vietnam tries to use her education as mobility.  And a girl in Sierra Leone who was raped realizes that gender based violence is ingrained in her culture. The stories of these women and girls convey a very real reality that often we are not exposed to. Women and girls face these acts of violence, discrimination and violations each day. Half the Sky embodies these tragedies and shows that in the face of adversity many of these women rise above. “Of all the issues… Gender-based violence is the most widespread. Sure enough, in a country like Sierra Leone, it’s very extreme; it’s a past conflict situation but rape and domestic abuse happen everywhere. They really are one of the most ubiquitous forms of gender based oppression” (Kristof, WuDunn) In Half the Sky the authors talk about a woman named Amie Kandeh who has been abused by her husband, threatened on a daily basis. What was interesting to note was that this woman though abused by her husband was able to help other women with their crises. Gender based violence encompasses a number of violations perpetrated to one gender specifically, in the case of Half the Sky, the gender targeted is women. The problem with gender based violence is that it has now become institutionalised in many countries across the globe. And so in a post conflict Sierra Leone, a husband abusing his wife was not out of the norm. Often girls and women were raped and abused sexually as a form of violence not only to suppress themselves but their male counterparts with whom they were associated with. These women were targeted and abused not only physically and sexually but mentally. Often perceiving themselves as inferior and living in fear of what could happen. The women and organizations in Half the Sky seek to show now only the injustices dealt to women across the globe, but the capabilities women have but are never often explored. “Women aren’t the problem but the solution. The plight of girls is no more a tragedy than an opportunity”(Kristof, WuDunn) It is an opportunity to empower girls and women to reach their full capabilities; moreover, to contribute to revolutionizing the mindset of girls and women across the globe by bringing to lights these violations and bring about a social change where girls and women are viewed as equal to their male counterparts. Thus they should be endowed the same resources and protections, if not more given the history of gender based violence. While I was reading Half the Sky, I kept thinking about how important it was not only to engage the girls and women in various societies but also the boys and men as well. If we teach our boys to treat their girl friends the same as their boy friends then we have accomplished something. “Sex trafficking and mass rape should no more be seen as a women’s issue than slavery was a black issue or the Holocaust was a Jewish issue.” (Kristof, WuDunn) The violations perpetrated against women are not solely exclusive to women. In certain societies, these violations also extend to their male counterparts but because the perception of the male is different, it is not often talked about or addressed. And so the victimization of people as a whole continues. “Cultural barriers can be overcome relatively swiftly where there is political will to do so” (Kristof, WuDunn) Gender Based violence won’t be solved very easily it will take time and the changing of not only hearts and minds but institutions and societies alike. Whether it be a postwar country or even our own backyard: our perceptions, perspective and preconceived notions of how our society is and how the world at large is, often contributes to these problems. And so keeping with our global responsibility and our duty as citizens of the global community. It is our duty to recognize these injustices and to target them in our own households and communities. It is our responsibility to help contribute to the change of mindset in the perception of women at home and abroad. And once, we have revolutionized our own outlook, we can then take this to a global level by helping others in the global community to change their outlook in their society.

Travel Log 8: “Global Respibsibility Part 2” By: Stephen Sharo, Dunedin, NZ

The stigma associated with American students studying abroad is one which doesn’t accurately describe study abroad students as a whole. Many people may believe that students abroad chose to leave solely to party in another country, because that’s supposedly all that college students do. These same students don’t partake in local atmosphere, interact with natives, or are ignorant of the host country’s culture. Although there are these type of students out there, I believe that a large majority attempt to fully immerse themselves into the host culture.

For example, one of my friends from my program is the quintessential example of the ignorant American study abroad student. However, he also came from a very rural area in Washington and has not been exposed to many other cultures or different viewpoints. As a matter of fact he was shocked at the amount of vegetarians in our program, because he has never met prior to experience abroad. Slimbach would have claimed that he would remain ignorant and not fully immerse into the host culture.

However, my friend has fully immersed himself into the Kiwi culture. He has traveled with local Kiwi students, joined a variety of clubs and activities, and has learned more about other cultures during his time abroad than he has in his entire life. My friend Seth directly opposes Adam Weinberg’s quote, “these students (at best) simply get the American college experience in a different time zone,” (Slimbach, Kindle location 757-758). Seth is currently having experiences vastly different from his American college experience at home.

