Travel Log 10: “Encountering Globalization” by Samantha Prevot. Notting Hill, London, England.

When I was getting ready to travel abroad, I knew that there would be some aspects of my home culture that made their way to London and the rest of Europe, particularly in the spread of chain companies, especially fast food. On my street alone you can find McDonald’s, Starbucks, and KFC. Just the other day, my friends went to a Chipotle in London, and when I went to Stockholm a couple of weeks ago there were 7/11’s on almost every street and I even found a Dunkin Donuts. Not to mention that the U.K. plays American bands and singers on the radio and show many American movies and television shows. This goes along with what Kevin Robbins discusses in The Global Transformations Reader when it comes to cultural homogenization as opposed to cultural hybridization. Robbins writes, “…as the Disney Channel arrived in Britain. There is the clear sense in some quarters that ‘Americanization’ – from Hollywood to Coke and McDonald’s – is a threat to the integrity of European cultural life.” And while I do believe American companies are spreading much more than other countries’ on a global scale, and that America has great cultural influences on other countries nowadays, I also believe that every country and city still has its own unique identity and is still uniquely “British” or “Swedish”.

One of the amazing benefits of spending a semester in London is that it is one of the most diverse cities in the world. It can be seen not only through the people that walk the streets, but also through the languages you hear being spoken on public transportation, and in the extremely diverse amount of shops and restaurants that have opened throughout the city. Their national dish is even an Indian dish, chicken tikka masala, even though most people assume it is the classic British fish and chips. I think Camden Market is one of the places that best exemplifies the globalization and diversity of London. The picture I chose to post is the entrance to the market. IMG_0434.jpgI took this photo when I visited the market not too long ago, and was blown away by the shops and food stands. So many countries are represented there in one way or another; the countries of the U.K., China, Thailand, Japan, Malaysia, India, France, Hungary, Greece, Italy, Mexico, Korea, the United States, and many more. The whole experience was somewhat overwhelming, especially since I had travelled there alone, but I fell in love with the market and find myself with the strongest urge to go back again and again. But at the end of the day London, to me, still feels so unique and truly British. All of the history that is preserved here and just the feeling of the city does not compare to any other and I think will always stay that way.

My trip to Stockholm and Gothenburg, Sweden also led me to encounter forms of globalization. I myself do not speak Swedish, and neither do any of my friends that I had travelled with, so when reading street signs or finding places we needed to go resulted in us having to try to translate. It turns out that many words in Swedish sound similar to their English counterparts, so we found our way pretty easily. However, I found it interesting how whenever we would check out at a store, or speak to someone at a train station ticket booth, they would initially speak to us in Swedish. Then after we would say “I’m sorry, what?” the person would immediately smile, nod, and begin speaking to us in perfect English. It is common for people in Scandinavian countries to learn English starting when they’re young, so although they maintain their own national spirit and know their own language, they also learn English to keep with this growing connective spirit of globalization.

Robbins also talks about mobility and the global connections we make through the Internet, saying, “Mobility has become ordinary in the emerging global order. But it is also possible to see the world without having to move. For now ‘the world’ is able to come where we are.” I can personally agree and relate to this statement, as an avid social media user who often connects with people from countries different, and far away, from my own. I have had the great opportunity to meet with a friend of mine who I met on Twitter a couple of years ago. She is from Poland, but is studying at Middlesex University in London. I have also made connections at some concerts I’ve been to with girls not only from London, but also from Spain and Scotland. I also have plans to meet with a friend of mine that lives in France when I travel to Paris next month. To me, these are perfect examples of how globalization and the Internet have brought the world together and made it seem like a much smaller place, where you can meet anyone from around the world and share your ideas and opinions whenever you want. It has also given me the opportunity to learn about what life is like in countries like Spain and Scotland. It turns out their cultures are very different from the United States, and I was fascinated when we sat and compared our life experiences.

In addition to all of these benefits of globalization, Robbins also talks about how globalization is complex and does not always benefit everyone. He calls globalization “an uneven and an unequal process”, and refers to a piece by geographer Doreen Massey where she says that, “Some initiate flows and movement, others don’t; some are more on the receiving end of it than others; some are effectively imprisoned by it.” When reading this, many things came into mind. Massey mentions people coming halfway around the world “only to get held up in an interrogation room at Heathrow.” And I immediately thought about Donald Trump and the travel bans and immigration policies he is putting into place. I also thought about the video we watched this week about the secondhand t-shirt sales and the current economic situation in countries such as Zambia. They are becoming victims of this new global market that has formed, because the most powerful countries, like the United States, have placed sanctions on them that are effectively keeping them in debt and in poverty. The people of those countries do not get to actually experience globalization like other countries do in the form of the Internet, television, movies, chain restaurants, etc. Instead, they are continuing to live in poverty, and in a way our way of life is dangled in front of their faces with things like our secondhand clothing. The people hold onto hope that they will one day have a life like ours, while our government, and the government of other countries, continue to put measures in place to keep them down.

