Ireland – Culture Shock – by Allison Brennhofer. The North Star Reports: Global Citizenship and Digital Literacy, at NorthStarReports.org and facebook.com/NorthStarReports

Ireland – Culture Shock – by Allison Brennhofer. The North Star Reports: Global Citizenship and Digital Literacy, at NorthStarReports.org and facebook.com/NorthStarReports

[The Harry Potter corner in the bookstore, put together by the man who worked on the films]

I admit, I perused Pinterest and countless websites before I left for Ireland in search of travel advice and general tips that would make my life easier. The thing that came up time and time again was the notion of culture shock. It seems simple enough to understand, the feeling a person gets when they travel away from home and is unused to their surroundings. I thought I was prepared for everything, including culture shock. I think it is important to note that I am studying here in Ireland with two professors from CSS and fifteen other students, so it helps to be with people from home.

However, then I arrived here and the only jarring thing vastly different from home was the accent. People joke about ‘Minnesota nice’ but honestly, the people here put us Minnesotans to shame. My friends, Arden, Victoria and I, checked out the local bookstore and ended up chatting with the employee (who used to work on films and did the lighting for the Harry Potter movies. I might have flailed internally for three minutes after learning that) and another customer for an hour and a half.

Others will say hello to you on the street. A common phrase here that threw me off at first is “You’re very welcome.” I was confused, what could these people possibly be saying that for, I hadn’t thanked them for anything yet. It took me a few times to realize they meant “You are very welcome here.”

The first time I truly felt culture shock was when we went grocery shopping at Tesco, a store here similar to a mixture of Target and a grocery store. I probably spent half of the time there simply wandering down the aisles, searching for anything that looked familiar to me. There are a few select brands that we also have in the states, but for the most part, they were new brands to me. It was very disconcerting to look for a certain product and realize I had been looking at it all along, it just had not been what I was used to looking for.

There are also a few things the Irish do that I consider extremely odd. One such oddity was that they do not keep the eggs in the refrigerator. They keep them on normal shelves, like one would see bread or canned goods. I have been in numerous grocery stores now and it still throws me off to see the eggs sitting on a shelf. It is recommended that the customer refrigerates them after purchase, according to the carton of eggs I bought.

[The way the Irish keep their eggs]

Another thing that is not odd, per se, but is different is that certain foods that Americans consider breakfast food, the Irish consider candy. I knew I should not have been surprised because as a culture, Americans tend to like sugar more than we should, but it still threw me off to walk into an old school candy shop and see boxes of Pop-tarts and cereal on the shelf. I also like to eat a certain type of fruit filled breakfast bar and they sell them in gas stations in single servings among the candy bars.

[A candy store in Dublin]

Another aspect of culture shock is getting used to the country’s currency. Luckily, the dollar is only slightly higher than the euro right now (about €1=$1.06), so the conversions are not too tricky. However, simply getting used to their bills and coins was an experience especially because they use €1 and €2 coins instead of bills. The first time I received change here, it was €3 and I received two coins to equal that amount. It was the same day we arrived, so I hadn’t had time to study their currency and I was rather confused to receive coins back for change instead of bills, as I would have gotten in the states.

A few weeks into the trip, I counted all of my change and it came to €30, which explained the extreme weight of my wallet. I think this is because I am not used to paying for things with coins, whereas it is normal here to do so. I have had to train myself to go to my coins to pay for smaller items instead of going right for my paper money.

Slowly, I am starting to recognize brands and am quicker with the currency. Hopefully these things won’t faze me anymore and I will become even more used to living in Ireland.

Allison serves as an editor for The North Star Reports.

Please contact Professor Liang if you wish to write for The North Star Reports — HLIANG (at) css.edu

See also, our Facebook page with curated news articles at http://www.facebook.com/NorthStarReports

The North Star Reports: Global Citizenship and Digital Literacy (http://NorthStarReports.org) is a student edited and student authored open access publication centered around the themes of global and historical connections. Our abiding philosophy is that those of us who are fortunate enough to receive an education and to travel our planet are ethically bound to share our knowledge with those who cannot afford to do so. Therefore, creating virtual and actual communities of learning between college and K-12 classes are integral to our mission. In three years we have published over 250 articles covering all habitable continents and a variety of topics ranging from history and politics, food and popular culture, to global inequities to complex identities. These articles are read by K-12 and college students. Our student editors and writers come from all parts of the campus, from Nursing to Biology, Physical Therapy to Business, and remarkably, many of our student editors and writers have long graduated from college. We also have writers and editors from other colleges and universities. In addition to our main site, we also curate a Facebook page dedicated to annotated news articles selected by our student editors (http://www.facebook.com/NorthStarReports). This is done by an all volunteer staff. We have a frugal cash budget, and we donate much of our time and talent to this project. The North Star Reports is sponsored and published by Professor Hong-Ming Liang, NSR Student Editors and Writers, The Department of History and Politics of The College of St. Scholastica, and the scholarly Middle Ground Journal. For a brief summary, please see the American Historical Association’s Perspectives on History, at: http://www.historians.org/perspectives/issues/2013/1305/Opening-The-Middle-Ground-Journal.cfm

Hong-Ming Liang, Ph.D., Editor-in-Chief and Publisher, The North Star Reports; Chief Editor, The Middle Ground Journal; Associate Professor of History and Politics, The College of St. Scholastica. Kathryn Marquis Hirsch, Managing Editor, The North Star Reports. Eleni Birhane and Matthew Breeze, Assistant Managing Editors, The North Star Reports.

(c) 2012-present The North Star Reports: Global Citizenship and Digital Literacy http://NorthStarReports.org ISSN: 2377-908X The NSR is sponsored and published by Professor Hong-Ming Liang, NSR Student Editors and Writers, with generous support from The Department of History and Politics of The College of St. Scholastica, and the scholarly Middle Ground Journal. See Masthead for our not-for-profit educational open- access policy. K-12 teachers, if you are using these reports for your classes, please contact editor-in-chief Professor Liang at HLIANG (at) css.edu

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Ireland – Day Trip to London – by Victoria Hansen. The North Star Reports: Global Citizenship and Digital Literacy, at NorthStarReports.org and facebook.com/NorthStarReports

Ireland – Day Trip to London – by Victoria Hansen. The North Star Reports: Global Citizenship and Digital Literacy, at NorthStarReports.org and facebook.com/NorthStarReports

[The outside of Harrod’s]

London is a city that is bustling with constant activity. A person from every walk of life imaginable can be found there. When most people think of London, they think of Big Ben, West Minster Abbey and the other big tourist attractions. Some people even call their underground transportation system to mind when thinking of London. I personally had been to London once before but on the first weekend in March, I decided it was time for me to go back.

