The “Birds of God” performance was not what I expected, but it was still very impressive. As many others thought, I was expecting the performance to be a traditional African dance, but I was thoroughly surprised. The performance was a modern dance interpretation of the story, along with the story being read word for word by a narrator. I, personally, greatly enjoyed the performance. The movements were deliberate and meaningful, and really expressed the emotion and anguish of the story. The costumes were very well done, and the symbolism of the birds was interpreted in a beautiful, graceful way. It was as if the way the performance was set up was almost like a picture book—reading a few of the lines, then an illustration of the situation through the dance. All of the dancers were very talented, and I actually ended up knowing a couple of the girls involved in the dance. The music that accompanied the dances was also very evocative, reminiscent of African beats but with a modern sounding twist to it. Even though I was not really sure what I expected going into the performance, I’m glad I was able to attend and see a new, beautiful interpretation of the story.
Hello, internet! I just thought I’d share a little bit more about myself. My name is Clancy and I am from the great state of Oklahoma! I have lived here all my life and I truly believe that some of the kindest and most caring people live right here in my hometown.
I am incredibly socially awkward until I get comfortable around people, but after that it’s pretty hard for me to stop talking. Also, I love bad puns. Like, really really bad puns. I love to read, though I often complain about how I never have time to read between all of the homework and studying and, let’s be honest, Netflix binges of college. I really enjoy getting to know people and hearing their stories, but I am definitely an introvert and need my alone time to recharge the battery. I like to spend my alone time not necessarily alone, but with my pets. I have in my household one beautiful feline specimen who claimed me as her own one day when she wandered up as a kitten on to my back porch and refused to ever let me go. Due to my highly indecisive nature, she is a cat with many nicknames, but not one true name, and I usually just call her “little kitty”. We have one other cat named Daphne, and she is lovely some days, but other days acts as the spawn of evil. I have two dogs, a brittany spaniel named Tyson (I often fondly refer to him as “T-Dog”), and a fine older dachshund gentleman named Boomer (SOONER!). One of my favorite activities is walking out in the woods behind my house with Tyson, who likes to pretend like he is a champion hunting dog. My pets are an integral part of my life.
I have a twin brother named Chance, and he is a pretty cool dude. He’s about a foot and a half taller than me and can grow a full beard in about 30 minutes, and only one of those statements is an exaggeration. When we were younger, there were days when we were the best of friends and the next day we would sworn enemies, but I feel like most sibling relationships are like that. He and I are really similar, and I’m grateful that I got to grow up with such a great guy. What can I say, the kid’s like a brother to me. Both of my parents are remarried and there is a whole mess of half- and step-siblings, so I’ll spare you the rest of the lovely details.
When I first started the college adventure, my major was undecided in the pre-med track. Ever since I came out mildly intelligent, most of the adults in my family pushed for me to be a doctor. Thankfully, I’m a rebel, and thought that there were better ways in which my talents could help people, so I changed my major to Psychology. If it were possible, I would love to get a degree in technical theatre as a Stage Manager, because that was my heart and soul in high school, but the show must go on.
I applied for the Global Engagement Fellowship because I knew that I wanted to study abroad in college. One of the main reasons why OU was on my list was for the study abroad opportunities it presented, and acceptance into the GEF program solidified my choice. By the end of my undergrad I hope to achieve a level of global citizenship as opposed to just a citizen of the US or Oklahoma. I want to be able to feel a connection to the entire world, not just the land where I was born.
That’s about all I have for now, but rest assured I will continue to document my journey as a GEF by posting again soon!!
I have never gone on an international volunteer trip, and I do not think I will ever go abroad specifically to volunteer. The discussions and videos we’ve done in class merely solidified my decision to do so, actually. I have always wondered just how much good untrained Samaritans do when they spend thousands of dollars to volunteer and crappily paint houses or haphazardly build infrastructure that is supposed to last for a long time. Ever since I volunteered at the Salvation Army in Oklahoma City and saw just how many “donated” items were thrown out because it would be unhealthy for them to be used, I have wondered about the real impact untrained and unknowledgeable volunteers actually have on a society-either international or local-and whether that impact is positive or negative. After seeing the dangers of voluntourism and the general chaos caused by unknowledgeable volunteers, I am convinced that I would be unhelpful and probably harmful if I tried to go out and volunteer as I am right now. I also realize that I do not have the desire to make a years-long commitment to training and learning how to be a good volunteer in a specific area. Instead, I have decided that I will do my part by donating to causes that have proven to be effective in specific areas and spreading the word about the difference between these organizations and the ones that spend the majority of their donations on advertising and only a small portion on actually aiding people in need.
