One of the terms that we discussed in our workshops and have mentioned several times is the word “globalization.” Globalization is the idea of integration and interaction within the world we live in. Being a student and studying abroad in Spain for these past few months, I feel that I have interacted with globalization. I have met with locals and have learned more about their culture, as they have learned more about mine through the conversations we have had.
Through the different parts of Europe that I have traveled, I have noticed that everywhere I go, I have seen either a McDonald’s or Burger King along the downtown streets. These were originally fast food companies that launched in America, and now there are hundreds of them all over Europe. I usually like to eat at the cafes and restaurants within a country in order to try new foods, although I have been to a McDonald’s in an airport in Italy because it was fast and convenient. This expansion of American fast food chains across different continents is one prime example of globalization amongst companies.
After watching the documentary, “The Travels of a T-Shirt in the Global Economy,” I found that I learned more about Zambia and the country’s culture. A 19-year-old man has to work for his family by selling gently used clothing. He works extremely hard so that he is able to provide for his family and help his brothers and sisters to stay in school and get a good education. It was a little difficult to watch this documentary and see the struggle that these people go through everyday. Zambia is facing many problems economically, problems that I will most likely never have to face. It is unfortunate that different countries face harsh economic problems. In the video, one man even mentions that there is a divide and a battle between the northern continents and the southern continents.
In our workshop, our class created the definition of “global community” as “a shared living space of interdependent individuals, embracing differences while working toward common goals.” Thinking of this definition now makes me question, are we really sharing a space and embracing each others differences while working together? With all that is going on in the world and after learning more about Zambia I do not think that this is the case. It is important for us to recognize our human rights and to treat each other with respect.
The picture that I have decided to post here is a picture that I took in Athens, Greece. During the week of my spring break, I traveled to Greece with a two of my friends from my program in Spain. This was my first time actually flying out of my host country, so getting off the plane I was entering into a new culture. As soon as we stepped out of Athens Airport, we noticed that the locals were extremely kind and helpful. Anytime we needed help a person was more than happy to direct us in where to go. The next morning, the three of us walked along the street of our hostel and met an old man who invited us for Greek coffee into his shop. The old man told us about his life and the culture in Greece, and we explained our study abroad experiences and what it is like living in another country. It was very interesting to hear the things that he was sharing with us, and I feel that I was able to learn even more about the Greek culture from one conversation with him. I feel that this is one example of how I am developing awareness of globalization as a study abroad student.