Travel Log 15 “There’s No Place Like Home? Rites of Reincorporation” by Chris Wilner, Wallingford, CT

As defined in class, rites of reincorporation involves a person being newly reborn, they return to their community with a “new status”, there are new expectations for behavior and there is a transformation for the individual and the community. Coming home and becoming part of my home community I can say has not been easy on myself. The largest change that I have seen since coming home, and this may be just for me and no one else, is the fact that I feel like my family has become complacent. I feel as though now that I am home I am expected to do so much more because as everyone says, “You have been gone for so long, so it is your turn to take care of this…” What gets me is that I had responsibilities to take care of while I was away and everyone had their responsibilities to take care of while I was away and somehow they all managed to progress in life while I was gone, but now that I am home no one can function without involving me or making me do it because they are just too busy or I think the better answer is that they don’t want to do it so I am stuck doing it.

I could easily say that I am a liminal being. I have gone to a new land and found a new way of doing things for myself and now that I have come home, I have to be mindful of everyone else that I live with and adhere to the rule and regulations that are set forth. I am used to doing things on my own time and the way that I want them done and now that I am home I have to get used to everyone else’s ways of life as well as the new aspects of life they have gained while I was away.

The letter of reincorporation went similar to the way that the letter of separation went for me. It seemed like more of a class activity and was only something to listen to because it had to be listened to. I decided to share this letter with my girlfriend because the was the person that I feel as though I have been apart from the most and she was the person that I wanted to share everything about my trip with. I think it was important to share this with her because she was so worried about what would happen with us while I was gone and I think this opportunity allowed us to talk openly and without any interruption about the things that we did and what it means for me to be home and the things that I will have to get used to since being away. Something that was important that we talked about was the fact that it is important to be patient and understanding of the changes that may have occurred while I was away as well as the routines and ways of life that I got used to while I was away and that it would take time for me to get back into the swing of things.

“A lot of people resist transition and therefore never allow themselves to enjoy who they are. Embrace the change, no matter what it is; once you do, you can learn about the new world you’re in and take advantage of it.” I chose this quote because I think it is important for both sides to realize that a transition occurred and whether it was good or bad, it is important to realize that a change occurred and without recognizing that change no progress would be made. Coming home has not really changed anything, everyone was excited to see me, but I don’t think many people understand the things that you do while abroad except for the people that have studied abroad. Now that I am home it seems like I haven’t even been gone, everyone just expects me to do more because I have missed out on so much. I feel like now that I am home, I am still being treated like a child and that I need to be told what to do on a daily basis because I guess that’s what makes my family feel better about me being away. At this point in time I wouldn’t mind returning to the life that I had in London, except I would rather that my girlfriend came with me. It has been hard this first week being home because I have these inner battles in my head whether or not to say what is on my mind because I am afraid of hurting someone else’s feelings or starting a fight.

From the chapter reading, one way that I think that I would be able to carry forward the “gems” I have collected on my Education Abroad experience is to rediscover “place” in my local community, while I was abroad, it seemed like everywhere I went was a new experience even if I had been there before I think there was always something new that I could learn even from just watching people in Trafalgar Square. I know my hometown because I have grown up here and spent so much time in its streets but I feel like I learned so much more about London in my short time there and know more about the place than I do about the place where I take up residence. My goal is to rediscover and continue discovering the place that I call home and to expound upon the traveling that I have done. This experience has created a thirst for knowledge, I did not go to many places while I was abroad but I went everywhere in London and learned the streets as if they were my own and in fact they did become my own by the time I left.

I can’t honestly say that there are any streams that I need to divert in order to carry forward. I catch myself saying terms and phrases that I learned while I was in London and then I realize those aren’t things that are really said here or people wouldn’t really understand what I am saying so it is more of a conscious decision not to use those phrases or words more than something that I need to get rid of. I say cheers instead of thank you sometimes and call French fries chips, but those are only small things. There more of a think that I do to annoy my girlfriend because she says in back in the states so I have to use the right terms but I can still get away with saying them in some contexts.

As Smilback said on page 205, “Your hometown hasn’t moved, and your network of family and friends is still intact – but both feel different, almost like a foreign land.” At this moment in time, I can honestly say that that is how I am feeling; more so for my family than my friends because I talked to my girlfriend every single day but I feel different being home. My room feels huge compared to my dorm, I’m not used to there being food in the house all the time and not having to cook my own meals is very different to me. I am not sure if I like being able to come home and do nothing and have nothing to worry about or go to the store to buy my groceries and make sure that I bought vegetables or if I have enough toilet paper. Right now there are a lot of uncertainties for me but I am trying to take everything in stride.