Moreover, I feel that the majority of the students in my program are experiencing new things every day. Rather than receiving the same American college experience in a different time zone, I think that the majority of students are simply receiving both a different college experience and a different cultural experience. I think that it is easily forgotten that study abroad students hold their same responsibilities for school and also hold new responsibilities in regards to their host culture and community. I feel that students can discourage these stereotypes by performing the actions of a mindful traveler such as interacting with the local culture and discussing what they’ve been learning. Moreover, I think it is more important to publicly demonstrate their new knowledges and experiences. I feel that if more students published writings and memoirs on their cultural experiences, then the stereotypes of America study abroad students could change.

 

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Slimbach, Richard (2012-03-12). Becoming World Wise: A Guide to Global Learning (Kindle Locations 757-758). Stylus Publishing. Kindle Edition.

Travel Log 7: “Global Responsibility Part1” By: Stephen Sharo, Dunedin, NZ

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This cartoon depicts a church labeled “Never Again Official U.N Memorial” with the word Rwanda put above the doorway. On the inside of the church there are layers of skulls lining the walls. On the other side of the cartoon, there is a jeep labeled Janjaweed speeding right through the church and heading towards a sign that says Darfur. The militia in the jeep are also shooting at people trying to run away. In order to better understand the cartoon, background information on the situation in Darfur should be better understood. The Janjaweed are a militia group located in Darfur and Chad and are responsible for killing hundreds of thousands of innocent civilians. In 2003 the government and the Janjaweed began ethnic cleansing of non-Arabs in the area and the conflict is still continuing today. The author’s message was very clear, he is trying to show that the current situation in Darfur is exactly what has happened in Rwanda. The U.N said tragedies like this should never happen again, but they are currently allowing it to happen in Darfur and Sudan. The Janjaweed blew past the U.N condemnations of Rwanda and are continuing to murder innocent people. The amount of human rights which were violated in the cartoon were many. The people depicted in the cartoon are receiving cruel and inhuman treatment and were denied the rights to life liberty and security of person. (UN News Center). I think it takes a global effort in order to keep these rights enforced. The crises which cause the violations of these rights are too large for any one country or person to handle. For example, in the movie Shake Hands with the Devil General Roméo Dallaire attempts to change the situation in Rwanda. He was fully committed to remedying the situation and attempted to protect the rights of the people. However his small peacekeeping force was too small to make an impact. As a result, he completely blames himself, even though he did everything in his power to help. Preserving these human rights is a task that is too large for any one man or country. Other situations similar to the Rwandan genocide occurring today include the situations in Syria, Darfur, and Iraq. I think that there is a greater awareness and knowledge about these situations compared to Rwanda, but there is still little actions being taken. I think that as people we have a responsibility to help maintain the rights of these people.

 

“The Universal Declaration of Human Rights | United Nations.” UN News Center. UN, n.d. Web. 15 Mar. 2016

 

Travel log 10: “Encountering Globalization” By Jim Webb in Perugia, Italy

Globalization is the process of global integration arising from the interchange of world views, products, ideas, and other aspects of culture.  Given this definition I don’t think anyone can have a problem with globalization, it’s the mending of cultures and ideas to promote a better society for all.  After all we can attribute many technological advances to globalization and the mending of common ideas.  A good example of this is the telegraph, it was first invented by a German physician.  It was then improved upon by an English inventor and further improvements were made by a Russian diplomat.  The silk road and the discovery of the new world are also great examples of globalization.

