Saturday, January 30, 2010

Hosting an Exchange student to Landrum, South Carolina..

I attended a very small high school, with a graduating class of 97 students; therefore, "exchange student" was hardly in our vocabulary. However, my senior year of high school we had an exchange student, Anne Bergløv, from Copenhagen, Denmark. This was such an experience! Not only did Anne learn and experience a new culture, but through our interaction with her, we were able to learn and experience the Denmark culture.
I remember Anne saying repeatedly that she was so amazed by everyone's friendliness. She stated that she felt welcome from the very beginning. She said that she loved the friendliness and and politeness you meet everywhere around South Carolina and that people always appear happy.

As I was thinking about Anne's experience in Landrum, SC, my people and my culture, and what/how I would explain it to a foreign exchange student, I found the following examples of the 5 Strands/Roots of Culture that were discussed in last weeks lecture video:
Nomos Religion is very important in the Southern part of the US. In fact, the south is often referred to as the "Bible Belt". The story of my culture and my people can be told through the significance of holiday names and people's names.
Names of holidays we celebrate help tell the story of my people.
*CHRISTmas-a holiday that commemorates the birth of Christ
*THANKSgiving-a holiday to give thanks to God
Names of people also help tell the story of my people. It is very common for children to purposely be named after Bible Characters (Rebecca, David, Matthew, Mark,Samuel, Luke, Paul, etc)
*A family in my hometown conceived a child weeks before they found out the mother had breast cancer. This little baby (now 4 years old) was born healthy as ever, even through his mothers' cancer treatments. They decided to name this little boy David--after David in the Bible who endured and won the fight with Goliath the giant.

Sports Teams If I were to host a foreign exchange student, I would have to explain to them the importance of the Clemson Tigers ;) Just as Professor Nichols spoke about in the video--the oral (C-L-E-M-S-O000-N), visual (solid orange), and textual (car decorations, clothing)aspects.

Food Food in the South is much different than any other part of the US or world. Any foreign exchange student visiting my family would literally get a good "taste" of our culture.
Homemade Strawberry Cobbler, Southern
Funnel Cake from Dollywood-not just Southern, but American
Glass of SWEET tea, Southern
My Hamburger and frenchfries from Crab Shack. Not just southern, but American.
FastFood is very prominent and popular (more so in the South)
Fried Chicken (or fried food in general), Grits, Biscuits, and gravy are also very popular in the South.
The New Years dinner is unique to America, too. This may just be the South, I'm not sure, but this dinner is designed to bring you good luck in the New Year. On the menu: collard greens, black-eyed peas, pork, and cornbread. The collard greens symbolize the dollar bills one will earn during the new year, and the black-eyed peas symbolize the coins one will earn during the new year.
*display of the Cross of Christ Jesus for Easter
*Christmas tree--star on top represents the star at Bethlehem that led the Wise men to Baby Jesus, and angel on top represents the angel that appeared to the Shepherd to announce the Birth of Baby Jesus.

Mythos & Techne
Many people know Landrum for the unique antique shops. Antiques have a way of telling their own story (mythos). There is also antique folk art such as carousel horses, fire buckets, painted game boards, cast iron doorstops (Techne).

On the note of Geert Hofstede's Cultural Dimensions:
1. While America may have a high individualistic attitude, this level tends to decrease in the South. We are not only concerned with the well-being of our immediate family, but Southerners tend to form strong bonds with friends. My family shares close relationships with our immediate family as well as our church family. We care for the well-being of our friends just as we care for our family.
2. The South also shares values associated with short-term orientation. We definitely value family traditions.

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Culturally Literate

As I reflect on my days and my knowledge and understanding of my culture, there are 3 prominent aspects that I believe have helped me become culturally literate. Involvement and participation within 3 separate communities: my family, my church, and my school have all collectively played a part in increasing my level of cultural literacy.
As family, my parents and grandparents have continually and faithfully taught me concerning the American culture. Most importantly, my family brought me up within the Church and a Christian environment. God used this community and the example my parents set before me to draw me unto Him. I made the most important decision you and I will ever make-I entered into a saving relationship with Jesus Christ.My family also taught me the importance of family and education. They educated me concerning work and the value of money. My parents also taught me about different forms of the American culture--dance, music, gardening, and cooking. I took part in all of these activities outside of the classroom--I took dancing lessons for 10 years, took Piano lessons, watched and observed as my Dad gardened each summer, and took mental notes as I watched my mother cook. My parents also taught me the "rules" regarding formality, and how one should act/dress differently based on the situation (with strangers, at weddings, funerals, church, etc.)
As I reflect on our lecture videos, I remember cultural literacy being defined as "a network of information that all competent readers posses". This network of information can include any form or type of information including the Bible. Through my involvement in the Church community, I have had the opportunity to learn more about the "mythos" or stories within the Bible. Through my reading and learning of the Bible, I have also learned what is acceptable and unacceptable behavior for myself, as a Christian.
School has also played a roll in raising my level of cultural literacy. Throughout elementary school, junior high, high school and now college, I can say that I have a decent working-knowledge of famous people, scientific terms, and historical events.

