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.   

Saturday, May 17, 2014

Dear Mom...

I have been doing a little shopping in my free time and I have just made a down payment. I was wondering if you could possibly add a few more dollars to my travelers card?

Haha, funny I know. Miss you!

Day 6

Today was a very long day. We were on out feet most all day and only got to rest for just a couple short periods. We started the day the by touring the House of Parliament. Our tour guide informed us that the proper name of it is the Westminster Palace but it’s commonly known as the House of Parliament.  It’s where all the government meetings take place and where they laws are voted on for the UK. It is a huge palace that is amazing. We then got a quick bite to eat and went to Westminster Abbey. King Henry III started to build the palace in 1065 and it took about 500 years to complete the structure. Today it is used as a normally functioning church for the royal family. In my opinion, this was my favorite tour for today. The architecture of the palace was entirely unreal. I do not understand how they built such structures like this back then. It was a shame we could not take pictures inside of Westminster Abbey and Westminster Palace. It was amazing! We were only allowed to photograph the first room where we started the tours. All of the coronations have taken place in Westminster Abbey since it was built. This is when they crown the new king or queen. They have the exact chair that every king and queen has sat in during this process since 1300. That is incredible! There are also several tombs located here and a number of them buried here are very famous individuals.

The four most important people buried here is Charles Darwin, Isaac Newton, Charles Dickens, and the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier. Of course, most everyone should know who the first three are but no one knows who the Unknown Soldier is, hence the name of the tomb. He is an unidentified soldier that represents all the men that gave their lives for their country in World War I. He was the last person to get buried in Westminster Abbey in 1920. It is estimated that there are about 3,000 people buried in tombs under Westminster Abbey. Most all of the stone stairs in the Abbey are worn down several inches. It’s astonishing to think how many people have walked through the halls and up and down the stairs since 1065, just as we did today.

After our tour at the Abbey, Michaela, Jessica, Mary and I went to the London Tower. This is where the Crown Jewels were kept until they tower was destroyed along with all the Crown Jewels. Several beheadings had taken place here. It is believed that the Tower of London is haunted. Our tour guide for the Westminster Abbey told us that her father’s friend was a soldier there. One night he was guarding the front of the tower when a ghostly figure of a horse and carriage appeared and it was coming straight at him. Although it is a serious punishment for a guard to leave his post, the man ran away and abandoned his post. I’m afraid I would have done the same thing.

I can’t imagine how many miles we walked today but we are all beat. It is such a relief to sit down and rest but it’s all worth it. It is mind-blowing how much history London has with each tour we take. Tomorrow is going to be an even longer day for we are going to Stonehenge and the Roman Baths. I am very eager for tomorrow!  
Here is:
House of Parliament
Westminster Abbey 
London Tower

Friday, May 16, 2014

Different Ways of Living

It didn’t take long to realize how different it is here in the UK than it is in the US. Granted, I grew up in a small town and I am not familiar with large cities in the states, but it is such a busy lifestyle over here. It seems to me that everyone is rushing around like they are late. Constable Watson said that there are more than 6 million inhabitants in London. He guessed that that number is easily doubled from people commuting into London for work. And most all of these people use the Underground for transportation so you can imagine what it is like. The Underground is similar to the Subway in the US. It is really busy and hectic on the Underground whenever we use it. Most of the time you try and get on the train before it fills up and you sit or stand shoulder to shoulder with everyone. Not only is the Underground like this but the streets and sidewalks are the same way. It is very difficult to cross the streets because of all the traffic and the fact that they drive on the wrong side of the road than we do. The streets are very small and everything is compacted but it does not slow the traffic down.  Since the sidewalks are full of pedestrians, the cyclists are required to ride on the streets. The motorcycle and scooter drivers are just plain crazy. When traffic is slow or even at a stop, they proceed to speed down the streets in between the car lanes. I am not sure if this is legal or not but it happens all the time. So needless to say, we are all cautious when crossing any streets.

Another difference is the culture. In the states we do have a wide variety of cultures and many different languages are spoken. Just in London alone, it is estimated that there is roughly 300 different languages used. That is a very large amount in a geographically small area. I do not know of an area in the US that speaks that many languages. I have noticed that it is very difficult to communicate with anyone here in London. When I speak to people here, I swear everyone I talk to has a different English accent.  
Another huge difference in the way of living in the London v. the US is the use of cameras or, closed circuit TV, (CCTV) in London. THEY ARE EVERYWHERE. Anything you do, anywhere you go, you are being recorded. When we took our tour of the Special Operations Room of the Metropolitan Police Department, we got to see the video screens where they monitor all of the 20,000+ cameras. When talking to the officers about it, they are accustomed to it and it does not bother them one bit. All of us thought it was very different and crazy. In order for us to understand their reasoning and feelings about all the cameras, Constable Watson and Sergeant Andrews compared it to the officers in the states caring guns. We think nothing about officers and their guns and the people of London think nothing about the use of cameras. Here are some pictures below of the Special Operations Room.       