In my opinion, this does not follow through with the Bill of Human Rights or our class definition of global community. We defined global community as “All people around the world living by and fighting for similar social values and basic rights”. To me, this means that instead of effectively imprisoning people through globalization and keeping certain countries down and impoverished while other countries thrive, does not constitute fighting for basic human rights. Every person has the right to the things that people in wealthier countries receive on a daily basis, and people traveling internationally have the right to be treated fairly and equally no matter what their ethnicity is. While I do believe that globalization is overall a wonderful thing at the end of the day, I also think that certain aspects of international policy should be examined and we should begin to think about what is fair and what is right and realize that although we are making great progress and the world is more connected than ever, there are people and countries that are falling through the cracks and something should be done about it.


Travel Log #10: “Encountering Globalization” By Madeleine Harder. Brussels, BE

Here is a photo of me in Paris. I went for a weekend with a friend and we both agreed that we must go to the Shakespeare and Company store to pick up a classic book in English. When we went to the store it was snowing outside so we decided to sit in the reading room with our new purchases and a hot cup of coffee. The next thing we knew we were in a heated literary debate with two university students from Germany. Our points of view had been shaped by our educational systems and while I completely disagreed with how the two German's interpretations, we were having a dialogue. To me this is the perfect example of spreading globalization as a study abroad student.

Here is a photo of me in Paris (if you look really closely you can see the Eiffel Tower in the background). I went for a weekend with a friend and we both agreed that we must go to the Shakespeare and Company store to pick up a classic book in English. As we arrived at the store it began to snow outside so we decided to sit in the reading room with our new purchases and a hot cup of coffee. The next thing we knew we were in a heated literary debate with two university students from Germany. Our points of view had been shaped by our educational systems and while I completely disagreed with the two German’s interpretations, we were having a dialogue. To me this is the perfect example of spreading globalization as a study abroad student.

As an international business minor I am very aware of globalization, I can hardly go one class without that term being mentioned, in fact. The technical definition of globalization is the shift toward a more interdependent and interconnected world. As a study abroad student I am spreading my ideas and point of view to everyone I come into contact with in my host culture. At the same time, I am absorbing new ideas from people with a different background than my own.

A ubiquitous example of globalization is McDonald’s. What started out as an American fast food joint is now present in more than 100 countries (for reference, the UN recognizes around 120 states as official countries). You can hardly travel to any country without seeing a McDonald’s. For me it’s a sense of comfort, they offer free wifi and cheap food. When I traveled to Copenhagen, Denmark for the first time I was awestruck by how many 7/11’s they had. You honestly couldn’t walk 100 feet without seeing one. This is the corporate side of globalization. Companies are being based in one country originally and then moving their operations overseas. Opening up your business in a different market allows for cheaper production costs, and therefore a fatter bottom-line.

These are generally positive examples of globalization— promoting understanding and bringing goods. However, globalization has its downsides as well. This can be witnessed in the case of Zambia. Developmentally, this state is very far behind that of the global north and with the total debt that they are in, it will be very hard (if not impossible) for them to fully develop in the future. The International Monetary Fund’s involvement in Zambia was mentioned in the video and I completely agree with the conclusions that were reached by all of the commentators. The IMF is intended for good but in my opinion actually hinders progress in third world states. In order to accept money from the IMF, the recipient is forced to restructure their government. The IMF poses the restructuring of the government without any real regards to the specific circumstances of each state. General solutions are applied and they rarely work. In very few cases will this pay off in the short term, leading the global south to continue living in poverty. In Zambia’s case it won’t work in the long term either because children are dropping out of school to care for sick relatives and put food on the table. This does not create sustainable growth and Zambia will be in the exact same position that it is now unless the people are invested in.

As a class we agreed that the global community was a shared living space but the way things are right now, we are not sharing. The concept of economic colonialism was mentioned and it’s really a way that one half of the global community (the North) is controlling the other half of the population (the South). The global south has no say in what is happening on their land or in regards to their future. The idea of a global community to me is just that. It’s a utopia of sorts. The further I go in my education the more I become aware of these inequalities and it is going to require very innovative solutions to fix. We see Africa as not having anything to offer us and this is a terrible mentality. People live in Africa and people live in Europe and North America, this is what we should be focusing on instead of what profit we can turn from them.