Travel Log 14 “Global Connections & Rites of Separation” by Chris Wilner, Amsterdam, Netherlands

“If we allow, global learning will not only carry us into the world around us, but also into this world within” (Slimbach, 54). Knowledge and education are lifelong events, we will never be done learning new things until the day we die; whether that is something about ourselves or the people around us, that is of little concern, what matters is that we are continually learning. The experience to study abroad is one that a lot of students take for granted. From my understanding and what I have witnessed from the students that I have met through my own journey, most students choose to spend their time traveling to countries that they may not have the opportunity to visit for the rest of their life, but end up spending very little time in the country hosting them. One of the best pieces of advice I received about this trip that I was embarking on when preparing to leave the United States was to make friends with someone from your host country and become best friends with them. I am fortunate enough to say that I was able to make two best friends during my stay in London. My flat mates Johnny and Haden became part of my very existence while abroad, we were like the three amigos and would do almost everything together, especially Johnny and I. As much as I learned from them, I like to think that I was able to teach them a little and it may sound a little funny, but they think I’ve explored more of London in the short amount of time that I have been there than the year that they have been going to school in the city. This may be because they’re both from small towns in the country or because it’s just something that is a part of their lives so they see it as something that they can always do later, but it is something that we like to reflect on.
I spent almost all of my time in London and I can honestly say that it has become home to me, I’ve gotten to know the way of life there and can say that it is going to be a hard transition going home, especially physically living at home again. By living in a city and experiencing life on campus, I feel that I have been able to gain an understanding of the way of life as well as contribute to my global learning. By living away from home, my global learning has allowed for learning within because I found that everything I did was on my own time and it was up to me do do everything. If I was hungry I had to prepare it or go out to eat, I had to clean my own bathroom and make sure that everything was the way that I liked it. I’m different from most students due to the fact that I live at home all year round while I go to school. Most students are fortunate enough to live at school, although most of the students at Quinnipiac come from outside of the state. I think the thing that I learned the most about was, not being afraid to take a risk, talk to the random stranger standing next to, and keep a budget. Since this journey began, I paid for every step of the way and never asked my parents for money because I wanted to know that I could support myself without having to rely on others. That was my learning from the world within. I had faith in myself.
The connections that I have been able to make regarding my growth allow me to grow as a member of the global community because I have an understanding of a world outside for the United States. I was talking about this with a friend who studied abroad a year ago and studying abroad is an experience that makes you realize how small the world is and yet how large it is at the same time. It’s small due to how connected the world is through technology and transportation, but it’s extremely large due to the amount of people that there are in this vast world just through visiting a couple of the cities in Europe. As a member of the global community, this experience has shown me that everyone has a story to tell and they just want want someone to tell it to. I’ve also come to realize that everyone is looking for a better life and they will go to some extremes in attempts to get there if they believe that that is going to help them get there. There are harsh realities that people must face in their lives and it reminds me of something Slimbach said in his book, “Global learning is never completely innocent. It is saturated with difficult power relations, endemic to cultural difference, that can’t be wished away or canceled out by more ‘ethical’ brand of travel” (p. 72). Although we, as study abroad students, think that we can just travel somewhere and hope to find something different, there will always be people in need or going through difficult times wherever we go. In order to carry those connections forward, I need to remember to be mindful of the rest of the world wherever I am. There is so much going on and I think it is everyone’s responsibility to do their part to help preserve the world and the people in it. The best thing to do is to pass along kindness.
I’m fortunate enough to have one more week left in London to spend it with the friends that I have made. Unfortunately I have not be able to do anything for them as of yet because most of them have been away but I know we will celebrate before going home and the best thing about creating friendships is that it gives me an excuse to come back. I have full intention of coming back and seeing my friends again so it isn’t a goodbye because that means it is indefinite it is like saying alvitazen, which translates to until we see again. I have a feeling that we will have a “family” dinner before I leave with the people that have become so close to me through the trials and tribulations of living together and having to struggle with school together as well.
As time draws nearer for my return to the United States, I am saddened and excited at the same time. I can honestly say that I’m not ready to get back to my real life where I have to go back to work, but I’m excited to be able to spend time with my friends, family and girlfriend. I don’t want to leave the friends that I have made here but I know I will see them again, especially Johnny, because he his a dual citizen of the United States and the United Kingdom. The best way to be able to say goodbye to the place that I have called home for the past 5 months is to spend as much time with my mates as I can and visit the places in the city that I have enjoyed the most so they will be engrained in my mind for as long as I can remember. I think reincorporating into the United States won’t be as hard as most people expect it to be just because I feel like I’m going to be so busy when I get home to even be able to think. Although, I have to say, I did go home two weeks ago for a span of 4 days for my girlfriends graduation and with all of the stress and chaos that I experienced while I was home, all I could say to myself and those around me was that I was ready to go back to London because everything was so much simpler. So, the best thing I can say is that it will be a toss up. What I can say with complete certainty is that there are a lot of aspects that I am going to miss about being in London that I will not be able to have when I go home. Things like the ability to walk anywhere I want and be there in a short amount of time instead of having to get in the car and to go everywhere. I will miss the convenience of the tube and not having to worry if I will be on time for things, and the biggest thing of them all is the fact that I will miss living on my own. I am not sure if I will be able to go and live under someone else’s roof again, but that is to be determined.
“In the end, we only regret the chances we didn’t take” I think this quote perfectly sums up my thoughts and feelings on the wonderful and extraordinary experience that I get to call my life at this moment in time. I knew from the time that I started my orientation at Quinnipiac that I natured to study abroad and see what the world had to offer and I can honestly say that I was not disappointed. There is nothing that I regret about this experience and I believe that because of this trip I am a more responsible person and I now know that I can take care of myself without needing the assistance of anybody else. This quote is so meaningful to me because I never want to be the person that lives a life full of regrets, I want to live life to its fullest every second of my life even if that means sitting in a busy square in a city and watching the lives of the people as well as watching the world go by. Never forget the little things because in the end they may be the things that matter the most.