The first time I went to London I saw all the usual tourist attractions but like every other tourist destination, to go inside costs money. Being that this time I am on a much stricter budget, I had to see London in what I like to call the broke college student way. Only seeing main attractions from the outside and finding any possible free thing to do. We also had to stay a little further out of the city to be able to afford our Airbnb.

[The tea we had in Harrod’s]

On Friday, our first full day in London, we started our day by going to a place called Camden Market. I had never actually heard of the place before so I was excited to see something new. The market was unlike anything I can remember seeing back home in the states. There were venders for everything you could possibly think of, from clothes to tapestries to hang on the walls. The atmosphere was that of a hipster mall, hidden from the mainstream. Even though the market had just opened, it was already crowded with people.

I walked around the market for two whole hours, mostly because it was such a maze that I couldn’t figure how to get out. I had worked up an appetite from all that walking and decided to try one of the many street food venders. I, being the picky eater that I am, struggled to find something that I would actually eat before coming across a mac n cheese stand. The price was a bit steep at five and a half pounds but the food was beyond worth it.

[The entrance to China Town in London]

After sitting down to eat for a while, my travel companions and I decided to continue on and see what other free things we could find. One of the other girls that I had traveled with had also been to London before so her and I decided to show the two newbies all of the regular tourist attractions before heading off to Harrod’s for tea.
Harrod’s is a very high end mall that takes up at least an entire block. The massive building holds five levels of luxury shopping. Brand names such as Gucci, Prada, and Fendi can all easily be found within the walls of Harrod’s. Like I said though, I am on a poor college student budget. The three of us window shopped through all five floors of Harrod’s before deciding to rest our legs for an hour or so in the Tea Room. We figured we couldn’t go to London and not drink any tea so we each ordered our own pot off an impressive tea menu.

We were all getting hungry from all the walking around so we asked the birthday girl of our group where she would like to eat. That is how we ended up in China town. Much like Camden market, I hadn’t even known that China town existed until I saw the red Chinese lanterns strung up above the streets that house the area. It looked like something straight out of a movie. It was exactly how I imagined china town would be. The entire block was filled with nothing but Chinese, Vietnamese and Japanese restaurants. We picked one of the restaurants right off the street. We sat by a window and watched all the festivities unfold.

[The entrance to Camden Market]

After a long day of travel, we decided to head back to our Airbnb. The tubes were packed with people just heading out for the night as we passed them to make our way to our beds. I had only been back in London for one whole day but I had already managed to see two new things. Seeing an entire city is almost next to impossible, it never hurts to revisit a place you’ve already seen because I can almost guarantee you there will be something new to see every time you return. I thought I had seen it all, but this trip showed me just how wrong I was.

Please contact Professor Liang if you wish to write for The North Star Reports — HLIANG (at) css.edu

See also, our Facebook page with curated news articles at http://www.facebook.com/NorthStarReports

The North Star Reports: Global Citizenship and Digital Literacy (http://NorthStarReports.org) is a student edited and student authored open access publication centered around the themes of global and historical connections. Our abiding philosophy is that those of us who are fortunate enough to receive an education and to travel our planet are ethically bound to share our knowledge with those who cannot afford to do so. Therefore, creating virtual and actual communities of learning between college and K-12 classes are integral to our mission. In three years we have published over 250 articles covering all habitable continents and a variety of topics ranging from history and politics, food and popular culture, to global inequities to complex identities. These articles are read by K-12 and college students. Our student editors and writers come from all parts of the campus, from Nursing to Biology, Physical Therapy to Business, and remarkably, many of our student editors and writers have long graduated from college. We also have writers and editors from other colleges and universities. In addition to our main site, we also curate a Facebook page dedicated to annotated news articles selected by our student editors (http://www.facebook.com/NorthStarReports). This is done by an all volunteer staff. We have a frugal cash budget, and we donate much of our time and talent to this project. The North Star Reports is sponsored and published by Professor Hong-Ming Liang, NSR Student Editors and Writers, The Department of History and Politics of The College of St. Scholastica, and the scholarly Middle Ground Journal. For a brief summary, please see the American Historical Association’s Perspectives on History, at: http://www.historians.org/perspectives/issues/2013/1305/Opening-The-Middle-Ground-Journal.cfm

Hong-Ming Liang, Ph.D., Editor-in-Chief and Publisher, The North Star Reports; Chief Editor, The Middle Ground Journal; Associate Professor of History and Politics, The College of St. Scholastica. Kathryn Marquis Hirsch, Managing Editor, The North Star Reports. Eleni Birhane and Matthew Breeze, Assistant Managing Editors, The North Star Reports.

(c) 2012-present The North Star Reports: Global Citizenship and Digital Literacy http://NorthStarReports.org ISSN: 2377-908X The NSR is sponsored and published by Professor Hong-Ming Liang, NSR Student Editors and Writers, with generous support from The Department of History and Politics of The College of St. Scholastica, and the scholarly Middle Ground Journal. See Masthead for our not-for-profit educational open- access policy. K-12 teachers, if you are using these reports for your classes, please contact editor-in-chief Professor Liang at HLIANG (at) css.edu

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Ireland – Star Gazing – by Allison Brennhofer. The North Star Reports: Global Citizenship and Digital Literacy, at NorthStarReports.org and facebook.com/NorthStarReports

Ireland – Star Gazing – by Allison Brennhofer. The North Star Reports: Global Citizenship and Digital Literacy, at NorthStarReports.org and facebook.com/NorthStarReports

High up in the Chilean Atacama Desert, pioneering feats of human engineering collide with the majestic beauty of the natural world. This image shows ESO’s La Silla Observatory, where domes housing some of the most advanced astronomical instruments in the world sit beneath a sky shimmering with stars. All of these stars belong to our home galaxy, the Milky Way. The Milky Way contains billions of stars, arranged in two strikingly different structures. The roughly spherical halo component, consisting mainly of older stars, appears in this image as the background of stars scattered across the sky. The second component is a thin disc made up of younger stars, gas and dust. We see this as a dense, bright, and visually stunning band running almost vertically across the sky. Pockets of dust block out the light from stars behind, giving the band a mottled appearance. The bright concentration in the band of stars, located toward the top centre of this image, is the central region of the Milky Way. Here, astronomers have measured stars moving very much faster than anywhere else in our galaxy. This is taken as evidence for a supermassive black hole, some four million times the mass of the Sun, at the very centre of our galaxy. The black hole cannot be observed directly, but its presence can be inferred from the effect its enormous gravity has on the motions of these nearby stars.