 

In Italy I am taking history and culture of food class, it’s the best, and we just learned about the discovery of the new world and how it changed what foods were produced in Europe.  It turns out that a lot of the foods we associate with certain places are not originally from there at all.  Tomatoes, a staple food in Italy, were discovered in America and brought over.  Another big one is potatoes, both yellow and sweet, were discovered in America and are now one of the first things that come to mind when you think about Ireland.  These are just two small examples of how new discoveries were adopted into different cultures and have become so integrated over time.  But as the age of discovery came to an end and we moved forward into the age of information globalization also changed.  Now I think it has become more associated with chain food stores and capitalism, the world is becoming connected through enterprises.  Whenever I leave Perugia and travel around Italy or to a different country I can always find a McDonalds or a Starbucks, they seem to just be everywhere.  Another form of globalization can be seen in the importing and exporting between nations.  Clothes are a major import in some countries in Africa and many poorer nations.  I became aware of this fact and many more after watching The Travels of a T-shirt, a short documentary about the importing of clothes in Africa.  To quickly summarize it, many of the clothes donated to the Goodwill are sent to Africa and bought per pound at a discounted rate by, in most cases, an Indian business man.  These pounds of clothes are then sold at a markup price and then distributed around the country.  In the documentary they also interviewed many Americans about what they think happens to their donated clothes and why many of them are sent to Africa.  It was a little disheartening to watch all the people that were interviewed, they were just so clueless about the world around them.  I don’t think I knew everything about the t-shirt trade prior to watching the documentary but I feel like I had somewhat of a better understanding then most of them.  One man said that it was just the way the economic structure of the world was, North America and Europe were the economic powerhouses and South America and Africa were not.  But it is so much more complicated than that and one fact the documentary pointed out is that Africa’s larges imported product is used clothing.  It imports so much used clothes for so cheap that its impossible for clothing industries to exist in Africa because they just go out of business.  Another fact the video mentioned is that the word for used clothes in Ghana literally translates to dead white mans clothes.  This was a little morbid but so accurate that it was a little horrifying.

 

I think watching that documentary and kind of just exploring the topic a little more has made me really want to work on becoming more globally educated.  The picture I chose to accompany this travel log is of people of all cultures holding hands around the earth.  I chose this picture because I think its representative of getting a better understanding of what is going on in other parts of the world and knowing why some problems exist before we begin to form prejudices.  Until watching the t-shirt travel documentary I had no idea there wasn’t clothing manufacturers in Africa and its because of us.  I always kind of assumed the clothes we sent were cheaper, which was true, but its also because the cheap clothes we have sent have completely destroyed an industry that many jobs probably relied on.

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link to the photo:

Travel Log 9:”Exploring Stereotypes”-By: Erin Foley, Paris, France

When a student decides to study abroad, they must not only accept the physical and symbolic separations of the home culture, but assimilate to an entirely different one as well. Naturally, the sojourner will juxtapose the cultures in an attempt to understand. This is the moment when many stereotypes arise. These all-encompassing terms exist as a way of categorizing certain facets of a culture. To Americans, the French (particularly Parisians) are snobby, stripe-wearing chain smokers who carry a baguette in one hand and a beret in the other. While some of these descriptions may ring true, it is unjust to classify a city of eleven million people, consisting of Paris itself plus its conglomerating suburbs, under a specific yet harsh definition. (For instance, I could count the number of people I have seen sporting a beret on one hand).

One particular hurdle I will overcome by the end of my semester is adopting the softness with which the French speak. They also tend to speak rather quickly, although probably their natural pace, and only quasi-pronouncing words. Therefore, the French view Americans as loud speakers who over-annunciate. This, however, is very apparent on the Metro, especially if I am with fellow Americans. The boisterous, and not so auditorily pleasing English drowns out the eloquent mutterings of French. That is not to say that English is an ugly language and French is the best in the world! In contrast, every time I visit Franprix, the cashier asks me, just above a whisper, if I have a “compte fidelite.” I have yet to understand him the first time and must ask him to repeat the question. Speak up for the deaf Americans, please! I have found this same issue at boulangeries and clothing stores. I do not understand this, as my host mother and I have no trouble communicating.

On the other side of the Atlantic….

Given the tumultuous state of the upcoming presidential election with Donald Trump leading the delegate count in the Republican race, opinions of Americans amongst the French have since declined. They are disappointed in their ally, as they should be. Although I am unable to speak from personal experience, a friend of mine wrote a Facebook post that detailed her experience in Paris. She describes being asked how our country can support a candidate as wildly outspoken and pompously ignorant as Trump, to which she recalls a feeling of being “lost for words.” Just as I have previously explained Americans’ narrowed view of the French, the opinion that all Americans are enabling and supporting Trump is infuriating. Due to my four months abroad, I was too late to submit an absentee ballot. I surely would not have supported and would have in fact, endorsed any candidate but him.

