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.

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Travel Log 10: “Encountering Globalization” By Taylor Chelo. Perugia, Italy.

The term “globalization” has been one of those very loosely defined terms that is typically overheard in history and business lectures. My field of study does not pertain to these two subjects as much, so I have always been curious as to what globalization really means. Despite my lack of prior knowledge, I have come to understand what globalization means not only for myself as a student abroad, but also for the global community as a whole.

In Kevin Robins’s chapter titled “Encountering Globalization,” he not only defines this term, but he also analyzes its many dimensions and how specific groups of people in these dimensions are influenced by globalization’s mobility. This idea that globalization is a type of global movement is something that intrigued me as I read Robins’s chapter: “With mobility, comes encounter” (Robins 240). The only way in which the globalization movement can be encountered is by experiential learning. This learning method is the foundation of studying abroad. We separate from our own realities back at home to gain new wisdom and a new perspective of the world, and this can only be achieved by immersing ourselves in new experiences during our stay in our host country. After learning about the three different dimensions of globalization, I have discovered how past workshop modules and my own experiences abroad have allowed me to both prepare for and encounter globalization.

One of the key lessons that we were taught during our weekend workshops for this course was about the three phases of a Rite of Passage, especially as we reflect upon our study abroad experience through this lens. The three phases are separation, liminality, and reincorporation. The first dimension of globalization that Robins explains to his readers reflects what occurs as the individual progresses from the separation phase into the liminality phase. Robins writes, One very powerful dimension of global cultural change has been[…]to dissolve the frontiers and divisions between different cultures” (Robins 242). As students and travelers abroad, we must abandon and look beyond the assumptions and stereotypes we hold about particular cultures so we can diminish the barriers and embrace cultural differences instead of shunning them. The second dimension that Robins outlines for his readers relates to one’s experience in the liminality phase: “A second dimension of cultural globalization[…]is that which promotes cultural encounter and interaction” (Robins 242). The only way we can make global change and promote the common good is by educating ourselves about other cultures and engaging within them. Studying abroad is one of the best ways to do so. I encountered the first and second dimensions of globalization today on my train ride from Venice to Perugia.

A man in his thirties sat beside me on the train, and he asked me in broken English what time the stop for Perugia would be. After answering his question, we broke into a conversation regarding our travel experiences thus far in Italy, where we were from, and our views of particular lifestyles abroad compared to those of our home countries. The man was from Iran. Because I have grown up in a conservative family, my family members have held specific views of the Middle East, especially given our country’s troubled ties with these countries. However, the flow of the man and I’s interesting conversation about culture and learning new languages allowed me to break away from a restrictive worldview that I have always been surrounded by. The man expressed his appreciation for my friendliness and hospitality, especially in helping him practice his English. By the end of our train ride, the man had improved his English, I knew how to say “Hello,” “Goodbye,” “Bees make honey,” and other phrases in Farsi, one of the native tongues in Iran, and we both made an unlikely friendship by engaging in a multi-cultural dialogue.

The third dimension of cultural globalization that Robins introduces has a more negative connotation to it; it especially parallels to how tricksters like staying too attached to one’s home culture and relying on alcohol and partying to relieve homesickness and culture shock. Robins explains, “The third dimension of cultural globalization[…]concerns developments that apparently involve a rejection or turning away from the turbulent changes associated with global integration[…] These loyalties and attachments seem to go against the grain of globalization” (Robins 244). A traveler abroad must remain open-minded so they can grow from the multicultural, experiential learning that takes place in one’s host country. By doing this, the individual can successfully prepare for the reincorporation phase as they acquire “a new basis for thinking about the relation between cultural convergence and cultural difference” (Robins 245). Although I was homesick in the beginning of my time abroad, I decided to become more involved at the Umbra Institute and in the local Perugia community. This opened many doors, welcomed new friendships, and made me realize that the only way I can have an unforgettable study abroad experience is by forgetting about differences, and building bridges, instead.

This is why I chose this picture and quote to convey my developing awareness of the interactions between globalization and travel. Like Luka, the young African entrepreneur of second-hand clothes trade from Zambia in the film The Travels of a T-Shirt in the Global Economy, we need to connect ourselves with other members of our global community in order to When-we-connect-our-students-with-the-world-we-are-building-bridges-today-that-tomorrow-will-walk-across.-recognize how our actions and decisions impact those abroad. As our QU*301 class mentioned in our definition of a global community, it is “a shared living space of interdependent, mindful individuals who are endowed with universal human rights, choosing to act upon them, embrace differences, and work toward common goals.” I hope to continue building bridges between diverse cultures as I travel throughout Italy and beyond its borders. This way, future students can realize that they, too, can keep the positive momentum of globalization going by educating themselves of other cultures while studying abroad.

