Blog Post #6 – Seeing Globalization in your Community

The diversity of the Arlington-DC area is part of the reason why I chose to come here for college. The US’s international status makes DC a really important place for international relations, and this is reflected in the people who live here. What I did take from this lesson is that immigrants to the US is their passion for their native culture, and how they bring this culture to the US in different, creative ways. For example, the soccer poster we found was the result of a man migrating from Germany and bringing his love for FC Bayern, a German soccer team with him by starting a fan club. I can find this even in everyday observation; I see churches with foreign cultures tied into them, restaurants of all kinds, strangely specific convenience stores, and so much more. I learned much more about globalization present in Groningen, however. I got to research the picture of the synagogue in Folkingestraat that my group had, and I really enjoyed learning about the cultural history of Folkingestraat. I had no idea of the extensive Jewish cultural influence in Gronignen, and how these people not only effected the culture there, but were effected by the preexisting culture and even the invasion of other cultures, most notably that of World War 2. Observations like these go to show that globalization, while it does effect the world in drastic ways, it also effects everyone’s everyday lives, from the restaurants they go to the signs they may see on the streets. These effects aren’t always as obvious as a sign in a different language, however, as things such as technological developments and environmental effects and concerns are also evidence of globalization. For example, I know there is an invasive ivy species here, called Kudzu, which is native to Japan. Here, however, it is overtaking many native plants and even buildings on some occasions.

I wasn’t really surprised by any photos, as globalization, in this form, is something I’m used to seeing on an everyday basis. Looking deeper into these aspects of globalization was what surprised me in some ways, such as my research on the synagogue in Groningen, or the origins of the FC Bayern fan club. This could be in part to the fact that I am not from around the DC area, or really anywhere near it. I drove 25 hours from Colorado to come to college here, so I don’t really feel much of a connection to the local community in Arlington or DC. I suppose that, in this case, I feel most connected to the global village as opposed to Arlington. I came here seeking a diversity of backgrounds and opinions, and I have certainly achieved that. At the same time, this novelty of the culture of Arlington has made me feel disconnected from the local culture, and I feel this disconnect every day. Even moving across the US, I have noticed differences in conversational etiquette, dressing style, transportation methods, and even eating styles. It is all very new and very different, and, because I’m so unused to a community so involved in globalization, and looked for those effects when I moved, I’m less surprised to find something I came here looking for.

Individual experiences were integral when we were out in the field. For example, it was extremely helpful to be working with Grace, because she is from the area, and had a lot to tell us about Clarendon-Courthouse. She almost served as a tour guide as we walked between metro stops, even describing some of the foreign restaurants that she knew about. For example, she pointed out an Australian restaurant we passed, that I might not even have noticed that is was Australian. Barbara brought a European perspective to our group, pointing out many things that Grace and I, as Americans, may not consider or even know about in terms of globalization. My background also influenced how I searched for evidence of globalization, as I enjoy observing in general, and I came to Arlington looking for the diversity this project had me seeking out. Our perspectives could also be a hindrance for the project, however, as we initially forgot to put some of the information that was in our head into the assignment. Because we took the pictures, we may have a clear image of what we intended by the picture, but, as a group, we didn’t communicate that image as clearly as we should have in the beginning. When we got together to Skype and work on the project, it was extremely helpful to review each other’s descriptions from new perspectives to make sure that we were hitting all the points we intended to.

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