[This photograph was produced by European Southern Observatory (ESO). See: https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Where_Heaven_and_Earth_Collide.jpg ]

I am the first to tell anyone that I am completely and utterly a city girl. I’ve always been much more comfortable strolling down the streets of downtown Saint Paul over hiking through the woods or gallivanting through farms and their respective animals. Therefore, I surprised myself completely when I decided to spend three months in a town of 800 people in the countryside of Ireland. It’s been interesting, thus far, and there are definite pros and cons to both locations. I’m not used to there being one main street of shops and restaurants, I am more used to being able to drive ten minutes in any direction of my house and have countless options of where to shop and eat.

Tonight, a group of eight of us were walking back to our cottages from town and noticed how bright the stars were. My roommate suggested walking the ten minutes to the beach to see them even better, at a future time. I, however, was enamored with the idea and begged her and my other roommate to go right that instant. We rounded up the other ladies from our group before they made it back inside their cottages and made our way to the beach. We walked in a huddle of bodies with our phones’ flashlights guiding our steps.

The tide was the highest I’d seen, leaving us maybe ten feet of rocky beach to stand on. I quickly claimed a large rock and laid down on it, feet propped up against a conveniently located rock at the bottom of mine. I lay there for the whole half an hour we stayed out there, eyes locked on the dark sky illuminated by the countless stars. It was similar to but also so much better than those trips my class used to take to the planetarium in elementary school.

Now, I’m sure that I have seen stars that bright and numerous before. My family took a road trip to Mount Rushmore years ago and we spent a week every summer up north in a cabin where I am positive the stars are bright. But looking at the stars tonight, I’m not sure I’ve ever seen anything that beautiful. My friends called over to me a couple times, to make sure I wasn’t sleeping or dead, because I lay there so silently, taking in the view.

My friends tried to point out constellations to me, such as Orion’s Belt and the Big Dipper (which I saw) and the Little Dipper (which I pretended I saw). I also saw my very first shooting star. I was in disbelief, I had to ask the others if they had seen it too. (They hadn’t, I quickly made a belated wish anyway.)

I think my fascination with stars and space started when I was ten. My uncle came over after work every night for probably a week and showed my siblings and I all six of Star Trek The Original Series and all four of the Next Generation movies. My mom and he had grown up on them and now it was our turn to do the same. I have been hooked on anything and everything related to space exploration since then. In Saint Paul, we’re lucky to see a few stars with all of the light pollution. Here in Ireland, I couldn’t even have begun to count them. Every time I moved my head (carefully, because I jerked it too hard the first time and quickly remembered I was resting on a rock), there were more and more stars to look at.

I know this does not relate specifically to Ireland. I am sure there are many places in Minnesota, let alone the whole United States, where I could see as many stars. Maybe it was that I’m older now, more appreciative of sights that I am not used to. Or maybe it took being somewhere so dramatically different from home for me to really see things that I have had access to before. All I can say is that half hour of being on the coast of the Atlantic Ocean, where my fingers were a little numb and my skin probably matched the temperature of the rock I was on, was maybe the most peaceful, reflective half hour of my life to date. I also think this was the first time I’ve actually, seriously loved being in a small town setting. Don’t get me wrong, I adore Louisburgh. I think it is the cutest place I have ever lived and there is something endearing about recognizing everyone who lives there. But I’m used to the hustle and bustle of a city where you can go to high school with twice as many people than live in Louisburgh as a whole. I will be forever grateful to this town for letting me get as close to the stars as I probably ever will.

Allison serves as an editor for The North Star Reports.

Please contact Professor Liang if you wish to write for The North Star Reports — HLIANG (at) css.edu

See also, our Facebook page with curated news articles at http://www.facebook.com/NorthStarReports

The North Star Reports: Global Citizenship and Digital Literacy (http://NorthStarReports.org) is a student edited and student authored open access publication centered around the themes of global and historical connections. Our abiding philosophy is that those of us who are fortunate enough to receive an education and to travel our planet are ethically bound to share our knowledge with those who cannot afford to do so. Therefore, creating virtual and actual communities of learning between college and K-12 classes are integral to our mission. In three years we have published over 250 articles covering all habitable continents and a variety of topics ranging from history and politics, food and popular culture, to global inequities to complex identities. These articles are read by K-12 and college students. Our student editors and writers come from all parts of the campus, from Nursing to Biology, Physical Therapy to Business, and remarkably, many of our student editors and writers have long graduated from college. We also have writers and editors from other colleges and universities. In addition to our main site, we also curate a Facebook page dedicated to annotated news articles selected by our student editors (http://www.facebook.com/NorthStarReports). This is done by an all volunteer staff. We have a frugal cash budget, and we donate much of our time and talent to this project. The North Star Reports is sponsored and published by Professor Hong-Ming Liang, NSR Student Editors and Writers, The Department of History and Politics of The College of St. Scholastica, and the scholarly Middle Ground Journal. For a brief summary, please see the American Historical Association’s Perspectives on History, at: http://www.historians.org/perspectives/issues/2013/1305/Opening-The-Middle-Ground-Journal.cfm

Hong-Ming Liang, Ph.D., Editor-in-Chief and Publisher, The North Star Reports; Chief Editor, The Middle Ground Journal; Associate Professor of History and Politics, The College of St. Scholastica. Kathryn Marquis Hirsch, Managing Editor, The North Star Reports. Eleni Birhane and Matthew Breeze, Assistant Managing Editors, The North Star Reports.

(c) 2012-present The North Star Reports: Global Citizenship and Digital Literacy http://NorthStarReports.org ISSN: 2377-908X The NSR is sponsored and published by Professor Hong-Ming Liang, NSR Student Editors and Writers, with generous support from The Department of History and Politics of The College of St. Scholastica, and the scholarly Middle Ground Journal. See Masthead for our not-for-profit educational open- access policy. K-12 teachers, if you are using these reports for your classes, please contact editor-in-chief Professor Liang at HLIANG (at) css.edu

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Ireland – The Round Tower Experience – by Victoria Hansen. The North Star Reports: Global Citizenship and Digital Literacy, at NorthStarReports.org and facebook.com/NorthStarReports

Ireland – The Round Tower Experience – by Victoria Hansen. The North Star Reports: Global Citizenship and Digital Literacy, at NorthStarReports.org and facebook.com/NorthStarReports

victoria-h-tower-2

[A view of the round tower from the ground]

In the midsized town of Kilkenny, Ireland there is a hidden gem that isn’t widely known about. The city of Kilkenny is home to around twenty thousand people. When you ask most people what the city is best known for you will almost always get one of two answers: they will either mention the Kilkenny Castle that has sat in the city the times when they were fighting off Vikings, or they will tell you about Smithwicks, the beer brewing company that has its home on Kilkennys main street. Neither of these things are the hidden gem of the city that I want to share with you.