Works Cited

Robins, Kevin. The Global Transformations Reader: An Introduction to the Globalization Debate.

          By David Held and Anthony G. McGrew. 2nd ed. Cambridge, UK: Polity, 2003. 239-45.

          Print.

TL10: “Encountering Globalization” by Lauren Kantrovitz, in Florence Italy. 

The movie, “The travels of a T-shirt in the Global Economy” really opened my eyes to how poverty stricken and dependent some countries are towards “rich countries” like the US. There is no wonder people think money is a power holder and place so much importance towards it, because that is what or government and the world we live in has taught us. The US deciphers many policy issues as opposed to poorer countries who don’t have as stable of a government. Zambia depends on places like America who heartedly in order to survive. The clothing trade, is literally keeping some families and individuals alive in places like Zambia and Ghana, who refer to the clothes they receive as “dead white man’s clothes”. They have a choice of getting involved in a dangerous trade or a tough life involving stealing and getting arrested in order to support their families financially. It was said that 40% of children are malnourished in Africa and to me, it is heartbreaking to think that some people are worried that a new Chinese restaurant may pop up and hurt the culture that now stands when we have cultures that ‘need’ change and globalization in order to survive, yet aren’t getting that. I always pictured many parts of Africa to be poor and pictured African children running around outside with plain t-shirts that were not much of anything, just very plain and simple. However what is almost more saddening to me, was the surprise that they wear the same brands as us. Of course, it is wonderful that the clothes we donate could be helping ‘anyone’ in the world, but it is so sad to think that people there need our help so much that our clothes will go that long of a way.

Governments portray a sense of worry that if they allow people to experience another culture that they may choose that way of living over the one they have now. It is looked at as a competition, but then again, what isn’t these days? There is always something that has to be fought for, otherwise it’s as though we have no worth. Thus, even if a culture is much more alike than people lead on, it is the extremes of that culture that standout and make it different. However, although architecture and language are large factors in culture, you can get just as good, if not better pizza from Italy or foi gras from France, in America! The world is so set against adopting American culture and “westernizing” themselves, however I feel that Americans have shown to be the most integrative out of all the cultures I have seen thus far. In almost any American city, yes you can find a hamburger, because when in America, right! However you can also find almost any other cuisine around the world or a museum representing another culture. Yet, in so many countries, all you can find is their cuisine and history about ‘their’ country. Every country should be proud to be who they are but we can’t stand here and say that Americans are selfish when we are the most globalized country there is. Just like Robins said in “Encountering Globalization”, globalization does not displace everything that preceded it. What are we afraid of? Becoming more cultured and to realize that we may enjoy new activities or ways of life that was not previously introduced to us? We are cutting ourselves short and preventing further knowledge and insights from our lives that could make us happier and better people. There are many people who would despise integrating other cultures into their own as that would mean losing some of the raw authentic culture. I do understand and would not want all the small authentic towns of Italy for example to become globalized in a way that there are just as many Indian or Chinese restaurants as there are Italian, because that’s the beauty of authenticity and traveling. But we need to find that middle ground, which to me is simply acceptance and openness to new ‘people’. We don’t necessarily need to be open to our city or town changing its ways but we need to be open to new people adopting our ways or allowing people to live the lifestyle that they know in our culture, because that won’t hurt us to watch.

As a student studying abroad, I am enabling globalization to occur as I am apart of another culture and integrating myself into a new one. From Italians seeing how people from other cultures, like myself, act each day, transformation is slowly occurring as Italians will begin to adopt small parts of how we act in ways that may not be apparent to us right now. The same goes for myself once I travel back to America. I have learned so much about myself and different cultures and likely have no idea that I have adopted new habits or things that I now like than I previously had. Humans are habitual when we like something we will do it over and over again which is exactly how new societal norms are adopted.