“Oh, what’s going on?
What’s going on?
Yeah, what’s going on?
Ah, what’s going on?”
Encompassed in these wise words of Marvin Gaye is the collective sentiment of today’s media industry. With the ridiculous pace at which technology has advanced within the past half-century, I would be in disarray too. With the emergence of convergence, it seems as if media is having to rebuild from the ground up. This has affected the consumer in critical ways, which I would like to dissect a bit further.
Since the development of the digital sphere, media has been consistently evolving. In this perpetual transition, print, radio, and television have done so quicker than the consumer can keep up with. As is customary in current times, there will always be a newer version or a more current update. As a product of the era of digitization, this fast-paced cat-and-mouse game is all that the majority of the world’s population will ever know. This is even more evident in our dependence upon the products of technological advancement. In previous millenia, humans were primarily focused on individual societal wellbeing. The public was left largely uninformed about other parts of the world due to inaccessibility and irrelevance. Other cultures, industries, and peoples may have been acknowledged to exist, but were interacted with at a distance.
At this point in time, media convergence has eradicated this issue of interface. A result of this is the way which markets, industries, and commerce are intertwined. Businesses from every corner of the earth compose one global economy, versus a fragmented maze of productivity. The production of flickering, test-pattern TV sets in New Jersey has ultimately developed into the mass manufacturing of LCD flat-screens in China. When listening to the radio, we are enveloped in news and music from all around the world. The print industry has grown an entirely new element, an online component, which is interlaced with websites from every corner of the globe. The combination of these changes, digitization, has led the consumer to become increasingly more reliant on the global community. No longer can we sustain ourselves; For our vehicles of entertainment (TVs, gadgets, smartphones), even for our necessities for living (petroleum/transportation, food, clothing), we are linked to another economy, another country.
Media convergence has radically changed the industry, but our everyday lives as well. Frightening as it is, we find ourselves rooted in the midst of continuous media revolution – a revolution that will likely carry on until man has no new ideas, no desire to create, no drive to invent. As today’s takeaway, I would like to wish the media business well in its efforts to adjust itself to the changing times. I also hope that my generation will carry it well, for “whoever controls the media, controls the mind.” – Jim Morrison
This friendly woman from on the street (my dorm hall) answered a few random questions about social media & things for JMC. Thank you, Jill!
I thought it was a good idea to discuss diversity issues in Tuesday’s class, because not everything and everyone we encounter while abroad will be completely positive. As global engagement fellows we need to be prepared and ready for when such instances might occur and know how to properly handle and react to those awkward or uncomfortable situations. I have definitely experienced being an outsider of sorts in interactions with my family, both at large family gatherings and in smaller settings like at the dinner table. I was raised in smaller settings like at the dinner table. I was raised in a very conservative setting, and my parents have very strong and stubborn opinions concerning the world and the way it should be. Unfortunately, even though I love them very much and respect their opinions, I just can’t seem to agree with them on many topics. I know that as I get older my ideologies will change, but I am not religious, nor do I like associating myself with any sort of social labels, and while I have some conservative values, I am definitely more left-leaning than my parents would like. Now, this might be due entirely to the fact that I am a rebellious teenager who just wants to argue all the time, but I do have strong opinions about the way the world is and the ways that it could be better. From this experience of being an “other” within my familial group, I have learned when to keep my opinions to myself (mostly) and to not get overly angry or frustrated when I hear someone voice an opinion with which I do not agree. I have learned that some arguments are not worth fighting for, but most of the time, people’s opinions do not change but are simply solidified further when debates arise.
I do not necessarily have any fears about studying abroad in terms of the characteristics of my person, and that is thanks to the way that I have learned to behave within my family. I know I will meet people abroad and plan on studying abroad in places that do not agree with certain aspects of my lifestyle, and I will try to keep my opinions to myself and not judge anyone for having views that oppose mine. It all depends on how comfortable I feel in a given situation. If I feel like I am in a safe place and someone asks me a controversial opinion-based question, then I will probably feel like it is acceptable to voice my ideas. Each situation will also be different and concern different topics, so I will just have to make informed decisions about when and when not to speak out. I believe I am well equipped to face diversity abroad.
I wrote this reflection in response to a prompt over the Peter Singer Ted Talks video “The Why and How of Effective Altruism.” If you have the time, watch the video, then read my response when asked whether or not I agreed with his views.