Tucked into the west side of the city is a cathedral called St. Canices. It is no secret that Ireland seems to be the land of 10,000 churches but this church happens to be special. Much like many of the other cathedrals this church has a round tower standing of to the right of it. This round tower was used to watch who was coming up and down the river back in the day when Vikings often scoured the land. What made this round tower so special was the fact that it is one of two in the entire world that the public is actually allowed to climb up to the top.

victoria-h-tower-1

[The stairs I had to climb up to get to the very top]

When our group had first arrived at St. Canices Cathedral, we were told that the tower had already been booked out by a group for the day. Many of us students were disappointed especially after learning that it was only one of two still open. Luckily for us, the tour group that had booked out the tower never showed up. This meant that our entire group go to climb to the very top. When I first bought my ticket to climb up there, I didn’t have a single clue as to what I was signing myself up for.

When I thought about the inside of the tower I imagined what looked like a never ending spiral staircase going from the bottom of the tower to the top. To even get inside the first floor of the round tower, I had to climb up a cold metal ladder. Once I walked through the open door of the round tower, I realized it wasn’t at all what I expected. The inside was dimly lit and several ladders could be seen above me. Not wanting to hold the people up behind me, I quickly got on the ladder and began to climb.
The first few ladders were easy but the higher up we got, the steeper the ladders became. Around the fourth ladder, a voice could be heard coming out of the speakers on the wall. It would be logical to think that the voice coming from the speaker would be encouraging you to just keep climbing but instead it joked about the fact that the tower had already begun lean to one side “but don’t worry, it should stay standing long enough for you to make it to the top”. The higher up we climbed, the windier it became. The round tower has glassless windows so the air creates somewhat of a vortex within.

victoria-h-tower-3

[The view of the city from the top]

After the sixth ladder, I had made it to the final landing. The only thing that stood between me and the very top of the round tower was a set of stone stairs that were extremely uneven. I put one foot up on the first step of the stairs and then foolishly looked down. It was at that moment that I realized from that point on, if I fell, I would fall more than a single story and it would more than likely be the death of me. With a deep breath, I continued my way up the last few steps. Holding onto the nearby fence to steady myself as I emerged to the open air.

The view from the top was breath taking. I looked down to the ground below and couldn’t believe how far up I had climbed. The top of the round tower had an uneven floor, so I had to be careful not trip as I took in all the scenery in front of me. We had to wait for everyone to make it to the top before we could begin our descent back down. Once everyone made it up we snapped a quick group picture before heading back down to the ground. I was nervous about the descent. I thought it was going to be harder than getting up there was. Luckily, I made it down with easy.

Once I reached the ground floor, I looked up in awe. I couldn’t believe that I had climbed all those ladders in such a short amount of time. Afterwards the guide told us it is only a matter of time before that tower eventually falls. I was thankful she hadn’t mentioned that before we began climbing but at that moment realized how lucky I am to get to say that I have had the experience of climbing up a round tower.

victoria-h-tower-4

[The ladders that I had to climb up]

Please contact Professor Liang if you wish to write for The North Star Reports — HLIANG (at) css.edu

See also, our Facebook page with curated news articles at http://www.facebook.com/NorthStarReports

The North Star Reports: Global Citizenship and Digital Literacy (http://NorthStarReports.org) is a student edited and student authored open access publication centered around the themes of global and historical connections. Our abiding philosophy is that those of us who are fortunate enough to receive an education and to travel our planet are ethically bound to share our knowledge with those who cannot afford to do so. Therefore, creating virtual and actual communities of learning between college and K-12 classes are integral to our mission. In three years we have published over 250 articles covering all habitable continents and a variety of topics ranging from history and politics, food and popular culture, to global inequities to complex identities. These articles are read by K-12 and college students. Our student editors and writers come from all parts of the campus, from Nursing to Biology, Physical Therapy to Business, and remarkably, many of our student editors and writers have long graduated from college. We also have writers and editors from other colleges and universities. In addition to our main site, we also curate a Facebook page dedicated to annotated news articles selected by our student editors (http://www.facebook.com/NorthStarReports). This is done by an all volunteer staff. We have a frugal cash budget, and we donate much of our time and talent to this project. The North Star Reports is sponsored and published by Professor Hong-Ming Liang, NSR Student Editors and Writers, The Department of History and Politics of The College of St. Scholastica, and the scholarly Middle Ground Journal. For a brief summary, please see the American Historical Association’s Perspectives on History, at: http://www.historians.org/perspectives/issues/2013/1305/Opening-The-Middle-Ground-Journal.cfm

Hong-Ming Liang, Ph.D., Editor-in-Chief and Publisher, The North Star Reports; Chief Editor, The Middle Ground Journal; Associate Professor of History and Politics, The College of St. Scholastica. Kathryn Marquis Hirsch, Managing Editor, The North Star Reports. Eleni Birhane and Matthew Breeze, Assistant Managing Editors, The North Star Reports.

(c) 2012-present The North Star Reports: Global Citizenship and Digital Literacy http://NorthStarReports.org ISSN: 2377-908X The NSR is sponsored and published by Professor Hong-Ming Liang, NSR Student Editors and Writers, with generous support from The Department of History and Politics of The College of St. Scholastica, and the scholarly Middle Ground Journal. See Masthead for our not-for-profit educational open- access policy. K-12 teachers, if you are using these reports for your classes, please contact editor-in-chief Professor Liang at HLIANG (at) css.edu

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Photo Essay – Ireland – Irish Colors – by Allison Brennhofer. The North Star Reports: Global Citizenship and Digital Literacy, at NorthStarReports.org and facebook.com/NorthStarReports

Photo Essay – Ireland – Irish Colors – by Allison Brennhofer. The North Star Reports: Global Citizenship and Digital Literacy, at NorthStarReports.org and facebook.com/NorthStarReports

Some might think of Ireland as drab and rainy all of the time. I can attest that that is false, at least based on the time I have spent here. It has rained, yes, but not any more so than it does in Minnesota, in the few moments it does not snow back home. Besides the weather, the landscapes here are incredible. In County Mayo alone, where our town of Louisburgh is located, there are countless beaches along the coast, mountains, and lakes, all among fields of the greatest greens. The greens of the hills and blues of the ocean are the most vibrant colors here, but the sky can change from blue to purple in a matter of minutes, the likes of which I have never witnessed in Minnesota. These photos show an extremely limited range of the colors I have seen in Ireland.

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1223: The hills en route to Carrowmore beach.

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1476: The Cliffs of Moher

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1211: A field en route to Carrowmore beach.

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1265: The waves and sky viewed from Carrowmore beach.

allie-b-dsc01319

1319: The path through the woods to the ruins of Moore Hall.

Allison serves as an editor for The North Star Reports.

