Reflection X

So far, I would say my digital story is going pretty well. I don’t have very impressive skills where technology is concerned, but wevideo is pretty easy to use, and I enjoy editing videos. I was supposed to record my transcript with Rachel Jackson today, but I am still recovering from the flu so I don’t really have much of a voice to record. I had to reschedule the recording to next Tuesday afternoon, which is fine, but I think that in the mean time I am going to make a recording of myself with my computer so that I can get the rest of the components of the video in time with the actual story.
I am really interested in my topic and think that it will be good for the class to learn about because bacha posh is not a widely known phenomenon, but I am also slightly anxious because it is not a personal story of any sort. I read a great book and did a lot of research on the practice of bacha posh, but I feel like my story won’t make as big of an impact because there is no personal touch.
I am excited to get to watch all of the videos because I think we will all learn a lot about each other. Whereas I have to pull all of my photos off of the internet, I get the impression that a lot of people are sharing personal experiences of places they have been with their own pictures and videos and it will be cool to see those and learn about their adventures.

25th Anniversary of the Fall of the Berlin Wall

Recently, there was an international event in the Faculty-in-Residence home of Walker Tower. Dr. Ingo Schlupp and his family are native to Hamburg, Germany, and hosted a fun event centered on the anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall. The event featured authentic German food, some post-WWII history on the barrier that separated West Berlin from surrounding East Germany and East Berlin from 1961 through 1989, an interactive quiz with fun prizes, and a performance by some students learning the German language.
I had a really good time learning more about the Berlin Wall and the effects that the division of Germany had on its people as well as the world, and learned how much there really was to be celebrated by the fact that it was torn down so that the country could be reunified. The 25th Anniversary of the event was obviously very meaningful to the Schlupp family, and I am glad that they got to celebrate by sharing its impact with students and faculty.
I truly enjoyed this event and hope that I can attend more like it in the future. This event was cool because it was in a pretty limited venue, so there was a lot of opportunity for interaction with others and we also got a cool history lesson with some little-known facts. I will be on the lookout for more events that have a more personal touch because I feel like there is more opportunity to learn and make connections with people.

Reflection IX

I am very interested in pursuing international service in the future. I understand that it is not for everyone, and that people can also make a difference by donating funds to organizations and charities that actually help as opposed to simply garner profits, but I am really passionate about people. I am at my most content when I am helping others to feel happy and special, and I know that I wouldn’t be able to feel that way if I wasn’t working hands-on with other people. It may seem to some a selfish reason for volunteering, but I will not be doing it for myself. Although I don’t think that people who volunteer should be rewarded for doing so, the happiness people feel from helping others and seeing the difference they can make should be its own reward. I want to make a positive impact on the world and I know I can do that through volunteering around the world.
As I learned last week, volunteering takes a lot of preparation. When we split into groups to discuss “good” organizations we found in our respective study abroad locations, my group found that most legitimate operations where people actually go out and help with service learning projects hands-on require months of formal education and training, and going and doing the project itself could last over a year. A lot of research and thought has to go into legitimate volunteer work, and I think that is a very good thing. I think that for my volunteering future, the Peace Corps is a likely possibility. It is a legitimate organization where volunteers actually become part of the community and stay for extended periods of time, and that is how I believe I can make the biggest impact on my world.

Reflection VIII

Personally, I feel as if Peter Singer lacked a strong argument for his case in the TED talk that we viewed in class. He mostly talked about where to go to donate and how to think about donating on a rational level, but didn’t really argue why people should feel a certain obligation one way or another. Of course, as someone said in class during our ill-organized debate, he was speaking to people who attended his talk and thus were already strongly considering donating to charities to help the standard of living. That being said, I do personally feel like I should help those in need, not because of any “arguments” Singer posed, but rather because I know that I have everything and more than I will ever need, and I could subsist on much less. I understand that coming from a middle class family in America means a lot more than coming from a middle class family in other regions of the world.
I have money to spend on coffee every day, I have my own car, and I am able to attend an expensive university and pay for housing and food at that school even though I live about 15 minutes away and could easily commute. For these things, I am extremely grateful. Something else that I feel concerning these things, however, is a twinge of guilt. I have tried to explain this to many people, and most shrug it off and use logic to explain to me that I shouldn’t feel guilty for simply being alive, but I do. What makes me so much better than millions of other people in the world that I should have such nice things and not have to worry where my next meal will come from? Nothing. I was born into a moderately well-off family in America by sheer luck, and have never known suffering as many other humans around the world have. Yes, I have my problems, but they are nothing in comparison to the much large obstacles humanity faces every day.
On the other hand, I am not one of those people who can just send money and feel better about myself for helping those in need. I personally think that throwing money at problems does not fix them, especially when I feel that money is the device which has caused all of this trouble for us in the first place. I will find ways to help my world community with my own two hands, and my heart and head like Singer said in the video. I will educate people, or I will help them overcome psychological obstacles, or I will provide them personal medical care, or I will help construct buildings, or any other of the plethora of things I could physically do. It is because of this mindset that I am seriously considering joining the Peace Corps after college. I will not be one of those people who sends money to fix a problem when money is the root of the problem..