Globalization is “the increase of trade around the world, especially by large companies producing and trading goods in many different countries” (Cambridge English Dictionary). In the present day, countries are all connected through trade, social media, and business (like franchising or outsourcing). I know for a fact that I have encountered globalization in my time here. For example, there are numerous McDonald’s and KFCs all over the place here. Clearly, Kentucky Fried Chicken is not a British company. America has expanded its influence over to another country, and that’s why these restaurants exist here. In addition, I experience the effects of globalization whenever I see tourists. Because the world is so easily connected due to transportation advances like planes, it is very easy for people from other countries and cultures to travel here. While, at the surface level, this may not seem like globalization, it contributes because the tourists bring some of their culture here, and, when they return to their home countries, they will bring some of English culture back with them. These exchanges of culture and information all contribute to the effects of globalization.
By traveling to and trying to assimilate into another country, I, too, am contributing to the flow of globalization. Simply by being here I have carried on globalization. But that’s not all: I buy products here that I will bring home with me. I shop at stores here, I exchange currency, and I support local charities and churches. All of this helps contribute to the flow of globalization and information among countries.
At a quick glance, this seems to be an entirely positive concept – people are experiencing different cultures and gathering new information to help confirm or break stereotypes. It is always a good thing to become more cultured. However, this is not always the case. If you really think about it, “There is the sense that cultural encounters across frontiers can create new and productive kinds of cultural fusion and hybridity. But, where some envisage and enjoy cosmopolitan complexities, other perceive, and often oppose, what they see as cultural homogenization and the erosion of cultural specificity” (Robins 242). This all comes back to ethnocentrism and stereotypes. I think that globalization does have the possibility of causing cultures to all blend together – but this is only if people don’t take the time to appreciate a different culture for what it is.
When we developed our working definition of global community, we highlighted the idea of embracing differences to work towards common goals. It is very important that people of difference cultures embrace their differences because if everyone is trying to force everyone else to behave the same way they do, 1) it would cause mass chaos and 2) we would end up with a giant hybrid culture. I think that we need to add something to our working definition about peacefully coexisting. The global community isn’t just a group of interdependent individuals. Because of the increasing effects of globalization, the world is becoming more and more connected. It is important that different people can peacefully coexist because if people fight, it can easily spread to different parts of the world. In relation to this, we did incorporate human rights into our working definition, but I think we need to add something about protecting human rights. We acknowledged that everyone has human rights, but it is important for the global community to protect the human rights of its citizens. As I said before, the world is more connected that ever before. Everyone should be able to have the same rights.
This picture conveys my developing awareness of the interactions of globalization and travel because it incorporates the acknowledgement of so many different cultures. I took this picture at a street food market I went to where there were foods from all over the world presented (whether it was German sausage or French cheese). I think it was really great that they had these little ribbons with world flags on them. It showed that people recognized the differences in the cultures. When someone tasted a bratwurst from the German cart, they knew it was German, as opposed to thinking that it was English simply because they ate it in England. This market was the perfect example of globalization and how easy it is to spread ideas and resources among the world.