Please contact Professor Liang if you wish to write for The North Star Reports — HLIANG (at) css.edu

See also, our Facebook page with curated news articles at http://www.facebook.com/NorthStarReports

The North Star Reports: Global Citizenship and Digital Literacy (http://NorthStarReports.org) is a student edited and student authored open access publication centered around the themes of global and historical connections. Our abiding philosophy is that those of us who are fortunate enough to receive an education and to travel our planet are ethically bound to share our knowledge with those who cannot afford to do so. Therefore, creating virtual and actual communities of learning between college and K-12 classes are integral to our mission. In three years we have published over 250 articles covering all habitable continents and a variety of topics ranging from history and politics, food and popular culture, to global inequities to complex identities. These articles are read by K-12 and college students. Our student editors and writers come from all parts of the campus, from Nursing to Biology, Physical Therapy to Business, and remarkably, many of our student editors and writers have long graduated from college. We also have writers and editors from other colleges and universities. In addition to our main site, we also curate a Facebook page dedicated to annotated news articles selected by our student editors (http://www.facebook.com/NorthStarReports). This is done by an all volunteer staff. We have a frugal cash budget, and we donate much of our time and talent to this project. The North Star Reports is sponsored and published by Professor Hong-Ming Liang, NSR Student Editors and Writers, The Department of History and Politics of The College of St. Scholastica, and the scholarly Middle Ground Journal. For a brief summary, please see the American Historical Association’s Perspectives on History, at: http://www.historians.org/perspectives/issues/2013/1305/Opening-The-Middle-Ground-Journal.cfm

Hong-Ming Liang, Ph.D., Editor-in-Chief and Publisher, The North Star Reports; Chief Editor, The Middle Ground Journal; Associate Professor of History and Politics, The College of St. Scholastica. Kathryn Marquis Hirsch, Managing Editor, The North Star Reports.

(c) 2012-present The North Star Reports: Global Citizenship and Digital Literacy http://NorthStarReports.org ISSN: 2377-908X The NSR is sponsored and published by Professor Hong-Ming Liang, NSR Student Editors and Writers, with generous support from The Department of History and Politics of The College of St. Scholastica, and the scholarly Middle Ground Journal. See Masthead for our not-for-profit educational open- access policy. K-12 teachers, if you are using these reports for your classes, please contact editor-in-chief Professor Liang at HLIANG (at) css.edu

35 Comments

Filed under Allison Brennhofer, North Star Student Editors, Professor Hong-Ming Liang

A Review of ‘“A Progressive Argument to Reduce Immigration into the United States” a speech given by Professor Philip Cafaro – by Rebecca Smith. The North Star Reports: Global Citizenship and Digital Literacy, at NorthStarReports.org and facebook.com/NorthStarReports

A Review of ‘“A Progressive Argument to Reduce Immigration into the United States” a speech given by Professor Philip Cafaro – by Rebecca Smith. The North Star Reports: Global Citizenship and Digital Literacy, at NorthStarReports.org and facebook.com/NorthStarReports

becca-s-review-progressive-immigration

On February 9th, 2017, I attended the lecture “A Progressive Argument to Reduce Immigration into the United States” by Professor Philip Cafaro at The College of St. Scholastica, which was sponsored by the Alworth Center. As someone who knows little about immigration and its true impact, I felt compelled to attend this lecture and the lecture on March 7th – Justice and the U.S. Immigration Policy with Aviva Chomsky. When I first learned about the topic of the lecture, I bristled at the prospect. Most of my experience with hearing about immigration consisted of hopeful stories of people coming and making better lives for themselves and their families, so the prospect of reducing this opportunity for people didn’t seem like a good option. Philip Cafaro cited economic inequality and an unsustainable society as the two main concerns of immigration and noted the problems that it can create.

The first of the problems that was addressed was the economic inequality that the current immigration policy of the U.S. is to blame for. Cafaro interviewed many people in the hard labor or small business field, immigrant and non-immigrant, and used stories to show how immigration has an effect on the middle and lower classes. For example, one of the people he interviewed, Tom Kinney, owned his own business that is now failing. He attributed the failing to two reasons. First, bigger companies that did the same type of work exploit immigrants and pay them a non-living wage because they can get away with it, thus making the bigger companies rates lower. Secondly, not all immigrants pay taxes like he did for his business, so they could work for lower rates, but do the same work. Cafaro also pointed out the fallacy that U.S. citizens refuse to do hard labor, so immigrants are stepping up and doing those jobs. Kinney and Cafaro believe that it isn’t that U.S. citizens are refusing the work, they are refusing the pay that goes along with the work. In his interview, Kinney stated that because a lot of people don’t like those kinds of jobs, they used to pay well. At least, they used to pay a living wage. Now, because of big companies and the lower/no tax rate, these positions generally aren’t paying a living wage.

Cafaro also noted that immigration is often looked in oversimplified terms. There will be winners and losers in any immigration policy, but he argued that that shouldn’t stop the government from changing things. Cafaro argued that wealthy, better educated workers are less impacted than the working class. Legal fields have fewer immigrants (7%) in the job pools than farming/fishing fields (36%). While people who earn higher wages support immigration because goods and services are less expensive, the current immigration policy, or an open boarder, will not help working class citizens. This argument was surprising to me, as I had grown up in a middle class household and had parents whose positions and careers that were not impacted by immigration, but benefited off of the lower priced goods and services. In the question/answer section of the lecture, Cafaro did acknowledge that it is possible that technology has impacted farming/fishing fields, and others like it, but that the fact that technology has had an impact should show why job pools should not be flooded. He argued that tightening up the labor market created the Golden Age post WWII, and that the U.S. should be doing the same thing now. A tightened labor market isn’t the only reason Cafaro believes that the U.S. should create a lower immigration policy.

The environmental impact of overpopulation is vast, and Cafaro believes that we could consider the U.S. to be the most overpopulated country, based on consumption. It is no secret that our society is largely not being created in a sustainable way. If we want to have an ecological and sustainable society, which Cafaro believes we need to have, we need to reduce population. An obvious solution may be to suggest and promote having fewer children, but Cafaro argues that U.S. citizens are already doing that. Instead of larger families, like we have seen in the past, many parents are only having two children. However, at the same time, Congress is raising immigration limits. A question from the audience member brought up the point of making efforts to consume less, so there doesn’t have to be a reduction of immigration. Cafaro responded by saying that the resources that we save should not be making room for more people to come in and use them. If a city was to reduce its water usage by 20%, Cafaro argues that that remaining water should be left in rivers and for the environment. It should not be used for 20% more people to use it. Cafaro believes that it’s selfish to take land and water away from ecosystems and animals and in doing so we will see harmful repercussions to humans.

