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.