Friday, May 30, 2014

Global Citizenship: Thinking Globally, Acting Locally

Before we left on the study abroad trip, I always wondered what it was actually going to be like in London. How were the people going to act and treat us, what the food was going to be like, worried about being a target as an American tourist, the money system, etc. It was only a short while after we arrived that I noticed how the Londoners acted, how the Underground worked and how to use it, and it did take me a little longer to learn the pound system and distinguish between all the different coins. I found myself doing everything I could to fit in with the culture so I was not a stand out. The lifestyle in London was much different from western Nebraska. Just when it seemed that I was acting locally in London and learning the customs, we arrived back in the states. I believe I can think globally now with the experience this trip has provided me. After returning home, I find myself settling down and relaxing from the fast paced lifestyle of the UK. I often figure the seven hour time difference and compare what I am doing at a given time in the states to what I would have been doing in London at the same time. I think about the trip all the time! This reminds me of how different the world is and how cultures vary from region to region. Although I highly enjoyed the time abroad, I can say it is nice to be home in the states and can regroup and once again get back in the swing of things and lifestyle I am use to.  Just as in my latest post about global competence, this experience has expanded my role as a global citizen and I am very fortunate to have had this opportunity to study abroad.     

Global Competence

What does it mean to be a global citizen? There are many ways to go about and answer this question but I am going to pick one main topic; global competence. I believe that global competence is a very important topic when discussing what it means to be a global citizen. In general, global competence means one should have knowledge and should be aware of the world around them. Global competence is used “to describe a body of knowledge about world regions, cultures, and global issues, and the skills and dispositions to engage responsibly and effectively in a global environment.” After spending the two weeks abroad, I would definitely say that all of us have become more of a global citizen and have acquired a sense of global competence. I learned a lot about the history and culture of England. We got to experience the cultural norms in many ways. We learned about it and experienced it first hand when we went to places and communicated with all the different types of people. Thus, we had to use cross cultural skills to communicate with people and we had to understand multiple cultural perspectives in order to do so. One must reach a certain level of global competence in order to assimilate global citizenship. I believe that a study abroad trip, very much like the one we participated in is a great way to expand one’s horizons with global awareness. In my opinion, that is what it means to be considered a global citizen.

Saturday, May 24, 2014

Global Consequences of Local Behaviors

There are several things that I have notice that could be classified as global consequences of local behaviors. One of the first things I noticed immediately was the number of people that smoke here. It doesn’t matter where you walk on the streets, it always smells like cigarette smoke. Another global issue is pollution. It is very dirty here and I think the underground train system is the worse. The black soot is really bad. After being here for a short period of time, every one of us would blow our noses and the Kleenex would be black. It is disgusting! The rails and the entire platform that the trains run on are completely black too. The soot is everywhere… The last thing I wanted to mention is the fact that four of us have gotten sick just in the two weeks we have been here. I think it is mostly to do with the underground as well. Constable Watson guessed that about 14 million people use the underground a day. Just think of everyone touching the hand railings on the trains and the and on the escalators. I think that our immune systems are not use to all of the people over here.
Even though I have caught a cold and have been feeling a bit under the weather, I have had a great time. Tomorrow we are leaving the hotel right around noon and heading to the airport. I am so glad that Chadron state College offers this to the students. I have had so much fun and have learned a lot from this trip. It has really expanded my knowledge about England’s history.       
Here is a picture of the Undergroung before the train has arrived. And it was taken late at night because usually it is packed with people.

Friday, May 23, 2014

Anit-American Sentiment

After being in London for almost the full two weeks now, I have definitely expanded my worldview. Besides the different ways of living, I have noticed an Anti-American sentiment. Throughout our tours and events for the scheduled days, many of the people have been cracking jokes about America. Although it is in a fun and laughing matter, the idea of it is present. Because our tour guides are very nice people I do not take their jokes and statements seriously. It is much like the Chevy v. Ford concept in the US. Here, it is the UK v. the US. In much more serious terms, I have had some experiences here that have lead me to believe this is true. I have watched people on the underground and their expressions they have on us. Their facial expressions, body language and when they whisper to each other give it away. The night of the Pub Crawl we met a guy that was from London. I think he did not have the best attitude of Americans just because of a couple comments he made to us. On the streets and underground people have ran into me and they just seem rude about it. I’m not sure if it’s just the lifestyle here or if it’s because I am American. It was the same way in Paris too. 