Sprawl is also detrimental to ecosystems and species. When sprawl occurs, there is an increase in water and land consumption, and a loss of habitat. Cafaro believes that we have a responsibility to save species from extinction, when their populations are rapidly decreasing because of humans. We do not have the right to take a species’ right to live. While he notes that sprawl can certainly happen without immigration, it happens much more rapidly when immigration is a factor. With Cafaro’s education and activism background, he doesn’t believe that we can create a sustainable society with the population we have now, let alone what the population would be in 2100. The chance for a sustainable society gets slimmer with a larger population.

So what is the U.S. to do about it? Cafaro proposed four ideas that would not only reduce immigration, but would also help other nations. Firstly, he proposed to cut immigration to 300,000/year. Currently, immigration limits are over 1 million per year. Cafaro broke down the different subsections of immigration, from families to refugees/asylum seekers. The largest cut would be to family immigration. Cafaro suggests that letting a nuclear family immigrate is not the problem, but when someone brings much of their extended family with. It is important to note that he only wants to make a sliver of a cut to refugees/asylum seekers immigration numbers. We have a moral responsibility to help and assist those in need. The second idea Cafaro proposed is to implement a national employee verification program, where there would be strict sanctions against employers who exploit immigrants. Next, he proposed to pass carefully targeted amnesties. A story of an immigrant who worked and paid taxes in the U.S. for 25 years was discussed, and Cafaro believes that people who have worked hard like that immigrant should be given amnesty and citizenship. Finally, Cafaro proposed reworking trade agreements and helping people live better lives in their own countries.

Before this lecture, I would not have considered a reduced immigration policy for the purpose of economics beneficial. The lecture opened my eyes to the fact that I might be viewing immigration policies in a position of privilege. However, if the government acts to reduce immigration, but the greed of many corporations and big businesses stay the same, it is possible that the prices of goods and services will go up, causing me, and people like me, to reconfigure budgets. On the other hand, people should be able to live on the wage that they are being paid and not struggle to pay for things like water, nutritious food, and heat. Cafaro recognizes that there will be choices that need to be made – should there be cheaper housing prices or good wages for construction workers? While having both might be an obvious choice, Cafaro believes that there will need to be a choice because of immigration.

The impression I got was that Cafaro was basing his lecture off of how the country is moving – not off of idealistic theories of how the country should be moving. However, if Cafaro really looked at how the government functioned, he would see that it has trouble making decisions and rarely does things to help people in other countries if there is no benefit for itself. He also didn’t take into consideration the culture of the U.S. and what we consider a good life, may create trouble in other countries. Just because the government considers certain things and values to be a good life does not mean that the citizens of the country where the program would be implemented feel the same. There would have to be communication between the U.S. government and other country’s government and citizens in order to determine what would be best for the country. While I would hope that the U.S. government would be able to do so, it does not have a history of successfully doing this. A question brought up by a student asked about the responsibility that we have to people in other countries because of bad U.S. policies that have caused them to immigrate to the U.S. Cafaro believes that we do have a responsibility to help people, especially because of U.S. action, but it should be helping them within their own countries. It was suggested that the students who come to the U.S. to study should then go back to their own countries to help improve them, which makes sense on the surface, but on a deeper and realistic level, is not always that simple or easy.

The general sense of Cafaro’s arguments was that while his lecture was a response to how the country was moving and based his argument off of that, he did not necessarily offer realistic ways to change it. His ideas in response were also idealistic. Cutting immigration to a third of what it is now is unlikely to happen soon. We have seen that big businesses often have their interests valued higher in the government due to their ability to “donate” to campaigns, so how do we change the government and big business culture? Change is going to have to happen on multiple levels and in multiple ways if we want to a) create an ecological and sustainable society and b) seriously make efforts to create economic equality within the U.S.

Rebecca serves as an editor for The North Star Reports.

Please contact Professor Liang if you wish to write for The North Star Reports — HLIANG (at) css.edu

See also, our Facebook page with curated news articles at http://www.facebook.com/NorthStarReports

The North Star Reports: Global Citizenship and Digital Literacy (http://NorthStarReports.org) is a student edited and student authored open access publication centered around the themes of global and historical connections. Our abiding philosophy is that those of us who are fortunate enough to receive an education and to travel our planet are ethically bound to share our knowledge with those who cannot afford to do so. Therefore, creating virtual and actual communities of learning between college and K-12 classes are integral to our mission. In three years we have published over 250 articles covering all habitable continents and a variety of topics ranging from history and politics, food and popular culture, to global inequities to complex identities. These articles are read by K-12 and college students. Our student editors and writers come from all parts of the campus, from Nursing to Biology, Physical Therapy to Business, and remarkably, many of our student editors and writers have long graduated from college. We also have writers and editors from other colleges and universities. In addition to our main site, we also curate a Facebook page dedicated to annotated news articles selected by our student editors (http://www.facebook.com/NorthStarReports). This is done by an all volunteer staff. We have a frugal cash budget, and we donate much of our time and talent to this project. The North Star Reports is sponsored and published by Professor Hong-Ming Liang, NSR Student Editors and Writers, The Department of History and Politics of The College of St. Scholastica, and the scholarly Middle Ground Journal. For a brief summary, please see the American Historical Association’s Perspectives on History, at: http://www.historians.org/perspectives/issues/2013/1305/Opening-The-Middle-Ground-Journal.cfm

Hong-Ming Liang, Ph.D., Editor-in-Chief and Publisher, The North Star Reports; Chief Editor, The Middle Ground Journal; Associate Professor of History and Politics, The College of St. Scholastica. Kathryn Marquis Hirsch, Managing Editor, The North Star Reports.

(c) 2012-present The North Star Reports: Global Citizenship and Digital Literacy http://NorthStarReports.org ISSN: 2377-908X The NSR is sponsored and published by Professor Hong-Ming Liang, NSR Student Editors and Writers, with generous support from The Department of History and Politics of The College of St. Scholastica, and the scholarly Middle Ground Journal. See Masthead for our not-for-profit educational open- access policy. K-12 teachers, if you are using these reports for your classes, please contact editor-in-chief Professor Liang at HLIANG (at) css.edu

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Filed under North Star Student Editors, Professor Hong-Ming Liang, Rebecca Smith

Ireland – Cliffs of Moher – by Victoria Hansen. The North Star Reports: Global Citizenship and Digital Literacy, at NorthStarReports.org and facebook.com/NorthStarReports

Ireland – Cliffs of Moher – by Victoria Hansen. The North Star Reports: Global Citizenship and Digital Literacy, at NorthStarReports.org and facebook.com/NorthStarReports

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[The view of O’Brien’s tower and the cliff that it sits on from the long path]

They say that on a foggy day you can’t see much farther than a foot ahead of you at the Cliffs of Moher. Luckily for us Saturday February 11th was one of the clearest mornings my classmates and I have seen since being here in Ireland. That morning all sixteen students, both of our two professors and their family loaded onto Owen’s big diesel coach bus to take a ride out to scenic County Clare. It was a short hour and a half ride from Galway to our destination but the amount of time the heat took to begin to warm up the bus left us feeling like our feet had turned into icicles.