After watching Peter Singer’s Ted Talks video, I had very mixed feelings. On the one hand, I do think that it’s upsetting that the plight of many across the world is ignored by those who could help simply because it isn’t right in front of their faces. And I think that, if you do decide to try and help those in need, you should make sure that your efforts, whether they be through time or donation, actually help people in an efficient way. As Singer said, you must use both your heart and your head to guide you through these decisions. However, I don’t agree with the way Singer went about getting these ideas across; the video seemed to me to be one giant guilt trip, and I know that I don’t respond well to those. I personally do feel obligated to help people in need, but I felt that way without his encouragement, and I think that if I didn’t, he wouldn’t have convinced me. That being said, it is good to open people’s eyes: so much of the reason people don’t help is that they don’t know that the problems are occurring. It is easy to brush off genocide and famine and poverty from the comfort of your suburban home, and Singer did a good thing in trying to make people aware of the struggles our world is facing. However, I think he was much too harsh in his execution; no one should be forced to donate, however easy it could be for them. In my experience, people respond much better to being left to their own devices than being guilted into compliance.
I wrote this reflection after an in-class activity which involved separating the class into a large group and a small group, with the large group being representatives of a new country that had never had any contact with Americans before. The small group acted as “ambassadors” to come communicate and get to know the foreign community’s customs. The culture of the large group was strange, and involved only two phrases, which were “no no,” and “yes yes.” There were a few limitations for communication, and they were all pretty tricky. First, people from the large group were only allowed to talk to an ambassador if they were addressed directly. Second, the ambassador had to be wearing the same sleeve length as the person they were addressing in order to be answered. Third, the way the ambassador asked their question determined the answer that they would receive. If the question was asked with any sort of negative emotion in their face, the answer would automatically be “no no.” If it were asked with a smile and positive emotion, the answer would automatically be “yes yes.” The goal of the ambassadors was to learn as much as they could about the large group, but they failed to discern any of the rules.
Although last Thursday’s activity was very entertaining for myself and the class, I noticed that the four volunteers who came into the class as ambassadors from the US grew frustrated from the game when they could not figure out the rules of our mini-society. Even while trying not to giggle at the futility of their efforts, I found that I was disappointed every time they asked a question that was unhelpful in their search for understanding. I believe that such a reaction is natural, because as humans we communicate and socialize for the sole purpose of understanding and getting to know each other, but when someone doesn’t understand, one of our first reactions is to become annoyed. This realization will certainly change the way I interact with people throughout the world. Now that I have witnessed firsthand what my interaction with foreign citizens may be like the initial few instances I travel abroad, I know that I will need to keep calm and stay positive in any given social environment. If I became irritated in a situation abroad, that reaction would only make the situation worse and irritate those around me as well.
From last week’s class activities I have learned to approach each new situation with an open mind and creative thinking. I will not be afraid to reach out to people as long as I have a positive end goal in mind, and I will never give up on trying to understand a person or culture nor will I get frustrated if things just don’t make sense. I will embrace the cultures that I come across so that I might get the most out of the experience and expand myself as a global citizen. The ambassador activity also showed the importance of collaboration between groups, of exchanging ideas and letting thoughts bounce off of others so that a mutual understanding can be met. Interacting with likeminded people proved to be a great problem solving strategy, and even though the volunteer ambassadors didn’t come close to solving the activities rules, they would have been even worse off had they been alone. Thus, last week’s activities changed the way I will think and act in any given situation at home or abroad in a positive way.
What do you think of Peter Singer’s arguments? Do you feel obligated to help those in need? Why or why not? If so, what are you going to do about it? If not, how would you support your reasoning to someone who sided with Singer? (The video to Peter Singer’s TED Talk can be found below).
During the video, I was introduced to what Singer thought was the most effective way of helping others: by donating at least a certain percentage of one’s income to different organizations such as Give Well, the Life You Can Save, and Giving What You Can. After our class debate about whether or not Singer’s argument is an effective way of helping people, it was hard for me to agree with him. Although he presented great statistics that showed the positive impact of such organizations such as saving 5.8 million lives by the Gates Foundation, his argument revolved mainly around donating money. As he stated in the video, effective altruism is about combining the head and the heart; however, his emphasis excluded the important role that the heart plays in giving. Not all problems can be solved by money as every person has different problems and needs. He also made his audience feel a sense of guilt for having two kidneys for example. No person is obligated to give away their body parts just because others have done that. It is absolutely wrong to make others feel guilty over this issue and to turn around and say that the only way to make-up for it is to donate money. I think that if an individual can support themselves financially and live a healthy life-style without cutting back on essential needs, it is best to be selfless and give back to those in need. I do not support Singer’s argument completely, but I do plan to give back to those in need in any way I am able, whether it is by donating money or volunteering.