Day 10 and 11

On Wednesday, which was day ten, we left the hotel at 430am and went to Paris for the day. The morning was pretty rough on us for it was cold and it was raining. Michaela, Jessica and I were the only one who brought umbrellas. Even with the umbrella I froze all morning so I can’t imagine how the others felt. But right when we eat lunch it quite raining and the sun came out. This really saved the day for us. In my opinion, my favorite part was the Eiffel Tower. It was absolutely huge!! I had no idea it was that big. We headed back to London at the end of the day and we arrived back at the Hotel around 10pm.
On Thursday, we got a really big surprise. After meeting at New Scotland Yard, Constable Watson and Constable Cole took us to watch the changing of the guards. There we already hundreds if not thousands of people there. We all were thinking we were going to watch it through the gates just like everyone else, but Constable Watson had it arranged for us to enter through the gates and watch it up close and personal! For those of you wonder why this is such a big deal, this event takes place at Buckingham Palace which is where the Queen lives. I felt so honored because people were taking our pictures and Constable Watson said nobody else gets to stand within the gates. It was such a great experience! After this we took a quick walk and got to visit Downing street and take pictures at the famous door number 10! We then met with the University of Omaha Lincoln group in the afternoon back at New Scotland Yard. Here we watched a presentation about policing in London and we ended with a UK and US policing comparison which was very funny. Because Constable Watson has such a great personality and character, most everything were jokes about the different policing systems. It was an absolute blast and I highly enjoyed it.      

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Day 9

I am trying to catch up on our days because I am behind. Monday, we got to watch the Trooping of the Colour rehearsal. This has been a tradition for many years and it is a birthday celebration for the Queen. I believe the actual event will take place in June. We then went to King’s College and Dr. Thomas MacManus gave a lecture to us and compared the legal systems of our in the states to here in the UK. The most interesting thing I learned is the citizens here can personally prosecute someone if harm was done to them. All they need is sufficient evidence and need to get a warrant from a judge for the perpetrator to show up for court.
Today, we went and visited the Supreme Court of the United Kingdom. Then we then went to the Royal Inns of Justice, which is a criminal court and an appellate court. We watched an appellate court which the defendant was charged with multiple charges and the most severe was rape of a minor. They were challenging the sentence and the process due to the change of the Human Rights Act and the question of one particular juror on the jury. We then finished the day with the Legal Walk and got to see where the attorneys live. We are planning to get to bed really early tonight because tomorrow is the big day to Paris and we have to leave the Hotel at 430am. I’m so excited!

Day 7

On Sunday, we woke up fairly early and went to Stonehenge. I did not know very much about Stonehenge prior to the trip, so I was amazed when our tour guide, Sarah, shared the history about the stones with us. Although nobody knows exactly who put the stones there or why, there are several theories behind the history. Some believe it was built as religious healing temple, a cemetery for the royal family of that time and others honestly believe that it was done by aliens. The stones were put into place between four and five thousand years ago. There were two types of stones that were used. The small stones, called blue stones, came from Wales which is 150 miles from Stonehenge. Each of the blue stones weighs about 5 tons each. The large stones are called sarsons and some of the bigger sarsons weigh about 40 stones. It’s believed that it would have taken 200 or more men to move these stones. This is just a small portion of the history in a nutshell, as there is much more about it.  It’s awesome to learn all of this history and we are actually here to see it and stand right next to it.
We then left Stonehenge and traveled to Bath. Here, we toured a portion of the city and visited the Roman Baths. Bath is known as the Golden City and it sits in a valley surrounded by huge hills. The best part of the Roman Baths was when we got to drink the authentic water at the end of the tour. The water comes deep for the earth and rises to the surface. It was used to fill the Kings bath with warm water, as the water is at a constant 46 degrees Celsius which is fairly warm. The History of the Roman Baths dates back as far as 2,000 years ago and took about 300 years to build. It was very cool to see the foundation and how they build the trenches and such for the water to flow in. Here are some pictures of the famous landmarks.