As we pulled up to our destination, the first thing that I was struck by was the attractions information building. It was built into the side of a hill, with huge light welcoming windows from floor to ceiling. As we walked into the building we were slapped by the delightful smell of espresso brewing in the coffee shop. Chatter also filled our ears, mostly coming from the huge gift shop found to the right of the entrance.

Because we were still unthawing from our long, cold bus ride, a few of us decided to check out the exhibit inside before exploring the cliffs. The exhibit was clearly set up for younger kids because it had things for them to climb on and interactive screens to color on. It also had an informational video that restarted ever twenty or so minutes. Another interactive screen allowed us to email postcards to our friends and family back home.

After ten short minutes sending E-postcards to our family members and friends, we were finally ready to face the cold and head out to the Cliffs of Moher. When we first started out on the path were left with a decision, do we turn right and go look at the Castle like building on the cliff or do we turn left and take a long walking path along the side of several of the cliffs. We decided to head to the right first.

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[A view of the remainder of the path and the stone slabs that separated me from the cliffs edge]

We walked up several flights of stairs and down a path that lead us right up next to a big castle like structure that I later came to know as O’Brien’s Tower. Looking up at the tower invoked memories of listening to fairy tales as a child. O’Brien’s Tower looked like something that had come straight of a fairy tale. And then of course there was the fact that this tower had one of the most stunning views in all of Ireland. It looked out over the remained of the cliffs proud to still be standing there after 182 years of looking over that Cliff.

After taking many pictures and a few more selfies than I would like to admit, we turned our sights away from O’Brien’s tower and embarked on the long walk along the cliffs. The official paved path of the Cliffs of Moher doesn’t go much farther than a half a mile or so. At the end of a path you come to a sign that says something to the effect of “Danger; Stay on the Marked Path”, but much like every other tourist we ignore the signs warning and continue on the path.

victoria-h-cliff-2

[O’Brien’s tower that sits on top of the Cliffs of Moher]

This path is much different from the official path. It isn’t paved and on the left-hand side it is marked by an electric fence that happened to be turned off. The right side of the path keeps people in with large rock slabs but there are places where the slab has broken off and one can jump over it. On the other side of the rock slabs is an even more dangerous trail that lies right against the cliffs edge. One wrong misstep and you could end up in the rocky bay below.

We continued on this path for a mile before we have to step up to the path that has no protection between us and the cliffs edge. The view that spot was stunning. If you were daring enough you could even walk right to the edge and pier down at the hungry waves below, just waiting to swallow its next victim whole. From this side of the cliffs you had a picture-perfect view of O’Brien’s tower as well as small cliffs below. It was clear that at one point in time these smaller cliffs had been attached to the mainland but after thousands of years of erosion they now stood on their own.

The beauty of the cliffs was unnerving. As we continued to walk down the path we continued to gaze out at the view with amazement. We could feel our time there quickly slipping away. We wanted to continue down the path, we wanted to make it all the way to the end, but we knew if we continued on we would be stranded there. Defeated we turned around and made the walk back to the tourist center.

Please contact Professor Liang if you wish to write for The North Star Reports — HLIANG (at) css.edu

See also, our Facebook page with curated news articles at http://www.facebook.com/NorthStarReports

The North Star Reports: Global Citizenship and Digital Literacy (http://NorthStarReports.org) is a student edited and student authored open access publication centered around the themes of global and historical connections. Our abiding philosophy is that those of us who are fortunate enough to receive an education and to travel our planet are ethically bound to share our knowledge with those who cannot afford to do so. Therefore, creating virtual and actual communities of learning between college and K-12 classes are integral to our mission. In three years we have published over 250 articles covering all habitable continents and a variety of topics ranging from history and politics, food and popular culture, to global inequities to complex identities. These articles are read by K-12 and college students. Our student editors and writers come from all parts of the campus, from Nursing to Biology, Physical Therapy to Business, and remarkably, many of our student editors and writers have long graduated from college. We also have writers and editors from other colleges and universities. In addition to our main site, we also curate a Facebook page dedicated to annotated news articles selected by our student editors (http://www.facebook.com/NorthStarReports). This is done by an all volunteer staff. We have a frugal cash budget, and we donate much of our time and talent to this project. The North Star Reports is sponsored and published by Professor Hong-Ming Liang, NSR Student Editors and Writers, The Department of History and Politics of The College of St. Scholastica, and the scholarly Middle Ground Journal. For a brief summary, please see the American Historical Association’s Perspectives on History, at: http://www.historians.org/perspectives/issues/2013/1305/Opening-The-Middle-Ground-Journal.cfm

Hong-Ming Liang, Ph.D., Editor-in-Chief and Publisher, The North Star Reports; Chief Editor, The Middle Ground Journal; Associate Professor of History and Politics, The College of St. Scholastica. Kathryn Marquis Hirsch, Managing Editor, The North Star Reports.

(c) 2012-present The North Star Reports: Global Citizenship and Digital Literacy http://NorthStarReports.org ISSN: 2377-908X The NSR is sponsored and published by Professor Hong-Ming Liang, NSR Student Editors and Writers, with generous support from The Department of History and Politics of The College of St. Scholastica, and the scholarly Middle Ground Journal. See Masthead for our not-for-profit educational open- access policy. K-12 teachers, if you are using these reports for your classes, please contact editor-in-chief Professor Liang at HLIANG (at) css.edu

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Ireland – Our First Trip – by Allison Brennhofer. The North Star Reports: Global Citizenship and Digital Literacy, at NorthStarReports.org and facebook.com/NorthStarReports

Ireland – Our First Trip – by Allison Brennhofer. The North Star Reports: Global Citizenship and Digital Literacy, at NorthStarReports.org and facebook.com/NorthStarReports

allie-b-trip-1

[The ruins of Moore Hall, the home of the first Irish President, in Carnacon. Some of those in our group used that conveniently placed log to the left of the entrance to climb into the building.]

Our first trip outside a half-hour radius of Louisburgh was a success. We went to Galway for the weekend as a group.

Our trusty bus driver Owen actually was late Friday morning because his bus broke down and he had to get a replacement. With an hour and five minute delay, we set off. During what should have been a two hour drive, we instead stopped many places along the way, such as Moore Hall and Yeats’ Tower and arrived in Galway just eight hours after we left Louisburgh.

We checked into our B&Bs (there were too many of us to stay in one, so we split up among three) and walked as a group about ten minutes to get to the city center. Compared to Saint Paul, where I am from, a city of 80,000 people is not the largest place for me. However, after being in Louisburgh for three weeks now (a town of 800), Galway felt like home. There were restaurants, pubs, and shops all along this main street, similar to an outdoor mall. Cars weren’t allowed down the main street, so people milled about.