If one looks at how people lived in the 1800s, it is an entirely different way of living, so much so, that when I look at paintings from different eras, what I find so striking and intriguing is trying to picture a world depicted in the pictures and how the ground we walk on each day was once so different. However just as Salman Rushdie said, “The transformation that comes of new and unexpected combinations of human beings, cultures, ideas, politics, movies, songs” (243). Clearly, transformation, and much of it, has occurred throughout time, but that is why each decade is symbolized by different lifestyles, because it happens over periods of time and isn’t so sudden that it feels as drastic as it may look like from the outside. Just like our bodies, the world is changing around us each day, and we have to stop fighting change and open our eyes to a world that has so much in store for us than the one we live in now, because globalization gives us possibilities, and possibilities are endless.

The photo that I chose to incorporate in this post is a picture of s modern French restaurant in Paris, France. If one looks at the menu, it is incorporating classic French cuisine but made into a modern take of that cuisine. Although the food has been changed and may not incorporate that exact same flavors or techniques to make the food, it is still French and absolutely delicious! Change and globalization is not always a bad things. If one still wants a traditional French plate, there are countless restaurants at one’s foot to be able to do that. But there is no reason we should not open our minds, or our palates, up to new ideas, flavors, and possibilities.


Robins, K., 2002. Encountering Globalization. In: C. Held & A. McGrew, eds. The Global Transformation Reader. Cambridge: Polity. Ch. 20.
The Travels of a T-Shirt in the Global Economy.

Travel Log 10 “Encountering Globalization” Zelia Pantani. Antibes, France

 

When thinking of how to begin this weeks Travel Log, only one word comes to my mind: thankful. I am thankful for the opportunities I am given, the ones I create and the ability to be an active member of the global community. This sentiment might be partially due to the video The Travels of a T-shirt in the Global Economy or the article “The Global Transformation Reader” or the fact I am able to wake up everyday living what feels like a dream. I’m thankful that I get to be apart of this globalization and contribute, in the small ways that I do.

Specifically, when watching the Travels of a T-shirt in the Global Economy, the idea that you are given what is provided by your environment struck me. Theses people are given so little to thrive off of and make money that they do it in the only ways provided to them. Their particular way of globalization is through the food chain of clothing distribution—the clothing that you or I toss into the “give away” pile after sitting in our nicely refurbished closets for months on end. Their culture has flourished around this way of life since the beginning of the 1990’s. Many times when I think of Globalization I think of outsourcing and how companies try to make products with a bigger “bang for their buck”. However, there is so much more to globalization than just outsourcing for production purposes, it’s the way that we conduct our lives and influence more than just the global economy but global culture as well.

The people of Africa are given these clothes in which dealers will markup prices 300-400% just in order to make some profit to provide for their families. Often times, that isn’t even enough to sustain a healthy life style. Something that really struck me was the thought that these same people that are struggling and having to miss out on events such as their husband’s funeral because they can’t afford to lose a day’s worth of work, are also the people who built America from the ground up. These people in poverty, not only contributed so a successful nation that wasn’t their own but now allow part of their economy to be at the mercy of this same nation (talk about equal opportunity and human rights!!). Some might be asking, why not just make their own clothes to sell and help grow their own economy? Simple fix except for the fact that the abundance of second hand clothes coming in, there is literally no room for a clothing industry. This is exhibit of globalization poses the question and concern that maybe some are excelling in their economies at the expenses of other economies.

These are the thoughts that open my eyes to how much of an impact I too can have on globalization. Whether it’s every time I donate my clothes, buy new clothes or even take a trip to the grocery store. So many of todays products are grown, made or produced in different places than sold. For example, in my town we have a designated store called the “International Store” that sells products solely produced outside of France. Though, I find it kind of an oxymoron that we come across the world to experience new cultures in all aspects yet fall back on stores such as the international store to go get Lobster Bisque when we crave it. But that’s just one of the many influences of globalization that I am able to be an active participant in.

I am grateful and thankful that I live in such beautiful places, experience so many different things and am able to be apart of the global community. I feel like it not only deepens my knowledge but allows me to experience more than I would if I stayed in Hamden, Connecticut. Despite being a part of the global community even at home in Connecticut as many of my clothes and products I buy are imported, I had little awareness of this at home. Being able to travel and study abroad, I’ve noticed it in everyday activites. Every day I see something different, learn something new and have a different adventure. Even if it’s just noticing different focuses in the classroom than at home or trying a new restaurant.

