Fellows' Blog Archives

Cultural Exploration: All Posts

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Adjustment
by | May 19, 2015

I’m sure every Fellow (that wasn’t sleeping) can remember the presentation on Culture Shock™ that Andy, team leader from Ecuador, gave one of the final days of Pre-Departure Training. A graph of the process of immersion on the board, an upside-down parabola. The honeymoon phase of cultural awe and giddiness, the slow but relentless awkward situations/mistakes leading to a descent into the rock bottom: “I WANT TO GO HOME!” You are home for the next 6 months, silly! But, on the right-hand side of that parabola, next to an arrow leading up to infinity, was the word Adjustment. (Cue…Read the rest »
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Why don’t you act Senegalese enough?
by | May 19, 2015

“Do you seriously think all Senegalese girls only wear long skirts?” shouted my host sister from Dakar, the capital of Senegal, with a noticeable displeasure as if my question was meant to offend her or make her feel less. All I wanted was to be more familiar with the Senegalese night life and so I innocently asked her the type of clothing girls wear at parties or clubs here. There was an awkward silence for a few seconds, then we continue to walk and the subject was never mentioned again. But I remember that night going to sleep thinking about her reaction, in fact I felt kind of…Read the rest »
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A Society of Women
by | May 17, 2015

I approached my community in Joal knowing that I would be faced with gender roles that I didn’t agree with, and I told myself that I would need to stay open minded and respect the culture in place. That’s easier said than done. I found that I could respect people’s way of life, but I was reserving at least a little judgment for traditions that I saw as limiting: The idea that a woman has to get married and have children before 30 or no one will want her because she will be too old to have babies, which then…Read the rest »
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My Year in Photos
by | May 15, 2015

A picture can really be worth a thousand words. Thus, I’ve compiled many of my photos into a photo blog. I also included a digitized version of the Humans-of-the-school-where-I-taught-English book, which I created and left in hardcover form at the school. This project was particularly meaningful to me, as the school was such an integral part of my journey. Check it all out using the link below!   http://significadoecu.weebly.com/    …Read the rest »
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Is Globalization actually Globalization or is it something else?
by | May 10, 2015

Walking down the cobbled stone street or “rua” in Portuguese I look up at the stores that surround me, “Loja Americana” says the sign on one store, a few stores down I see the two yellow arcs forming the famous “M” of “McDonalds”, I hear the latest American Pop hits, I see signs for “batata fritas” and “cachorro quente.” I ask myself, “Where am I?” I believe I am in Florianopolis, Santa Catarina, a city in Brazil and I am not in the United States. “Why do I find so many stores advertising American products?” When I ask, “Com licenca,…Read the rest »
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Self-Reflection Through A Journal Entry…
by | May 6, 2015

During Pre-Departure there’s a lot of talk about how one will come back a new person- how this experience transforms. But I didn’t feel that would happen to me. So I dedicated time to wonder what would make me come back differently. I’m in Brasil. Either I learn how to samba or I learn to play futebol. Getting here, my main objective was to learn Samba. I had always dedicated myself to dance, therefore, naturally my focus was on that. Yet after my first month here, I changed my mind since Samba is more culturally common in the Northeast. And then…Read the rest »
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Falou
by | April 30, 2015

The first time I saw Falou was on the wrapper of a candy that my father pulled out of his pocket the first day in my home stay, pointing to the picture and saying, “This man is a national champion in wrestling and he lives in our town.” “Ok, thats cool,” I said, but I figured that I’d probably never see him. A few hours later my dad took me out to meet the community, and sitting on a bench outside my house was none other than Falou. He was huge, about a head taller than me with biceps literally…Read the rest »

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