Travel Log 10: “Encountering Globalization” By Alexandra Borges. Cardiff, Wales.

Globalization in the words of Kevin Robins “is about growing mobility across frontiers—mobility of goods and commodities, mobility of information and communications products and services, and mobility of people” (Robins, p. 239). It is growth across the world as a single entity, thus moving civilization forward. However, although many may see this growth and progression of the world as good things, as we can see from The Travels of a T-shirt in the Global Economy, there are always two sides. Unfortunately nothing in this world can be neutral with that being said globalization is a two-sided coin. It true that we the growth and change in the world can be visibly seen with each passing year, but the fact remains that there is a cost to everything.

In globalization, you have exploitation, questionable labor regulations, and regulations that don’t quite cover all of the people it should. This is where global community comes in, its our obligation as members of the global community to question the dark side of globalization from our view, but also to look a globalization from the view of those “we” believe are being exploited. I think something that we don’t really consider when thinking about things like globalization being exploitative is the perspective of those who are at the bottom of the food chain, the workers. In the video, their mention of a woman working in the “sweat shops” in china that always looked her best and loved her job even if it was tedious and boring simply because it was only thing that allowed her the freedom of independence. She made her own money and spent that money how she pleased without being restrained by her family/village that even if they had the money would not buy her the things she wanted. Her job gave her financial independence. That being said we also mustn’t disregard the fact that not all stories are like this woman’s, but the fact remains that we always have this assumption that the people at the bottom need justice without thinking about the repercussions of removing “exploitive” matter.

Times have changed since way back when, the way money was originally made in any culture/country especially in poor ones has changed whether because resources are no longer available or because somewhere else can provide resources cheaper and better. Thus leaving the markets, “sweat shops”, and resell of objects we take for granted and throw away, which some of the global community view as “exploitive” behavior. However, even if that is so the responsibility of the global community is to determine whether or not removing this exploitation will really benefit all the parties involved. If we get rid of this import/export because the work being done is exploitative towards the workers, will there be another output source of income for those people and their community? A bigger picture is usually needed that’s why globalization itself is such a delicate subject, but one that “we”, members of the global community must take responsibility for.

Back at the beginning, when the class first came up with our working definition for global community, we were still blind to the world around us. We had perhaps this notion of what we believed a global community consists of and even perhaps considered it lightheartedly. However, from the experiences that I’m sure every one of us has had, we can begin to see that what we thought was a relatively decent definition deserve much more time. Our definition was that a “Global Community is comprised of all living things who make up smaller communities that are joined by the desire to achieve human rights.” However, the global community that we thought seemed simple, we realize is so much more complex. To be quite honest I don’t think we fully understood the weight of actually being part of and participating within the global community. It’s not per say a burden, but rather this sense/weight of responsibility to the people of the world. It’s obvious that our definition is one that needs to be looked over once again and altered; it’s too broad and doesn’t cover things that we are now aware of. These last couple of weeks there has been this recurring theme of what and how human rights play into global community and now globalization. This exploitation with globalization is where human rights play a big part in. It’s obvious from not only the reading with Kevin Robin and the video, The Travel of a T-shirt in the Global Economy, that although there are benefits to had for the world of globalization there is often the question of maintaining the human rights of those at the bottoms of the chain. It gets tricky like I was speaking about earlier because although it’s a question of maintaining these peoples’ rights, there’s also maintaining their livelihood. For some of these people those jobs which we think are exploitive, are their only source of income. That’s why there are groups of organizations all over the world trying to come up with ways in which to protect these people of the country while maintaining the progression of globalization.

It’s my belief that the role of the abroad student is to experience the world for what it is, to be enlightened on how it really works. This chance that we’ve been given to travel abroad gives us the opportunity to activity participate on a global scales, something we aren’t used to. It gives us a chance to interact with peoples of the world that we would never have a chance to meet back home. Exchanging information whether for the pleasure of knowledge or simply to educate yourself on the country in which you are staying or culture you’re immersed in, is not only participating in the global community, but also in globalization.