A perfect example of this is this past Wednesday after class. My friends and I decided for our last month and a half we would start a new tradition, go to the store after class, buy a baguette (of course), various cheeses, spreads, vegetables and a new bottle of wine—always from different places and different kinds—and eat it on the beach. It’s a small contribution we can make towards being apart of the global community and globalization through trying experience new foods and tastes! Again though, how lucky am I to say that this is my new agenda every Wednesday afternoon?

TL10: “Encountering Globalization” Danielle Tomlinson, Paris France

“Globalization is about growing mobility” As technology has advanced, the world has begun to transition into an era of globalization. In my opinion, globalization is the process of integration on an international scale through the movement of goods, services and more recently people. What once used to be solely economically impactful, has now become more socially and culturally impactful on many people across the globe. Prior to our QU301 workshop, I had a perception that globalization was simply the act of transporting goods from one country to another. But in recent times, as the world becomes more engrained in social media. The circulation of ideas and sentiments are so easily shared across countries. I believe that all study abroad students are a part of the globalization process by sharing their views, cultural practices, religious beliefs and social behaviours. We become a part of the hybridization that is often talked about. “Cultures are transformed by the incorporations they make from other cultures in the world” (243) Upon reflection I realize how true this is, not only does the host culture change but a person’s individual way of life may change as well. When I had moved to the United States of America, there were many things that I had no opinion on or wouldn’t dare talk about. But being in a country that values their freedom of speech so heavily allowed me to become more vocal. And even so bringing that back to my own country I have allowed those whom I social with such as friends and family to become more vocal too. In this way, I believe we all participate in globalization whether it be that we are the foreign resident or the domestic resident. Many times, study abroad students only think of the impact that their host country has had on them. Rarely do we think about the impact we may have on our host country through everyday interactions and our behaviours we contribute to hybridization of a culture. Even now as study abroad trips become less and less extensive, the week or two weeks one may spend in a country may impact another’s life and continue to contribute to the integration of cultures globally and the hybridization of that countries culture. Thus when I imagine, how through my own interactions and expressing my views that maybe someone’s opinion may be changed or my own opinion may be changed. And through that discussion, I too contribute to globalization and my French counterpart contributes to globalization. Though globalization can be accredited mostly to technology, there is still something to be said about the physical aspect of moving to a different country to understand one’s culture, and hopefully get one to understand yours. In the film we watched in our workshop, we say how each group of people had preconceived notions about the other. Globalization works to break down these barriers. Last week we talked about how stereotypes may skew an image of a country and its culture. Thus being a physical presence in someone’s country, showing them through your learned behaviours, social instincts and cultural upbringing that the preconceived notions they may hold against you are wrong. This is debunking stereotypes and replacing these preconceived notions of fact, whilst being reminded that the interactions that you have with people from other countries can impact your perspective far more than people care to think. So by engaging with communitas, guides and even tricksters one contributes to globalization.

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 Aileen Sheluck – London, England

Globalization is “the increase of trade around the world, especially by large companies producing and trading goods in many different countries” (Cambridge English Dictionary). In the present day, countries are all connected through trade, social media, and business (like franchising or outsourcing). I know for a fact that I have encountered globalization in my time here. For example, there are numerous McDonald’s and KFCs all over the place here. Clearly, Kentucky Fried Chicken is not a British company. America has expanded its influence over to another country, and that’s why these restaurants exist here. In addition, I experience the effects of globalization whenever I see tourists. Because the world is so easily connected due to transportation advances like planes, it is very easy for people from other countries and cultures to travel here. While, at the surface level, this may not seem like globalization, it contributes because the tourists bring some of their culture here, and, when they return to their home countries, they will bring some of English culture back with them. These exchanges of culture and information all contribute to the effects of globalization.

By traveling to and trying to assimilate into another country, I, too, am contributing to the flow of globalization. Simply by being here I have carried on globalization. But that’s not all: I buy products here that I will bring home with me. I shop at stores here, I exchange currency, and I support local charities and churches. All of this helps contribute to the flow of globalization and information among countries.

At a quick glance, this seems to be an entirely positive concept – people are experiencing different cultures and gathering new information to help confirm or break stereotypes. It is always a good thing to become more cultured. However, this is not always the case. If you really think about it, “There is the sense that cultural encounters across frontiers can create new and productive kinds of cultural fusion and hybridity. But, where some envisage and enjoy cosmopolitan complexities, other perceive, and often oppose, what they see as cultural homogenization and the erosion of cultural specificity” (Robins 242). This all comes back to ethnocentrism and stereotypes. I think that globalization does have the possibility of causing cultures to all blend together – but this is only if people don’t take the time to appreciate a different culture for what it is.