Travel Log 13 “Connecting Rites of Passage and Digital Storytelling” by Chris Wilner, London, England

Through the meaningful conversations that I have had with my flat mates, and even the ones that may have bashed the United States in a critical manner, it is somewhat easier to see that American society has a problem recognizing rituals within life transitions. Something as menial as the drinking age is seen so differently here as it is in the United States and I think that transfers over to a lot of ways in which people are perceived differently. Here in the United Kingdom and most of the rest of the world everything happens at the age of eighteen. At that age, you are allowed to consume alcohol legally as well as purchase cigarettes, gamble and vote. This is contrary to the United States where you are allowed to purchase cigarettes, vote and gamble to some degree (playing the lotto and bingo at the casino), but you are not allowed on the gambling floors of a casino to play the slow machines until the age of 21 as well as consume alcohol. With these facts being stated, it is harder to ascertain at what age one is considered an adult in the United States, where it is clear in the rest of the world that at the age of eighteen, you are an adult.

There are a couple of contexts in which I can relate to these rituals. Turning 21 in the United States is a huge event that everyone goes out and celebrates because it is a rite of passage for many people but for those living here in the united kingdom it is just another birthday, and they have been able to consume legally for 3 years, unless they went for a visit to the United States. That is something that I see regularly with the students that choose to study abroad and even with one of my flat mates. She is from the United States and can consume alcohol here, but when she goes home she will not be able to. This may be something that will be infuriating for her because of the freedom that she had here and when she goes home she will have to abide by the laws set in place by our government.

Many people argue that this law is unjust for a variety of reasons and as someone who is and has been of age for a while I see it in two forms. Alcohol is a drug that affects the mental cognition of many people in different ways and at the age of eighteen many people are not mature enough to handle large quantities of it and may end up going way beyond the boundaries. At the same time at the age of eighteen you are able to enlist in the military and fight or die for you country but you are not mature enough to consume alcohol. It is an experience for many that is aggravating and it also blurs the lines as to where the life transition may occur. I use alcohol as an example because I went through the transition already so it is something that is easy for me to talk about.

In our younger years we go through more life changes than we do when we are older because things are still new to us. Becoming an adult is something that everyone views as a life changing experience, but it is market in different cultures at different ages and times. With that being said, this makes it difficult for the healthy development of the Global Community because of the mindset that people have. If society deems that you are an adult at a certain age in a certain culture then a mindset will follow from said person. In the Jewish culture one typically has a Bat Mitzvah at the age of thirteen and in the eyes of the religion said person is an adult. In the rest of society however, that person is still a child and is treated as such. When someone is recognized to have gone through a rite of passage in one society, but not another it becomes infuriating conflict arises. If community based rituals were present and recognized the global community would be able to flourish because there is an understanding that has been set in place by people who belong to the community.

Through the growth that occurs in a rite of passage it is important to see that we too are on our own journeys discovering maybe who we are or what purpose we have in life. Studying abroad is a rite of passage in a different way for those who embark on this journey; for me, the elements that I found pertinent to my journey were adversity or personal challenge, time alone for reflection, and opportunities to demonstrate new competencies and status. In order to create a digital story, you must be able to recognize the story that you are going to tell and I think time for personal reflection is important not only to be able to gather your thoughts, but to understand everything that you do in a day or the reason that you have done something in the past. Through personal I will be able to find the exact story that I want to tell and the way in which I want to tell it to represent me. For a good story to capture the audience, you must be able to present a challenge and a way that it has been overcome as everyone faces challenges while they are in a foreign land and thousands of miles away from home. This element is important because without challenge there is no growth and without growth a rite of passage has not happened. Demonstration of new competencies and status are things that are important to implement into a story because it shows the growth that has occurred no matter how bit or small that growth is.