As a student abroad we are bound to see the shadows of America, there’s no escaping it. I know I’ve seen the McDonalds’, Burger Kings’, T. ‘K’. Maxx ( TJ Maxx), capitalism and globalization. There’s nothing more to it, enterprises such as these connect the world. Not to mention the other of the globalization, of which we of the younger generation are exceptionally savvy in, media. Communication and information passed and had across the world at the palms of our hands. The younger generation, us students, have world at our fingertips, we have a duty to share our experiences, whether good or bad, with people. Hence, speaking to locals, our blogs and travel logs, Facebook’s, Twitters, and Instagrams. Obviously, our purpose being abroad to experience the world and what it has to offer and social media can be a barrier/obstacle that stops you from doing this. That’s why we must exercise balance use it as a way to put knowledge forth rather than allowing it to hold you down to the ghosts of your pasts and longings for home. Our obligation to do our part in becoming responsible adults in the higher schemes of the world and global community, to think of new ideas, solutions, and questions to ask of the world. Talk to the locals around you; ask them questions, find out what they think should change in the world. What’s their view on some of the world’s problems? Only then can to truly understand the people, the members that stand beside you in the global community.

I chose this picture because I think that it speaks volumes about the way people view the world. We’ve been talking about global community and globalization, this sense of unity and connection throughout the world, but often people lose sight of the big picture. Yes, we all are different, yet work together when we get along, but at the end of the day the world is all of ours, its shared. A true global community is one with no presumptuous labels and no barriers.

TL10″Encountering Globalization” by Kait Shortell, Paris, France


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Globalization is most definitely not the easiest topic to wrap my mind around, especially when reading the words of Kevin Robins. Since being abroad, I think the most obvious and common globalization I have seen is the cliché chain companies, which just exist in every country, like McDonalds and Apple. In France specifically, just as we have a plethora of cuisines in the States, they have several restaurants and cafes with “American” food. One is even called, Breakfast in America. After reading this week’s excerpt and watching the film, I am not sure if I feel that globalization is something to strive for completely.

I was always curious about what happened to the clothes that we all gave to Goodwill and where they went. After watching The Travels of a T-shirt, my curiosity was definitely fulfilled. It was somewhat discomforting to watch all the people they interviewed, and how clueless they were to the world around them. It was even scarier when I realized if I had been asked that question on the other side of the camera, my answer would have been no better than theirs. The second hand clothes given to these countries have quite an interesting effect. The intentions when giving them to these less-fortunate countries are meant to be very good. But, the result, was that so many people started buying the second-hand clothes, that it actually put clothing factories out of business, leaving many civilians with out work. Now, selling these clothes has become the “go-to” job for those without work, possibly to the point where there are just too many people selling them, that no one is making enough profit to live off of. Not only the economic side is suffering from this “gesture” but also the cultural side. Now that they have these second-hand clothes, there is no reason to make their own traditional clothes. And here we see Globalization.

“Globalization” and “Global Community” are becoming very fragile intangibles. I am beginning to find myself questioning if the good in these two words outweigh the bad, and vice versa. I think they are two totally separate things, and yet somehow very delicately tied into one another. I think globalization is only good up to a certain point. Once individual cultures start losing what makes them unique, or lose the values that create “culture shock” for outsiders, then globalization has gone too far. If that happened, everywhere we went would be the same, there wouldn’t be difference that forces us outside of our comfort zone, and nothing to challenge the way that we think. We would lose so much opportunity for growth globally, and individually. But, with that said, we can still be a global community, without losing the uniqueness of each country and its culture. Being a global community allows the openness to share our differences with one another, and be accepting of our differences. This creates a willingness and curiosity to learn. I also think a global community entails helping others if it is needed, but in a way that doesn’t suppress their values, or culture. My opinion of these things is still in the process of forming, but I definitely think it is evolving slightly from what we discussed originally in class, but that is why it is a working definition!

Travel Log 10 “Encountering Globalization” by Kristen Sullivan. Barcelona, Spain

I never expected to find so many of the exact same stores, restaurants, and products in Spain as we have in America. I knew that there would be many similarities, but I was not prepared for the amount of brand names to appear. Not only did these products appear in Spain, but also in my travels to places such as Prague, Germany, and Amsterdam. I thought that these places would have different designers, restaurants, and products to make their countries more unique. Although there are some Spanish name-brands, the majority of the major stores and restaurant chains are very similar to America. Before studying abroad, I was blind to how prevalent globalization has become. For example, a block from my apartment there is a KFC, McDonald’s and Burger King. All of these fast food chains are always packed. The fast food chains didn’t shock me as much as the stores. While I thought Barcelona was going to consist mostly of small boutiques and shoe shops, stores such as Chanel, Burberry, H&M, Louis Vuitton, Urban Outfitters, Michael Kors, and Coach line the streets. This makes me feel like I am in New York City rather than Barcelona. Apart from stores, American influence and globalization has a huge place in music. All of the music playing in stores, metro, cabs, clubs, bars, and restaurants is all American music. This was shocking to me. I didn’t understand why they were listening to music and English and American music. I thought they would have their own celebrities and all of the music would be in Spanish or Catalan. This just showed the power of globalization.


