Blog Post #6 – Post-Photo Essay Assignment Reflection

Based upon my observations, immigrants find comfort and safety through familiarity and similarities to things native to their own country. This familial closeness that immigrants search for are what drive cultural establishments to be prevalent throughout communities. My group members and I found an abundance of culturally diverse businesses such as the German Pastry Shoppe and the Indian Grocery Store. Both establishments provide food for consumers that are native to foreign countries. Food, a staple for one’s definition of what “home” is like, is a major cultural export that is evident all throughout the communities we observed. What do you think of when you think of home? I think of my mom’s home cooked meals and diverse flavors that I can’t find at restaurants like McDonalds or Olive Garden. These observations have led me to believe that globalization is now being found to be such an essential integration within any community. To be able to connect, interact or feel as if you are in another part of the world is essential in understanding the world around you and better finding ways to accept the world as a unified cohort. Although we are all culturally different and these establishments/structures “stood out” from others, we’ve begun to see that globalization is no longer seen as invasive but rather inclusive as migrants are increasing and we are seeing more and more diverse individuals in our own communities. I felt most connected with Arlington as I saw so many establishments that provided food from foreign countries. As a huge foodie from a country whose food is exotic and important to their culture (yum, Filipino food), I felt most connected with Arlington because it definitely was filled with predominantly culturally diverse food establishments than other globalization dimensions. When we set out to adventure throughout our local community, my group members and I (Sam and Katie) used our own experiences and knowledge to help navigate us through which places were viable to include in our photo essay. While one group member was from America, it helped that Sam and I were from two different countries in different parts of the world so we helped Katie in identifying culturally relevant establishments while we familiarized us with politically and economically relevant establishments. For example, Katie believed in including Shell into our photo essay because of its Dutch roots; however, we suggested in including just the cultural restaurants/shop because it seems more foreign than a franchise that has become westernized and seems like an everyday thing an American would see! We also utilized our differing perspectives in creating our final project by having each member identify their own personal observations upon establishments and which globalization dimensions they think were most represented in each picture and then began the process of narrowing down our 10 pictures. While Jody and Jonas had mostly collected pictures showing structures whose architect symbolized globalization, Katie, Sam and I found mostly businesses that showed more of a “literal” sense of globalization. We conversed with one another which pictures were more aligned with the idea of globalization through our own opinions and then narrowed our superstar 10 down! Overall, we had fun with this project and found ourselves finding that globalization is much more prevalent around us than we think. We oftentimes overlook it because of it being so normalized in our society today; which, by the way, is a great thing!

One Comment on “Blog Post #6 – Post-Photo Essay Assignment Reflection

  1. Within our specific area, Arlington, I found that our evidence of globalization included more establishments that were mostly about food. Food is an integral part of culture and when people bring a piece of home with them when migrating to another country, they usually think of food! We didn’t find much evidence of the environmental dimension in the Arlington area compared to that in the Netherlands and found it interesting because the environment is something I personally never found as an evidence of migration. I always thought, “How could something so large in scale be able to be migrated and used around the world?” It wasn’t until I saw Jody and Jonas’ pictures of the containers being recycled! Globalization is a long process because again, as Van Asperen states in his article, although we are aware of different cultures, we always assume that there’s a “right one” to have in place. There isn’t a right one nor should it be one thing. Globalization is a challenging thing to be accepted by others because they believe their culture is their core identity; thus, once it is mixed and having to adapt to different cultures, it goes into a shock. For example, perhaps those who go into an American movie theatre would be shocked to see Bollywood movies playing during the same time as major motion pictures are playing. The process of globalization is tedious because of others’ assumption that only one culture could be prevalent; even though this certainly is not true!! The photos that impressed me the most were the recycled boxes turned into apartment homes in the Netherlands. Not only does it show a dimension of environmentalism but is also shows how environmentally-aware those in the Netherlands are! For a country who bikes a lot, this would make total sense. It’s interesting to me that our German pastry shoppe and Japanese Auto Repair Shop didn’t seem so new to us. When we saw these establishments, we live in a modern day society where integration of different cultures were normal so we were a bit hesitant to include it in our photo essay because we thought it’d be “too obvious.” I felt more connected with those in the Netherlands, funny enough! The examples they used to show us how globalization was in their country was so astounding to me because they didn’t give us obvious examples of “chinese restaurants” or “french bakeries”. Those in the Netherlands have their own representation of globalization, one that doesn’t involved pulling from different ethnic cultures but rather showing how different ethnic cultures influenced their OWN culture. Each individual when touring the area felt challenged because we were afraid that our pictures would be too obvious. As a culturally diverse cohort already, we didn’t want to include things that were too obvious or not “diverse” enough. Katie knew the area of Arlington really well compared to both Sam and I and it helped us in finding our way all throughout. Jody and Jonas found help with a tour guide since they couldn’t believe how big of an area their assigned place really was. It’s impressive to see how although we go to schools in our area, we aren’t really aware of what’s around us! Our conversations when going through our pictures was like, “Okay, but how could we describe how globalization is evident? I mean, sure it’s a japanese auto repair shop, but what makes it different than any other repair shop here in Arlington??” Although they were different in a cultural sense, were they really? Just because they had the name “Japanese” or “Heidelberg”, how do we know they don’t foster American cultural values in their business? That was probably how most of our conversations went because we were definitely unsure of how in-depth (globally wise) these “different” places were from their other competitors like Jiffy Lube or Dunkin Donuts.

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