Through viewing relevant digital stories, it helped to understand the components that must be incorporated in order to convey the necessary message as well as the context in which it should be conveyed. The story that resonated with me the most was Rachel Cox’ story of her transformation in Paris. I think this resonated with me the most because I too landed in a big city unsure of what to expect when I got here and the more time I spent in the environment, I realized how much love I have for the place that I am currently calling my home. The story was successful because of the visuals that were used. I am not only talking about the pictures that were shown, but also the story that was told of the neighbor. It was so vivid that you can see the conversations taking place over something so small as the flowers, but it was something that changed another person’s life.

Travel Log 12 “Service” by Chris Wilner, London, England

On Saturday March 19, 2016, I had the pleasure of volunteering with the Older People Project at St. Luke’s church in Kentish Town, a borough of London. Once a month, usually on a Tuesday, members of the church organize a free lunch for the elderly who live in and around Kentish Town. There are around thirty members who normally go to these lunches and volunteers are encouraged to pull up a chair and spend time with the members. The organization wants the members to have an enjoyable experience every single time they are there. The members are quite elderly, isolated and usually either ill or disables. It is said that a result of this project is a lifeline for the members and they are very grateful.

This volunteering opportunity is not something that comes around very often as it is hard to organize an event that coordinates people from many different walks of life as well as people living in different arrangements and a multiplicity of ailments and conditions that may prove to be harder to deal with than expected. As much as you expect to be volunteering for this event because it is the thought that there is a lot to undertake for an ordeal like this, but I can assure you that this was probably the easiest task that I have undertaken. I thought I would be waiting on the members, running to get them coffee and tea as well as various snacks for them to enjoy, but it was quite the opposite. I can honestly say that they were not needy at all and all they were there for was an opportunity to get away from home, sit with their friends and catch up on some gossip. I think what the members really get out of this experience is another ear to listen as well as to learn something about a younger generation.

The key points that I will take away from this experience is the fact that older people are nothing but that, sure they may be old and some people may see them as needy, but we were also needy when we were children too. I think what I will remember the most is that it isn’t easy getting old, things start to stop working like your hearing or your memory, you are more susceptible to illness and the people you love either leave you because they lived long enough or they got sick and your family doesn’t have the time for you. All people want is to feel needed and through this experience the volunteers were able to give that to the members by allowing them the time to get to know them and the lives that they led. This experience changed who I am as an individual because it made me realize that the most important things in your life are the ones that you love and your health. I had the pleasure of talking to a woman named Patty who is ninety-three years old and I was astounded when she told me that. Not only did she not look her age, but also she didn’t act that way either. Talking with her, all I could think about were my grandparents and the conversations that I wish I could be having with them, not because they aren’t here anymore because they are but because I don’t speak to them as often as I should because I have a busy life but I know that they would like to hear about the things I’ve been doing. I guess this experience changed who I am because it made me realize that life is to short to worry about anything trivial like money and to focus on the people that may not be there tomorrow.

By partaking in this volunteer opportunity, I was able to see that through volunteering you are able to find yourself in another world that may not interact with the world in which you live. Volunteering gives you not only the opportunity to give back to the community but to get involved and maybe even make a difference in one person’s life whether it is big or small. I think by doing this volunteer experience I was able to learn a little bit more about the place that I am currently calling home from a generation that is very different from my own in the ways that they live their lives. Service work relates to the definition that we created as a class depicting the “Global Community” because it incorporates a shared living space with interdependent individuals endowed with universal human rights. Service work is related to this because it always traces back to people. Whether the work has to do with the environment or animals, people are the ones who committed the act or are the ones dedicated to making the difference so the interdependentness makes it so that everyone is related in a sense.

The first step in this journey is to venture outside our comfort zones and get involved directly and personally in the lives of others, especially those occupying the margins of society…to create respectful and mutually beneficial relationships.” –Richard Slimbach

old ladiesNot only does this picture depict the community service but also it incorporates the community that I serviced by partaking in this wonderful opportunity. I had the pleasure of spending a day with these ladies and getting to know them and the lives that they lead today as well as the lives that they left behind. The faces that you see in the image are faces that I will not forget because I was able to get to know their stories. They told me about the jobs that they held in the past, we talked about their families and even though it’s not polite to talk about it, we even talked about politics. The women that I spent the most time with, Patty, told me that our conversation was the most fun she had had in a long time and it was the most she had opened up to a person. The only thing she needed was an ear to listen and maybe someone to come up with some of the conversation topics, but I didn’t do anything special, I was just being myself and that’s and that was required. Service work doesn’t take much; it just takes one person willing to make a difference.

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.