In the workshop, our class defined a global community by saying, “A global community is comprised of all living things who make up smaller communities that are conjoined by the desire to achieve human rights.” This definition takes on a whole new meaning now that I understand the purpose and effects of globalization. It is important for us to tweak our definition to add that a global community shares many of the same products and services. The image that chose is a business man painting the world all of the same color. This symbolism illustrates how the global community is all “painted red” or in other words, we are all the same. In chapter “Encountering Globalization,” Kevin Robbins debates the growing concept of globalization and its impact on the world as a whole. He describes that “globalization is growing mobility across frontiers” (Robbins 1). This idea of “mobility” is the movement of products and services across cultures with little boundaries. This interchange of ideas makes countries more similar.

There can be many benefits and setbacks to globalization and Robins discusses both of these in his chapter. He describes the benefits of globalization as a way to connect with people in order to exchange both similar and different ideas. While the world is growing increasingly similar, within the similarities we are able to still exchange differences with people from other cultures. For example, with Silvia we are able to talk about similar things such as places we shop, what we do for fun, and where we like to eat, while learning new things about the Catalan and American cultures. It allows us to keep an open mind to the way other culture’s do things and consider implementing them in own our daily lives or home countries.

In the video, The Travels of a T-Shirt in a Global Economy, it demonstrates the more negative side to globalization. In the video, it displays how clothes given to the Salvation Army in American are primarily sold to distributers who mark up the price of the cloth and then sell it to people in Africa. People in America believe they are doing a good thing by giving away old clothes to those less fortunate, but it is not necessarily the case. This absolutely disgusts me. Instead of giving old clothes to people we know or trying to sell them, my family always donates our clothes to the Salvation Army or to other charitable organizations. We always assumed that by the honors system they would end up in the hands of someone who really needed them. Watching the video and seeing all of the African people in old, donated clothes with logos on them that they had to PAY for was shocking and showed a whole new, negative side to globalization. Unlike seeing similar brand-name clothes and stores in Spain, these people in Africa were merely using these clothes as a means of survival and completely ignorant to the “status” or importance of particular name brands. As our world becomes more globalized it is important to dig deeper to discover if the globalization is a result of an exchange of ideas, or if an idea or product is being simply placed in a culture for reasons such as economic hardship.

Travel Log 10 “Encountering Globalization” by Doug Beebe; London, UK

When I first chose to study abroad in London I naively thought that I was going to be surrounded by a sea of english accents and english accents only. But as I started to talk to more people about things I should expect when I get there they all mentioned that London is an extremely diverse and globalized city. Upon arrival, I quickly understood what all of these people were talking about. If you were to walk down any street in London you would come across many different people from various ethnic backgrounds as well as restaurants and stores displaying food and goods from many different regions of the world. I guess you could say that this has become part of Londons charm. On one single street you can get an American style sandwich from Pret-A-Manger (a McDonalds chain), get vietnamese street food, have pad thai at a thai restaurant, curry at an indian restaurant, a burger from a pub, and finish it off at a wine bar for happy hour. This is all part of globalization and the incorporation of so many different cultures into one city. When I now think of London I think of it as a huge melting pot of different people and cultures. Globalization is the concept of cultures, people and ideas traveling across borders and of many different countries and then incorporating into the local society.

There are many times that I think about how diverse London is and how there are so many different people and cultures that have made London their home. I do believe that globalization is a good thing because it makes people more aware of the world and the way people live. The one downside that I see with it though is the fact that when you do travel, its not as excited. You find McDonalds and Starbucks in Italy and all of these European countries and it almost takes away from the excitement that you are in a brand new country. Although in London, I feel that the fact that it is so globalized is almost a plus. It hasn’t given me the experience of living in a really modern and diverse city and being able to live and learn among people from all different walks of life. Part of the appeal about London to me is the fact that I have the opportunity to try out and learn about so many different cultures simultaneously.

Along with restaurants and people and cultures rushing into London, London has become a huge hub for foreign companies and banks of all kinds. This can kind of be related to the video we had to watch this week which discussed a lot of foreign investment and loans. London is growing like crazy with the amount of people from across the world and many of the new flats and buildings that are being built are being bought immediately by foreign investors and not being used, just left empty in hopes to make a profit. This is starting to cause a strain on the economy, representing how globalization, in a sense can be dangerous.