Stereotypes have existed for many generations with some validity. The majority of French people, if one is not educated about the many aspects of their culture, may come off as rude and unfriendly. This is simply because they do not smile at strangers with whom they make eye contact, as is common practice in the U.S. Most of the French, once you get to know them, are very friendly and approachable. The stigma simply originates from the perception that the majority represents the whole, which is a common misconception. This is the same logic behind the French disappointment in the American Trump supporters or that we are “loud or too friendly.”
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I have included a picture of what appears to be an American southerner greeting a French man, who is sitting on the same bench, with a huge smile. The American is sporting a loudly printed shirt with a baseball cap and a large camera around his neck. I liked this image in particular because it portrays the common misconceptions between each culture. One key element of the American stereotype is that we all wear white tennis shoes. Interestingly enough, white Adidas are extremely popular amongst the French youth. I think this fashion trend that is continuously gaining status is symbolic of the breakdown of cultural typecasts between the French and Americans. Although it seems ridiculous that a sneaker could change the view of one culture, perhaps in the future we will see this new footwear fad spark a series of cultural adoptions, instead of barriers, between both France and the U.S.

Travel Log 6 “The Mindful Traveler” By Abby Spooner Dunedin New Zealand

Throughout my experience in New Zealand I have found that mindful-traveling ultimately comes down to participation and willingness to experiment and try new things. After only a few short weeks there is already this sense of normalcy beginning to form as a result of becoming a mindful-traveler. I have been able to gain knowledge about my host culture through my Maori and Religion lectures, simple walks through town, and conversations with locals. However, I have also been able to actively participate in Kiwi culture. For example, I am currently planning a road trip around the south island for this weekend. Although planning the logistics of this trip took some time, it is not unusual for a Kiwi to do the same thing for a long weekend. This is a perfect way to experience the couIMG_7149ntryside of New Zealand in the same manner a local would! In this way the experience is both culturally and economically mindful because we are supporting the economy in a way that does not exploit tourism and also participating in a bit of the local culture in order to gain an authentic immersion. This is not the first trip I have planned that encompasses a mindful-traveler. For my picture this week I am including a picture of my rock-climbing trip from last weekend. It was planned in the same way my road trip is- just as the local would. Rock climbing is almost its own culture within the culture of New Zealand and it was exciting to experience such a diverse subculture in an authentic and inspiring way through mindful-travel. As a result, mindful-traveling was something I was already participating in without even knowing it a week ago!

Slimbach defines mindful- traveling as “approach[ing] our field settings with a level of sensitivity and curiosity that raises our conscious awareness of how we affect the social and natural environment we enter and act upon” (Slimbach, 74). So far I have been able to travel in a manner that supports Slimachs theory. Although I do believe that mindful-traveling is an effective way to gain a definition of the global community I also believe there are other ways to do the same thing. For example I have found that simply slowing down, making a routine, and talking to locals in between lectures has been the best way to learn about local culture. To me it is not so much about mindful-traveling because traveling hints as this sense of haste and movement. I have found that I am able to make more cultural connections when I am stationary rather than moving from place to place.

By mindfully traveling in a stationary manner I have noticed a clear division between the tourists and the locals. Additionally, I have found that being a mindful-traveler in New Zealand is much easier than I had originally anticipated. I pictured being tempted to act more like a mass tourist or even a carefree drifter since I knew I wanted to do tons of travel within the country. However, I have easily moved into a state of cultural awareness. The distinguishing factor between the mindful-traveler and the mass tourist largely has to do with the cultural view New Zealand has on tourist and the existing Kiwi culture as a whole.

Kiwis have the stereotype of being wildly adventurous and this is true to an extent as many stereotypes are. Before this experience I pictured Kiwi’s being wild to a degree of being irrational. However, this is not the case, the culture definitely encourages and accommodates for more adventurous activities, but not all Kiwi’s risk death at every turn like their stereotype suggests. This affects the mindful-traveler because participating in adventures activities becomes part of the innate Kiwi culture rather than an activity exclusively for tourist. The culture and type of tourism that New Zealand attracts also affects the mindful-traveler. Here in Dunedin tourists are simply a part of everyday life but there is a very distinct disconnect between the Kiwi world I am experiencing and the world they are seeing.