Travel Log 10 “Encountering Globalization” by Chris Wilner, London, England

Diversity and cultural awareness was a trait that I was fortunate enough to acquire and appreciate younger than some of my peers. I went to a high school where I was the minority. It taught me that people may come from different walks of life, possess distinctive religious beliefs or have an upbringing that is not similar to my own or the friends I had made in the past. When becoming a student at Quinnipiac, I learned that diversity was different than just the color of your skin as the majority of the school was prominently white, but each and every student had a different story to tell and that is what brought about diversity. Coming to London I was expecting to see a very similar makeup of students as at home and I can honestly say that I was surprised when this was the complete opposite when arriving at Queen Mary.

As noted from the reading this week, “Globalization is about growing mobility across frontiers” (Robins, 239) with the mix of nationalities and ethnicities that I was quick to observe once arriving in London, it has become clear to me that London is very much like that of New York City. It is a city in which people migrate to in order to find a new life and perhaps a better life. This is not to say that the life that everyone leads here in London is not filled with hardship because that is obviously not the truth, but there is definitely a global characteristic of this city. A multiplicity of languages can he heard from a simple ride on the tube as well as people reading documents or newspapers in different languages. There are even segments of the city that have a prominent ethnic majority where you can feel as if you are in those distant lands without even having to leave the comfort of the city or for those who are missing home they are able to find people of similar backgrounds. The best examples that I can think of here in London would be the Soho district of the city that is an equivalent to Chinatown or Brick Lane, which is an area in which the ethnic majority would be Indian.

With the differences that can be seen in different portions of London, people are also able to see the complexity of the cultures that are living in harmony as well as its global context. With the migration of many different cultures and ethnic groups to the area, it becomes a melting pot in which cultures may be altered. When thinking about how global the friends I have made here are, I instantly thought of my friend Houe who was born here in England, but both of his parents are from china. Although he may have an English accent and conforms to society in the context of fashion as well as ways of living and speech, he was brought up in a different manner. We joked when talking about his upbringing and how rice is a staple food in his diet, but at the same time it is not a joke because from his cultural ties it has become a part of the way that he lives his life.

We, as people think of globalization in the context of connectivity, we are able to be in one time zone and talk to someone on the other side of the world and through the global context we are connected, but in actuality we are connected in a multiplicity of ways. This could simply be through the similarities of the products that we buy like Apple and Microsoft to Nike and Gucci; we can also think about it in terms of the food that we as a world consume. The reading talked about “McDonaldization” and “Coca Colonization” but in a sense it is the truth because these products are consumed all over the world and although it may be seen as a very close representation of the United States they are products that are consumed all over the world which makes the world a little smaller.

Being an international student from the United States, I feel as if I am interacting with and contributing to globalization in a variety of ways. The reason I say this is because of the way in which I conduct myself, through the way that I say things to how I dress and the people that I refer to or make relevant in my life compared to those around me. I contribute to the globalization because like everyone else who has migrated to London, I am contributing to the eclectic mix of nationalities and ethnicities and although I am different from the people around me I may also be more similar to them than I think. I speak English and since it is the national language I am global because I can have a conversation with almost anyone on the streets. I also interact with globalization, especially in the context of food. Last night my flat mates and I decided that we wanted to have a takeaway night so we ordered Indian food as it is a favorite of our, but it is not something that is native to either of our cultures. We interact with globalization in a variety of ways based on the clothing that we wear, the food that we eat, the cars that we drive, basically everything. One might think that they are using a product that is from their native country, but the idea that it originated from may have come from a foreign context so even in that way it is global. As the world continues to grow, it actually gets smaller.

To tie in globalization with the notion of the global community it is important to consult with the definition that we created at the start of the class. “A global community is a shared living space of interdependent individuals endowed with universal human rights, while choosing to act upon them, embracing differences, and working toward common goals.” Looking at what we created, I can’t see any way in which this definition needs to change as we have already taken into consideration that the world is a shared living space with interdependent individuals. This notion of interdependent individuals encompasses the idea of diversity therefore everyone has been included. As we noted the idea that everyone is endowed with universal human rights, we can see that every single person on planet Earth is given the same rights as a human being, although some may not be treated the same, everyone has the possibility to be treated as equals. Through the global community, everyone is an equal no matter their shape, size, age, or ethnicity.

handsHere in London, you will be able to see culture living in harmony, just like we would see in the United States and many other places throughout the world. My awareness of globalization has developed in a sense that I knew things like cultural harmony is possible and should be happening everywhere. I know that the world is growing smaller as technology progresses, but I did not know the degree to which globalization is occurring. A great example of globalization would be that English is becoming a widely spoken language in far more countries than it was even at the start of the millennium.