In class we came up with a definition to what we thought a “global community” was. We though that a global community is comprised of all living things who make up smaller communities that are conjoin by thee desire to achieve human rights. I still think that this definition holds true now that I have really living in a globalized community. One of the things that I have noticed the most while I have studied abroad is how tolerant people are of globalization and its affects. A huge role of having a global community is the ability for the people who are originally from there to accept and be tolerant of the people and cultures that are flooding into their cities. 

I chose this picture because the only way to see how diverse and globalized London is is by walking down one of its streets. Like I was explaining before, when you walk down a street you see so many different people, restaurants and stores. For example, you in this picture there is an american clothing store, a large english theater, a McDonalds, Thai and Indian restaurants, and Italian cafes.

Travel Log 10: “Encountering Globalization” by Stephanie Schmitt. Florence, Italy

globalization-pngWhile studying abroad, I have definitely noticed the incredible globalization that is occurring everywhere. I think that it is expected to see things from all over the world in America. Americans seem to focus on having the newest things, trying different things, and finding ways to mass produce items at a low cost, and a lot of these are possible by looking to other countries. However, before arriving in Italy I did not expect to see so many things from other countries. I had expected Italy to be a more traditional culture, with roots so deep that they would not let things from other places into the country. I guess that was naïve of me to think that way. In terms of just food, in Florence alone there are two McDonalds, one burger king, a subway, a few Greek places, many Chinese food places, and countless shops to grab a kebab. Also, the movie theaters show movies in English, there are cars from all different countries, and there are clothing stores that did not originate in Italy. The picture that I chose for this blog communicates this phenomenon. It shows that brands are no longer confined to just one place, but are spread throughout the world.  In his chapter entitled “Encountering Globalization,” Kevin Robins discusses the idea of globalization, which has become increasingly prevalent throughout the world in the past few decades. Robins says, “Globalization is about growing mobility across frontiers- mobility of goods and commodities, mobility of information and communications products and services, and mobility of people” (Robins Chapter 20, p 1). Robins means that globalization is all about an exchange and combinations of things from one country with things from another country.

Robins discusses how our ability to mobilize to different places creates the opportunity for encounters, and I have definitely experienced that benefit while studying abroad. A few weeks ago, I had lunch with three Italian university students in their school dining hall. We discussed the differences between things like school, social life, and ideas in American and Italy. In this way, we were able to exchange different things about our cultures. This encounter, as Robins talked about, paved the way for all of us to think about how things are done in our individual cultures, and consider incorporating new things into our own ways.

While globalization can often lead to innovation and new ideas, Robins also points out that it “…can produce tension and friction” (Robins Chapter 20, p 2). This is clearly demonstrated in the The Travels of a T-Shirt in a Global Economy. The video discusses how many people think that when they give away their clothes in America it is donated to those in need, but the shocking truth is that the Salvation Army sells 95% of the clothing to distributors. These distributors then sell the clothing to buyers in Africa, marking up the product 300-400%. The video highlighted a young man named Luka who buys the clothing and then sell the clothing at a secondhand market. He sells the clothing because it is his only option to make money and support his family. This video was shocking to me. I donate a lot of clothes each year, but I never knew that this is where a lot of clothing ends up. Africans in the video were walking around in Adidas, Chanel, and shirts with logos that they did not understand. It is deeply depressing to realize that people are paying for clothing that citizens of Western countries did not want anymore. While globalization can be good when it results in things like the exchange of ideas or the benefit of a global economy, it is detrimental in situations like this. The people in Africa who are surviving on this system are not creating their own industry in their own country, but are relying on the rejects of other countries. The video said that Western countries simply don’t care if Africa’s economy gets better, so they do not encourage the creation of new industries. This is a return to the idea from Shake Hands with the Devil that Western cultures do not really care that much about third world countries. I think that in order for a country to be able to benefit from globalization, it needs to have a strong cultural and economic identity within first.

At the workshops in the spring, our class tried to come up with a definition for global community. We said, “A global community is comprised of all living things who make up smaller communities that are conjoined by the desire to achieve human rights.” In travel log six, I discussed how in order to have a global community, the participants also need to be willing and want to learn more about one other. After this week, I would add to it that a global community is one in which ideas, goods, people, and services are transferred around the world, regardless of whether or not the cultures benefit from the new things. I am not sure that the global community is always mindful of human rights, as it seems that many things we have studied this semester have proven that we have failed to extend basic human rights to all participants of our global community.