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

London Eye Photo

Here is a picture I took from the London Eye yesterday. The Wi-Fi at the hotel was not working correctly last night and I was unable to upload it. We are at a pub down the street from our hotel using the Wi-Fi and of course, having a drink! I am going to order Bangers and Mash and try it for the first time. I hope you all enjoy the picture and I will post more. Tomorrow is the training day with Constable Watson and I am excited to see what we do!

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Day 2

Today was only the second day of our trip and I am already so amazed! Today was an awesome day. In the morning we headed to the Metropolitan Police Station and met with Constable Watson. He showed us the equipment the officers over here use and we got a tour of the holding facility, or custody area. I am very excited for this next Thursday for we will head back and actually do hands-on learning of tactics they use when handling suspects. We also get to use the equipment and “play around” with it all.

This afternoon Dr. Nobiling, Mary, Jessica, Michaela, and I went to the London Eye. I cannot even describe it in words and the pictures I took do not do it justice. It was absolutely astonishing. The clock tower that holds Big Ben was only a small distance away so we got to see both of the famous landmarks! I am trying to upload my picture but it is not working... So I am going to try it again tomorrow and hopefully it will work.

Wednesday, May 7, 2014

Comparing the Justice Systems

One of the main topics when comparing the justice systems of the United States and the United Kingdom is firearms. As most of us know, policing is much different in the United Kingdom because the officers do not carry firearms. Sometimes they do but that is only for special circumstances. Normally, “bobbies” are armed with just speed cuffs, a baton, and incapacitant sprays such as PAVA or CS sprays. It’s weird to think that police officers do not carry a firearm. Here in the US, we have become accustomed to the high crime rates, TV shows and movies that portray officers as crime fighting figures that use firearms for personal defense and as a tactic to stop crime. I talked earlier with Dr. Nobiling and she told me a little information about something we get to do when we meet with Constable Watson. He is going to teach us defense tactics they use and hands on tactics they use when dealing with criminals. She told me that it is very interesting and it’s much different than what we use in the US. I am so excited for when we get to do this! I am very eager to learn what they do and what their line of defense is compared to methods used in the US.

Tuesday, May 6, 2014


Ethnocentrism is the belief in the superiority of one’s ethnic group. Though it sounds like ethnocentrism is bad, ethnocentrism has positive and negative qualities. Teaching children to believe that there country is the best country is a form of positive ethnocentrism.  Promoting the positive views of patriotism to one’s country would also constitute as positive ethnocentrism.  It's positive because you are not ashamed of who you are, you openly embrace your heritage, and you are somewhat keen on spreading this cultural knowledge to others around you. On the other hand, it’s negative if an individual may have been raised in such a culture that stressed their culture as superior to all others. If one is too extreme in their nationalist sentiment, people will think you have no respect for other ethnicities, races, or nations.
I believe that Americans can be very ethnocentric. When Americans travel abroad or learn about other countries, we express it most when we view other ways of living and doing things as wrong rather than as different. We do this for many reasons. I think one of the most common reasons is because that the US is a very wealthy country compared to most and our infrastructure works well most of the time. This makes us think that our ways are always better and some of the ways other people do things are wrong. Americans are not the only ones who are ethnocentric. Every ethnic group or nation can be ethnocentric. When we travel abroad we also become exposed to other people’s ethnocentrism.
So, fellow classmates, when we reach England, it is good for us to recognize that they may evaluate some of “our ways” of doing things as wrong, not just different. When this happens, we must be prepared to respond in a polite manner. One good thing that comes out of this if it happens to us is that it makes us more sensitive to how it feels and in return, it encourages us to not be ethnocentric.

Friday, May 2, 2014


It is finally sinking in to me that we are so close to leaving! Classes finished today and I am preparing for finals then we are taking off! I am in the process of getting bags out, activating my traveler’s card, getting clothes ready, etc. I can’t help but get nervous and I am so excited, as I am sure everyone else is, to board the plane. Next week I plan on getting everything packed in my bags and double, probably triple, check and make sure I have everything I need. That would be just my luck when I arrive at Denver International Airport and realize I do not have my passport (knock on wood). Hopefully nobody does that! Haha. I hope my other classmates are getting just as excited as I am for I am getting more and more excited each day we get closer to leave.  I hope everyone’s packing goes good too!