Travel Log 7 “Global Responsibility” Part 1 by Chris Wilner, London, England


In 1994 from the months of April to July, the ethnic majority Hutu of eastern-central Africa murdered around 800,000 people, mostly the Tutsi minority, in Rwanda. In the early 1990’s Rwanda had a very high agricultural economy and one of the highest population densities in Africa, around 85% of the population was made up of Hutu and the rest of Tutsi. Rwanda came under the League of Nations mandate of Belgium after World War I and the Belgium favored the favored the Tutsi minority over the Hutu, which created tension and the few oppressed the many. As time went on tension grew until a plane was shot down on April 6, 1994, carrying Habyarimana and Burundi’s president Cyprien Ntaryamira. As a result of the fighting in Rwanda, the United Nation voted to withdraw most of a peacekeeping mission in April, but as word of the genocide spread the UN dispatched more than 5,000 troops in mid-may. By the time all of the forced had arrived in full, the genocide had been over for months.

This cartoon perfectly depicts the tragedy that happened in Rwanda, people in other parts of the world knew what was going on in that area of Africa, but they did nothing to assist until it was too late. The cartoon shows a Rwanda native either dead or suffering from what has happened and the people are far off in the distance acknowledging that they see the person on the ground, but they are scared to move any closer, afraid that they might be affected by such turmoil. The name of the cartoon is titled “She’s Waving Goodbye…” all aid that was present in Rwanda was taken away at a point where the people of the nation needed it most. This represents what the Hutu had done to the Tutsi; they had no food or water and were reduced to nothing but skin and bones. The people in the background were the nations that sat there and watched as everything and did nothing until it was too late.

The human rights violation that I believe to be depicted in this cartoon is that of Article 5 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights; said article states that “No one shall be subjected to torture or to cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment.” The person on the ground is being subject to tortures that no one should ever go through, they are being deprived of food and water and the people in the background are knowingly letting this happen because they are afraid to intervene. The United Nations should have been protecting the rights of the people of Rwanda, what got in the way was fear. People were afraid of the war that was erupting. The nations that had inserted themselves in the country of Rwanda were more concerned with keeping their soldiers safe instead of protecting an entire country.

A more recent example of this same human rights violation would be “In 2008, US authorities continued to hold 270 prisoners in Guantánamo Bay, Cuba, without charge or trial, subjecting them to “water-boarding,” torture that simulates drowning. Former-President George W. Bush authorized the CIA to continue secret detention and interrogation, despite its violation of international law.” ( There are violations in human rights everywhere every single day; the only difference is that it is not broadcast like it was for the Rwanda genocide. These violations happen in secret now so people don’t know that they are actually being committed, that is the only difference that I see today

Travel Log 9 “Exploring Stereotypes” by Chris Wilner, London, England

When I was considering and applying to come abroad, I told everyone that I knew that I was planning on studying in London and the one question that everyone always asked me was why London, it rains all the time there. It was either put in the form of a question or people would joke about it saying I hope you like rain because you are going to be seeing a lot of it. I would have to say that that was the first stereotype that was dispelled very quickly. Sure it rains here, but I would say it doesn’t rain here any more than it does in Connecticut and if it does rain on a given day the rain doesn’t stay for very long. Most days it will sprinkle or you will take a tube and come out on the other side and it had just rained. If there is a downpour, it will only be brief; it isn’t the type of thing that would last an entire day. (As I sit here typing this post watching the pouring rain against my window.)

Something else that I personally thought that I would encounter was a lack of diversity when coming to England, but that was definitely contrary to what I thought. Even just riding on the tube or sitting in a coffee shop, you will here a plethora of languages being spoken at the same time. People at home told me that London was a lot like New York City, except it was a lot cleaner and I have to say they were right. This city is a metropolis in every aspect; there are a number of different districts that you might find yourself in in the city and each of those districts are defined by a different aspect or culture.

In spending time with not only my flat mates, but also my classmates, and just the general public a stereotype that I have come to notice that someone might not see or hear about as a short-term visitor or someone who had limited knowledge of the host culture is that hipsters are viewed as a lesser individual in society. I am not sure about the reason why this “culture” is different from anyone else, they may be seen as lazy, living an alternative lifestyle or people might think that they’re just weird, but the proper English people that I have met see hipsters differently than we might in the United States.

One thing that is quite popular here in the United Kingdom is that when a party is thrown, there is always a theme to said party. One of the themes that I had heard of that made me listen closer and quite honestly laugh was an American themed party. It interested me to hear of the stereotypes that people associate with Americans and how they would typically party. That involved wearing flannel shirts, drinking from red solo cups, playing beer pong and listening to country music. It made me laugh and kind of question why it was somewhat of a southern/ country point of view that we are associated with and I guess its because that is a lot of the things that people might see on social media, especially from a university student and someone who is likely to go out and party or consume alcohol. I think this is only one standpoint that people see.

Another stereotype that I have heard from people is that Americans are typically overweight and that I think came about with the obesity rates and the sharing of knowledge. We as Americans are viewed as having an unhealthy diet especially because of the foods that we consume on a regular basis and the amount of sugar and processed foods that we consume as a nation as a whole.   I think there are valid reasons for the stereotypes that have been created towards Americans and I also think that some of the stereotypes that might exist are due to a void that has been created because there are so many different types of people in the United States and the nation as a whole has been put into a set of standards.