When we developed our working definition of global community, we highlighted the idea of embracing differences to work towards common goals. It is very important that people of difference cultures embrace their differences because if everyone is trying to force everyone else to behave the same way they do, 1) it would cause mass chaos and 2) we would end up with a giant hybrid culture. I think that we need to add something to our working definition about peacefully coexisting. The global community isn’t just a group of interdependent individuals. Because of the increasing effects of globalization, the world is becoming more and more connected. It is important that different people can peacefully coexist because if people fight, it can easily spread to different parts of the world. In relation to this, we did incorporate human rights into our working definition, but I think we need to add something about protecting human rights. We acknowledged that everyone has human rights, but it is important for the global community to protect the human rights of its citizens. As I said before, the world is more connected that ever before. Everyone should be able to have the same rights.

This picture conveys my developing awareness of the interactions of globalization and travel because it incorporates the acknowledgement of so many different cultures. I took this picture at a street food market I went to where there were foods from all over theIMG_2614 world presented (whether it was German sausage or French cheese). I think it was really great that they had these little ribbons with world flags on them. It showed that people recognized the differences in the cultures. When someone tasted a bratwurst from the German cart, they knew it was German, as opposed to thinking that it was English simply because they ate it in England. This market was the perfect example of globalization and how easy it is to spread ideas and resources among the world.

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!

TL10 Encountering Globalization by Rob Cowan.

As an international business major, I have always enjoyed studying the inflows and outflows of both consumer goods and cultures throughout a global market. The idea that human beings are able to transfer ideas and products with such efficiency in the 21st century is extremely exciting to me, so exciting that I have chosen it to be my career path. However, after studying abroad for these past 2 and a half months and watching the video “The Travels of a T-Shirt in the Global Economy,” my eyes have been opened to so much more that I did not realize. Between consumer goods, secondhand clothes, and western businesses and restaurants, there is a growing trend of rapid globalization all over the world.

Seeing what the young man Luka had to endure just to make money for himself and his family was very surreal. Like most Americans, I thought that old donated shirts were simply given to families in third world countries that needed them. To see a market and system where the shirts are skid and resold, along with seeing the images of AC/DC shirts and boy scout uniforms on villagers, was a testament to the spread of American influence around the world, even if it is just a piece of clothing. As the video points out, this market and demand for this clothing provides a livelihood for so many Africans, while many people have no idea back in the States. Secondly, it shows that America’s largest export to many African nations is donated clothes. That illustrates how far behind these countries are from developed or even developing nations, but also that globalization will emerge from some of the most unlikely places.

Since my time in Barcelona and Europe started, I have been shocked by the presence of American pop culture and food chains. Walking down extremely tourist centered areas in Barcelona, it is common to pass Burger Kings, McDonalds, KFC, and other fast food chains that as an American, I am not particularly proud of. This is not unique to Barcelona either. While visiting places like Munich, Rome, Brussels, and more, there were many American chain restaurants on the main streets and city centers. On top of the food, popular American clothing chains dominate the shopping areas of major European cities. This was extremely eye opening to me, because it showed how much of an emphasis modern businesses are placing on becoming a multinational brand. While it is a plus for the American economy and it’s businesses, one begins to ask what effect this is happening on national cultures on both a micro and macro level.

When the spread of goods globally begins, the flow of people and culture follow shortly after. A negative effect of this could be that with American consumerism steadily gaining popularity in foreign countries, a sense of homogeny begins to set in. Slowly but surly, cultures will begin to lose some of their own unique aspects and traditions, and the world could see it self shifting towards a global culture, as opposed to various cultures across nations. Because of the ease of traveling today, ideas are being shared at the highest frequency in human history, so people will have to work harder to keep an identity as a nation. In speaking to locals and professors in Barcelona, I have learned that the city has gone from deeply traditional into an “international city similar to New York”. Because of this, they said, they must work harder to keep Catalonia and it’s history and culture at the center of the city and it’s trend.

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The image I chose to illustrate this point is a diagram pointing to two of the biggest examples of American influence, Starbucks and McDonalds. As the map shows, these two franchises are everywhere, and the material from which they get their products from comes from all over the globe.