In my visit to Kenya, Africa (the only time I've been out of the country), I depended upon our leader, who had lived there for over 20 years, for cultural literacy. Before embarking on our 2-week (wow!) journey, she shared with us important and helpful tips regarding the Kenyan culture. I remember specifically reviewing verbal and non-verbal gestures within the Kenyan culture.

As I look ahead, in anticipation, to my 5-month stay in Argentina this semester, I understand that I will be entering a completely new and unique culture; however, I am trusting that my involvement and participation within the same 3 communities: the Magnano Family (my family), the Christian community (my church), and Universidad Blas Pascal (my school), will all collectively play a part in increasing my level of cultural literacy of Argentina.

Saturday, January 16, 2010

No more telephones with cords?

Hello fellow CLAMmers & bloggers :)
On the topic of new technology & new means of communication...Can I just say that I'm thankful for cordLESS telephones & now, cellphones? or in short...THANK YOU FOR PRIVACY! ha-ha I can remember in elementary school when my friends would call my house and my only option was the telephone in our kitchen (with the loooooooonnnnnnngggg cord). This poor cord was stretched to its limits everytime I used it! I tried so hard to make this cord stretch far enough to at least get SOME privacy as I spoke with my girl friends about the "cutest boy-of-the-week" ha-ha! I know some of you females can relate :)
Now, for online communities...
I guess my involvement with online communitites began in junior high, with Myspace. I enjoyed staying connected with friends through this online community, but my parents failed to see the "good" in this popular site (I guess WSPA gets the thanks for that). (Note: At that time, I didn't understand the fuss, but as I get older, I understand their concern.)
Regardless, I continued Myspacing because my parents never strictly enforced "no myspace". ha-ha So, I found a way around it and continued using Myspace until my senior year of high school. My older sister had told me that I couldn't use facebook until I was in college so, once I was accepted to Clemson, I set up my very own Facebook. In comparsion of the two online communities, I prefer Facebook over Myspace because it appears more mature and professional.
Facebook provides a wonderful means to stay connected with my friends from home and friends from school. I have to admit though, Facebook (a.k.a Procrastination Network), often jumps ahead on my priority list (yes, Facebook's fault ;))
Until recently, Myspace and Facebook have been the extent of my involvment with the online community. In preparation to study abroad this semester, I started my first blog! I wanted my family and friends to follow me throughout my time in Córdoba. This idea lead to the creation of My 1st Blogspot :) How exciting! You are visiting my 2nd blog designed to showcase my CLAM creations! Hopefully my blogspots won't lead to procrastination as much as Facebook (now that I have 2), but time will tell...vamos a ver :)
I'm looking forward to this semester as I begin my exciting adventure abroad as a brand new, inexperienced blogger! :)

Saturday, January 9, 2010

Reflections Upon Entering CLAM

Hello to all! Welcome to CLAM in CORDOBA! I’m Hannah, a junior at Clemson University. I am spending this semester studying abroad in Córdoba, Argentina from February 3—June 27. I will be studying at Universidad Blas Pascal where I will take Spanish courses such as culture, grammar, literature, and photography :). Along with these courses, I will also be taking an online course taught through Clemson University—Cultural Literacies Across Media (CLAM). I will be using this BlogSpot to document my creations throughout this semester. I hope the photographs and videos I create for this course will allow others to glimpse the beauty of the country.
I am so eager to begin this new adventure in Córdoba. I know that my experience abroad will encourage me step out of my comfort zone…which I’m excited about :). I believe CLAM will stretch me the most while I’m abroad, simply because I lack artistic ability. However, for this same reason, I am so excited about CLAM because I have always desired to have practice and knowledge within this field. I’m thankful that students don’t have to be technologically savvy in order to enroll in this course ;).
CLAM is going to make my study abroad truly an once-in-a-lifetime experience. I’m confident that this course will allow me to experience the Argentinean culture from a unique and creative perspective. CLAM will give me the opportunity to see a unique side of Córdoba that I would not experience otherwise. As I look ahead at the course outline, it only fuels my eagerness for the journey to begin. I am looking forward to all that this course has to offer both now and for years to come. I know that I will always be able look back at my CLAM creations and revisit Córdoba.