On the flip side of things, when I was coming to the United Kingdom, I was expecting to be made fun of for the way that I say some things and that has obviously happened but I wasn’t expecting to hear British people tell me that they preferred the accent that I had and the way that I pronounced some things. Something else that I was not expecting was for people to be so approachable and nice to foreigners. When I arrived in the country, I walked up to people asking for directions and they were more than happy to point me in the right direction. I was expecting people to look at me as a “stupid American” and send me on their way but I quickly found that it was the complete opposite.

In order to get an image of the way that Americans are viewed to the rest of the world I decided to use this one to represent what most people think about the people that they might encounter if they were to leave their home country and come to the United States. Besides the fact that these children are overweight, I have seen that here in the United Kingdom people take so much better care of themselves, in the things that they eat, the way that they live their lives as well as tamericanshe way that they treat the environment that they live in. I know the a lot of the same things happen at home, but I think its to a more serious degree here in the United Kingdom. One thing that I see so much more now that I am living away from home in a different country is the fact that we consume so much fast food in our country and I am not only talking about literal fact food from places like McDonalds, but also frozen foods that we simply put in the oven and heat up because we don’t have the time to go to the market and get fresh ingredients. Here in the United Kingdom, most people go to the market every single day to get the ingredients that they need for the day and then repeat the next day.

By choosing to study abroad in the United Kingdom, I am able to help dispel the views that people might have about the United States and the so-called “ugly American”. Just as Slimbach noted in his book by carrying knowledge “Not only will we be better prepared to interact intelligently with residents, we will more naturally act in ways that dispel the stereotype of the clueless and self-absorbed ‘Ugly American’” by carrying the knowledge that I have, I am able to show the rest of the world that Americans are not what everyone thinks them to be and that may only be a small portion of the country that they believe it to be. By learning from the world, the world learns from us.

Travel Log 8 “Global Responsibility” Part 2 by Chris Wilner, London, England

The view that the rest of the world has on American study abroad students is a perspective that we never take into consideration until we get to the location that we picked for our journey. We are seen as kids who came to whatever country we chose in order to put something on our resume and set us apart from the other students that we are going to be competing against. Some left home because they wanted to be able to drink and party legally. Guys may have wanted to meet international girls, and girls may have wanted to find an international guy. We are pampered or spoiled because we can afford to do something like this without any recourse and somewhat resemble the luxurious travelers that come to countries with their families and the only impact that they have on the culture is that of a negative one that spends money, lives as if they are the most important person in the room and then leaves when the fun is over.

Some students go abroad so that they could travel throughout Europe and not worry about their studies because that is not what they came here to focus on. They spend time with the other students from the United States because those are the people that they understand and have the most things in common with, or so they think. People that I have met in my journey so far have shown me signs of this. I came to England knowing only one other person going to the same university that I was and we were only acquaintances meeting for the first time at the pre-departure meeting. We talked on the bus ride to the university and I haven’t seen her since. The people that I have spent all of my time with are people that are either from England or are actual students of Queen Mary University instead of the associate students.

I think the people who have not found friends that are from their host country are missing an important aspect of the journey they chose to undertake because those are the people that you are going to learn the most from. They are going to show you the best places to go while abroad. They will tell you about the culture that you are living in and lead you through your new life as you teach them about your old life. As much as you are learning from your new friends, your new friends are learning from you and that is real friendship.

In order to discourage the assumptions that people have about study abroad students is to show them that they are wrong. “The contribution that international study and service can make to bettering the world largely depends on us as individuals, along with the programs that sponsor us.” I only slightly agree with this statement because as much as the programs that sponsor us try to get us to understand the host country that we are living in they do it by only including the other study abroad students in our program and that only provides a certain perspective about the learning experience and a bias is created by the coordinators that show us what they want us to see and nothing more. We are the only ones who can really decide what we want to give back to the community that we are becoming a part of and in order to encourage the idea that study abroad students can exude global responsibility is by becoming a part of that community and wanting to give back to it because we feel as if we have become a part of it and once that feeling has been created we really have become a part of the community.

Travel Log 6 “The Mindful Traveler” by Chris Wilner, London, England

As each and every one of us has embarked on our own journeys away from our home countries, we all went with the mentality of coming back a changed person through this rite of passage. Some may have had an idea of what they wanted to accomplish while away and others may be looking for something but they aren’t completely sure what it is. When returning we will talk about the things that we did on our journeys and the memories that have been made, but many will have done it for themselves and had no connection with the community that they became a part of. This is partly what distinguishes that someone from being a mindful traveler. The way I see it as it was written in the book, the mass tourist is someone who goes on vacation or a journey that only contributes to the mass market. People stay in fancy resorts and have no real interaction with the general public of the community that they are joining, even for a short period of time, except for those who work at the resort of the restaurants that they eat at. Compared to the mass tourist, a step above that would be the carefree drifter. This would be someone who comes into town with no set plans of what to do, but they do things that interest them like eating at the best restaurant in town or having a conversation with a local to get a sense of what the place is like. In the same instance this person might keep the ideals that they brought with them and their eyes were never really opened to the things around them.