Travel Log 10: “Encountering Globalization” by Jill Berlant; Perugia Italy

Globalization could be a good thing but it also has some negative aspects as well after watching the T-shirt video it reminded me of the many horrible things happening in Africa. That town in the video is in a lot of debit and they seem like they will never recover. It blows my mind that other wealthier countries do not try to help their situation. It seems as if they do not want them to ever recover. I clearly do not know too much about the World Bank, but after watching the video it seems like they are putting some money into helping but in reality it is not doing much. I feel like there should be a better way of dealing with the debit. Every couple of years I go through my closet and donate clothes I do not wear any more to those big bins outside. I thought that those clothes would have been donated to people in the United States. I never knew that people turned it into a profit making business for people in Africa then to make a career out of selling second hand clothing. I almost wish that I could give them my clothes I do not wear anymore for free.

In the part of Italy where I live the Italian culture is strong and no other food places or shops are intergraded from other parts of the world, the only thing that is American is the music. Every time we go out the DJ always play popular American hits, I am not sure if they do it because they enjoy it or for the abroad students. I wish that sometimes I could hear other music than what I am used to, it would give me a better feel of the culture, and it is strange that in the local little shops they listen to American songs. I did realize that it is very common to find American fast food chains; in huge cities I have seen Starbucks, Dunkin’ Donuts, McDonalds, Burger King and more. It is very odd to see that in Europe, because Americans are thought of being over weight because of fast food places but yet Europe has them too. Italy has the lease fast food chains in Europe; they seem the most authentic and take a lot of pride in their food. In Kevin Robbin’s article, “Encountering Globalization” he says “Globalization may be seen in terms of an accumulation of cultural phenomena where new global elements coexist alongside existing and established local or nation forms.” I think the example about having fast food places through Europe is an example of what Kevin Robbin’s was saying.

In class we came up that Globalization “it is comprised of all living things who make up communities that are conjoined by the desire to achieve human rights.” I think that this still is true but the world may not actually live by it. Africa has needed help for many years now and still nothing that substantial has been done. If everyone has the same desire to achieve human rights, Africans lack a lot less human rights than we have. They cannot even receive new clothing. The boy in the film cannot get married because he must help his siblings stay in school. He had to drop out of school to help his mother. I think that every child should be able to finish school if they want to but in so many situations they just do no have enough money too. He does not have the same opportunities because his country cannot help the people because they have to pay off debit.

The picture I choose represents how small the world actually is, I feel that more people should care about other people and places in the world besides their home country. Prayer-For-World-PeaceI been to over eight different countries within two months I have experienced and seen so much. I think that every should travel to see different parts of the world because once you find the smaller city everything isn’t the same and typical you can actually start to see the roots of where these cultures came from.

Travel Log 10: “Encountering Globalization” By Marc Capparelli. Perugia, Italia

As students who study abroad in cultures different from our own, we contribute to globalization even if we don’t know it. Just by being present in the community and sharing our ideas with local citizens, as well as taking their ideas when we go back home, we increase the level of globalization occurring in the world.

Globalization can be thought of as the movement and spreading of information, communications technology, people, and many other things within different cultures. While this may sound like a nice thing, I find it negative in the sense that it can make cultures more homogenous, allowing certain parts of a culture or its traditions to be lost. In his text “Encountering Globalization,” Kevin Robbins discusses the concept of globalization and some of its advantages and disadvantages. In this text, Robbin’s writes, “We should not think of globalization in terms of homogenization, then, in line with what is commonly believed and feared….What globalization in fact brings into existence is a new basis for thinking about the relation between cultural convergences and cultural differences.” While I understand ‘globalization’ is not the homogenization and blending of cultures, I believe that homogenization is a direct effect of this “new basis” for discussing how cultures integrate. The reason I feel this way is because I have traveled to many parts of Italy, specifically Venice and Florence, and I have found that these locations have become ‘lost’ to tourism and large corporations. In these places, there are crowds upon crowds of tourists all taking pictures and waiting on lines for things they probably do not even understand. There are also places like Foot Locker, Gucci, Zara, H&M, and McDonald’s in every direction. Because of this homogenization, these great historic places have become nothing more than Disneylands for tourists. This can really undermine the Italian culture and make it very similar to that of an American culture. For these reasons, I disagree with what Robbins stated about globalization.

As I live here in Italy, I find that no matter where I go, American music is being played in bars, cafes, or even in the gym. I also am surprised when I find out that Italians know many American artists and songs or have watched many American movies. Most of the Italians I have spoken with tell me about all of the American music they like such as Michael Buble or John Mayer. I find it so interesting that they know this music when I really have never listened to any major Italian artist before. Along with music, food is another thing that is involved in globalization. While being in Italy and getting to know Italians, I have shared American dishes as well as learned about many italian dishes. One thing that still remains true to Italian culture is that they firmly believe as fact that their food is the best in the world. Because of globalization, I have come across tourist traps areas that sell hot dogs, hamburgers, or kebabs. Yet, statistically speaking, Italy has the fewest number of ethnic food places because of how much they believe in their food.