Slimbach spends a large part of chapter 3 discussing the causes and effects tourism can have on a culture. He argues that economic, cultural, social, ecological, and spiritual factors all have an impact on the local culture. However, the tourism here is very different from the tourism found in places such as Europe or a third world country because Kiwi’s do not let the culture of tourism effect their day to day lives. Everyday several tour busses pull up to the university and about 50 tourists get of each with their selfie-sticks and fanny packs. They stop in town for about 20 min and then are off to their next destination. Minuets later it is as if they were never there. So although tourism is a large part of the countries economy, many move from place to place so fast they are unable to make a genuine connection or over run the town for long. This structure of tourism contains the carefree drifters and the mass tourists away from the true Kiwi culture and the mindful-travelers. These aspects of New Zealand society clearly distinguish the mindful-traveler from the mass tourist in a very clear manner that is unique to the country.

I have found that our working definition of a global community is an accurate representation of what the global community is for the mindful-traveler. However, it is almost impossible for the busses of tourist that appear every day to feel this same sense of community, they simply do not stay in one place long enough to get a grasp of what life is actually like here. In the workshop we said that a:

“global community is a shared living space of interdependent individuals endowed with universal human rights, whole choosing to act upon them, embracing differences and working toward common

goals.” (QU301-ROP Spring 16)

In class this was simply a definition to me. However, looking back on it the part that stands out is where we highlight interdependent individuals because this is what truly makes up a community at its core on both a large and small scale. From a country such as the US it is difficult to see how interdepended we all are. However, I have slowly begun to realize how vital other countries existence is to everyday survival (especially in a country that is an island). On a smaller scale, it is clear that even though I am international, I have still become a member of this community of interdependent individuals. This is largely to do with mindful traveling. I am not simply getting off a bus every hour to see a new sight- I am actually living and experiencing the culture for what it is. I don’t think I can ever go back to being a mass tourist- it is simply no good enough.

Travel Log 7 “Global Responsibility” by Marcquan Berlin, Germany


I was once again introduced to the terrible events of the Rwandan genocide through the movie Shake Hands With the Devil. Having seen movies such as Hotel Rwanda and learning about the genocide in tenth grade I once again could not believe my eyes. The lack of help from different countries actually surprised me. This movie gave me a deeper understanding than what I have learned in both my history class and from Hotel Rwanda. I learned that after a while the Hutus and the Tutsi people could not coexist with one another anymore. It eventually became a power struggle. The Hutu could not face  their potential of being the minority and a civil war broke out.


Sadly there we so many human rights violated during the civil war between the Hutus and the Tutsi’s. There were two human rights that really caught my attention. The first one was “Everyone has the right to recognition everywhere as a person before the law” (Universal Declaration of Human Rights). After reading this I thought to myself, “Where was the recognition of the people of Rwanda? Why weren’t people more eager to help them.” I feel that as a global community we failed to realize that a group of people in our community were hurting and needed our help. Not many people wanted to help, but all the rest of the community wanted to do was report it across many different platforms of media.

Another human right that stood out to me was, “everyone has a nationality…no one shall be arbitrarily deprived of his or her nationality.” This human right I found to be bizarre. Why? I found this bizarre because during this genocide people were fighting for their nationality. They (mainly the Tutsi’s) were being deprived of who they truly were and were unable to embrace their cultures because they wee afraid of being murdered by the opposing group of people. Both Hutus and Tutsi’s could not coexist with one another because of an unfortunate power struggle. I think the the list of human rights must be more prominent in our everyday lives and should be more implemented into the classroom all over the world. This can potentially help stop violence amongst nationalities and have human realize from a young age that everyone deserves the right to live.

The picture I chose to describe this is a political cartoon about peace. In this situation peace was a foreign concept, between these two cultures there was no type of peace or consensus. This picture shows people seeing the peace symbol for the first time and not understanding what it actually is.

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