For someone to be labeled as a mindful traveler Slimbach noted, “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.” (Slimbach, 74.) This is the person who immerses themselves in a culture not only by living in the community, but also by actively participating in it. They live with a local family instead of staying in a hotel in order to help the family survive. Maybe instead of eating at the local establishments, they ask to be taught how to make those dishes on their own. This person will leave the community as a part of it instead of an outsider who visited for a period of time. In talking about these different types of travelers, I think I can almost identify with each of them. Reading through the chapter I was thinking about my family and the vacations that I have been on with them outside of my home country. I think I would identify most with the carefree drifter.

When I was on my last vacation with my family, we went on a cruise that stopped at four different places in the Caribbean each time we would embark on the island with no intention of doing as most of the tourists would. Instead of shopping around like the rest of the tourists we would talk to the locals and see what were the things that we should do and see before we left one of those places. We would always ask where was the best place to get authentic food from the region so we would at least know what it was like to eat as a local in the area. At least in this sense we would help the local economy flourish instead of the big businesses that would set up shop and try to reap all of the benefits.

Since embarking on my own journey with no plans as to where I am to go and not knowing anyone until making my own friends once landing here, I am doing my best to be the mindful traveler and become a part of the community that I am living in. As Rolf Potts said, “Go slow. Respect people. Practice humility, and don’t condescend with your good intentions. Make friends. Ask questions. Listen.” (Slimbach, 86.) These are the things that I think are important in order to become a part of the community. When I walk around the streets, I try not to look like the typical tourist that takes pictures of everything because it is new. I think one of the most important pieces of advice that I was given before leaving home was to live in the moment because you will never get another experience like this. I am succeeding in my goal of making friends with locals and becoming a part of their social circles; I have learned so much just from having conversations about the differences between here and home and I feel like by understanding the people who are a part of the community I become a little closer to not being seen as an outsider.

In thinking about how these concepts might relate to the working definition of global community, we must remember the definition that we have set in place. “A global community is a shared living space of interdependent individuals endowed with universal human rights, while choosing to act up on them, embracing differences, and working toward a common goal.” I think the definition that we created as a class directly relate to the definition of a mindful traveler. In thinking about the characteristics that a mindful traveler might have, we can see through our definition that it is a shared living space between us, the mindful traveler, and the community in which we are living. As each of us is empowered with universal human rights, we all choose to act upon them and as we spend more time in the community and learning about the community we soon immerse ourselves in the community. That is why when you talk to people who have already studied abroad, all they wish to do is go back because this soon becomes our home. As a mindful traveler, we come into a community with differences; whether they are the color of our skin, the language that we speak or even the pronunciations of our words, we are seen as an outsider. As we spend more time in the community and learn to emplace the differences, both from our side and theirs, we all work towards a common goal of acceptance. By thinking through the definition we created as a class I feel that we covered all of the necessary points that help to define a global community. At this moment in time I do not think there is a need to make any changes to the definition, but that may change as the time spent here on my journey goes on.

Through the discussion of the mindful traveler, I do believe that mindful traveling is a key characteristic, but it may also be the characteristic that defines international participants of the global community. The reason I say this is because in order to be labeled as a mindful traveler, you must have immersed yourself in a community and become a part of it even if it were for a short period of time. The global community is always changing as more and more people join. There are similarities and differences between those who are a part of the community but we all work towards a common goal. In order to be able to label myself as a mindful travel I believe that “educational travel must dispose us, first of all, to seek out and welcome all reflections of truth, goodness, and beauty in the lives of those we met.” My goal when coming here was to make friends away from home and become a part of their community and I think I have done just that. By learning from the people we meet on our journeys our perception of the rest of the world will have been altered. One of the first questions I asked my friends was what their perception of the United States was and they asked me the same of the United Kingdom. Through shared experiences, we have learned from each other and enriched our own lives and that I believe is what it means to be a mindful

This journey is not only about living in a different land, but its about finding out who you are in relation to the global community and the impact that you might have.  I see this picture and quote as something that I am aspiring to follow while on this journey.  By traveling to a distant land, I am strengthening my mind through experiences and friendships that I most likely wouldn’t have if I didn’t take this risk.  There is no way of telling how something’ll turn out until you do it so that is why I journeyed here without knowing anyone to figure out if I could make it on my own.