Nonetheless, there is a lot of globalization in Italy. When thinking of this concept, I also think about our definition of a global community and how we defined it similarly to people working together to achieve human rights. Speaking solely about Italy, globalization may or not be helping this process to happen. One can say the tourism is destroying
the true essence of the places in Italy. But, one can also say the tourism brings the cultures together as well as does the music. However, when speaking of other places like Zambia, globalization is destroying the process of people achieving human rights. Like Luka from the video, some people are forced into a certain life because of poverty, not allowing them to lead the life they wanted to lead and so instead, they settled for less.

The picture I chose for this week is a picture of me observing my surroundings in Venice and looking up at a very tall bell tower. The reason I chose this picture is because it is of me wandering Italy and feeling small. After this week’s blog, I feel much smaller and that the world is much bigger. I feel as if pensive venicemy actions have more power in them than I previously thought. When I travel around Italy more in the upcoming weeks, I am going to think more about this idea of globalization and how my actions of wandering about are more consequential than meaningless.

Travel Log 10: “Encountering Globalization” By Ashley Moreau, Cork, Ireland.

This week’s movie was very interesting and unlike anything I have ever seen before.In my head, I just assumed that the clothes I donate I usually stay within the U.S. borders. I had never realized that this market was so vast. It’s sad because the people making the money off of this business are the ones who are importing it, and they mark up their product 300 to 400 percent. The locals, like Luka who then buy their bundles of clothes often aren’t even allowed to look at the product before they buy it and have to gamble when buying the clothes. Further, the video discussed with each bundle that they sell in the markets; they barely make enough money to have enough to buy another bundle and save some money. These people are selling the second hand clothes to survive, sometimes trading unsold clothes for fish. It’s sad because nations like Zambia who had to borrow money from the World Bank to expand their industries, education and healthcare are now spiraling downward because of this. With an insurmountable pile of debt owed to other nations and the World Bank, their government has run out of money. The people are then forced to leave school and begin work early to try to support their families. Even so, with no real industries and lack of jobs, many people in this nation lived impoverished. Further, the importation of second hand goods from the U.S. and Europe has taken over their textile market and caused any remaining Zambian textile companies to close. This puts to light one of the large negatives of globalization.

In Kevin Robbins’s article, “Encountering Globalization,” he makes two very important points about the complexities of globalization. The first point that he makes is “globalization may be seen in terms of an accumulation of cultural phenomena where new global elements coexist alongside existing and established local or nation forms.” What he is saying is that the globalization movement has not completely eradicated a nation’s old way of doing things; instead it has added to and blended into new cultural idiosyncrasies within these nations. The second argument that he makes is “ (Globalization’s) complexity and diversity (which make it particularly unamenable to ideal-type categorizations). The processes of global change are multifarious and they are also experienced differentially by all those who confront them” People are quick to define globalization into ideal categories but that doesn’t give an accurate representation of what it is. Robbins’s is so right in saying that everyone confronts with this issue differently. From watching the video, this became especially evident to me. Not all people benefit from globalization the way that we do as Americans. To us, its mean greater access to remote areas of the world by airplane, and a global economy that leads us to need to be more broadly educated. But to developing nations, this may mean that western countries’ economic interests instead of their own can now drive their economies.

As a study abroad student, I am contributing to globalization without even realizing it. When I travel to different countries and while I’m here in Ireland, I am exchanging ideas with people all the time. I’m learning how to be a global citizen and witnessing first hand in different countries how globalization has impacted them. One thing I have noted is that there is not shortage of McDonalds and Burger Kings in every country I have gone to, which is an awful representation of American cuisine. In class we defined the global community, saying, “ it is comprised of all living things who make up communities that are conjoined by the desire to achieve human rights.” I think this a good partial definition of it, but I think that we have to consider that not all countries see the issue of human rights in the same way, just as globalization is seen in different ways depending on what part of the world you are in.

The picture that I choose to include to show my developing awareness of globalization and travel is of two hands touching. The hands are shaded with a map of the globe and I think that it is symbolic of the importance of humanity being connected. Human rights and connection of all humans on earth should always be the forefront of globalization efforts. I think that we loose sight of this easily because powerful nations are greedy and see this movement as an easy way to exploit other nations and make more money for themselves.