Our large group split off as we wandered down the street and eventually I and five others found a pub that looked promising. The food was delicious, but we didn’t spend too much time there because we had plans to meet up with other people in a different pub. We walked around a little before deciding to try a pub that advertised live music. There, we actually ran into a good chunk of the rest of our group. We snagged one of the last open tables and by complete coincidence, the people at the table next to us were also American. We found out they were studying at the university in Dublin through Penn State. Because they only have class Wednesdays and Thursdays, they’ve spent the rest of their time traveling around different places. It was interesting to run into other Americans. It was similar to how I feel when I run into other Minnesotans when I’m in another state back home, a mixture of surprise and happiness that someone else understands where you’re coming from. None of these people were from Minnesota, but the sentiment still applied.

The second day we were off bright and early to get to the Cliffs of Moher which were about an hour and a half south of Galway. I think I’ll let the picture speak for itself here because I wouldn’t be able to do it justice.

allie-trip-2

[One side of the Cliffs of Moher]

We weren’t even able to hike to the very edge of the cliffs because we ran out of time and it was a very long way to go. Every view that we did see, though, was breathtaking.

That day, we also saw the Portal Tomb, which is an ancient burial site. The informational sign at the site said that when a section of it needed replacing, 33 bodies were found that date back to 4200-2900 BC- the New Stone Age. The bodies probably had been moved there after a while because there is no evidence of decomposition in the tomb. More than likely, it was a ritualistic place that involved the movement of bones.

allie-trip-3

[The Portal Tomb]

We returned to Galway and had enough time to shop a little and eat dinner before we went to see Urinetown. It was a satirical musical which was definitely interesting. I don’t think it was the best production I have ever seen, but that was more due to what I find humorous. The cast was wonderful, they all sang and danced great and had perfect American accents. Everyone in our group was a little puzzled when, at the end, three people took about half an hour to thank everyone involved with the production. I have not seen an incredible amount of plays, so I was not sure if it was normal or not to thank everyone on the last night of a show. However, my professor said he was as baffled as us, as to why they thanked every possible person.

The rest of the night was ours to spend as we saw fit, even though it was already nearing 10:30. Luckily, the night life in Galway didn’t seem to pick up till midnight at the earliest, so my friends Arden and Victoria and I explored an authentic night out, which was a stark contrast to our tiny home base of Louisburgh.
Our professors took pity on us Sunday morning, letting us leave at 10 instead of 8:30 like the previous day. We ate our last meal at the B&B and set off for a few more places to see before returning to Louisburgh. We stopped in Cong, a small town where some of the scenes from The Quiet Man, a John Wayne movie, were filmed. The town is very proud of that, with a statue immortalizing him along with many shops named after the movie in various ways. Ashford Castle also resides in Cong, a castle from the 13th century. We were only able to see it from across the river that runs along the castle, because a guard patrols the bridge and collects the €10 charge to see the grounds.

allie-trip-4

[Ashford Castle. Now a hotel for the very, very wealthy which I am not.]

As amazing as it was to see Galway, I was ready to return to Louisburgh. It’s amazing how, in such a short amount of time, a place can already feel like home.

Allison serves as an editor for The North Star Reports.

Please contact Professor Liang if you wish to write for The North Star Reports — HLIANG (at) css.edu

See also, our Facebook page with curated news articles at http://www.facebook.com/NorthStarReports

The North Star Reports: Global Citizenship and Digital Literacy (http://NorthStarReports.org) is a student edited and student authored open access publication centered around the themes of global and historical connections. Our abiding philosophy is that those of us who are fortunate enough to receive an education and to travel our planet are ethically bound to share our knowledge with those who cannot afford to do so. Therefore, creating virtual and actual communities of learning between college and K-12 classes are integral to our mission. In three years we have published over 250 articles covering all habitable continents and a variety of topics ranging from history and politics, food and popular culture, to global inequities to complex identities. These articles are read by K-12 and college students. Our student editors and writers come from all parts of the campus, from Nursing to Biology, Physical Therapy to Business, and remarkably, many of our student editors and writers have long graduated from college. We also have writers and editors from other colleges and universities. In addition to our main site, we also curate a Facebook page dedicated to annotated news articles selected by our student editors (http://www.facebook.com/NorthStarReports). This is done by an all volunteer staff. We have a frugal cash budget, and we donate much of our time and talent to this project. The North Star Reports is sponsored and published by Professor Hong-Ming Liang, NSR Student Editors and Writers, The Department of History and Politics of The College of St. Scholastica, and the scholarly Middle Ground Journal. For a brief summary, please see the American Historical Association’s Perspectives on History, at: http://www.historians.org/perspectives/issues/2013/1305/Opening-The-Middle-Ground-Journal.cfm

Hong-Ming Liang, Ph.D., Editor-in-Chief and Publisher, The North Star Reports; Chief Editor, The Middle Ground Journal; Associate Professor of History and Politics, The College of St. Scholastica. Kathryn Marquis Hirsch, Managing Editor, The North Star Reports.

(c) 2012-present The North Star Reports: Global Citizenship and Digital Literacy http://NorthStarReports.org ISSN: 2377-908X The NSR is sponsored and published by Professor Hong-Ming Liang, NSR Student Editors and Writers, with generous support from The Department of History and Politics of The College of St. Scholastica, and the scholarly Middle Ground Journal. See Masthead for our not-for-profit educational open- access policy. K-12 teachers, if you are using these reports for your classes, please contact editor-in-chief Professor Liang at HLIANG (at) css.edu

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Filed under Allison Brennhofer, North Star Student Editors, Professor Hong-Ming Liang

Ireland – Irish Set Dancing – by Victoria Hansen. The North Star Reports: Global Citizenship and Digital Literacy, at NorthStarReports.org and facebook.com/NorthStarReports

Ireland – Irish Set Dancing – by Victoria Hansen. The North Star Reports: Global Citizenship and Digital Literacy, at NorthStarReports.org and facebook.com/NorthStarReports

victoria-h-dancing-1

[Arden dancing with a local while the instructor (the man behind her) reminds the group of the next steps]

When we first got to Ireland, we were told that every Thursday night there was the opportunity to partake in dance lessons. As someone who spent fifteen years of their life dancing, hearing this made my ears perk up. We were told that we had the option to attend something called Irish set dancing. I had never heard of that and wasn’t really sure what I had signed myself up for when I walked through the doors to the Derrylahan Thursday night.

Being that it was our groups first time attending the dance lessons we were uninformed of the fact that the instructor comes at 8:30 not 8 o’clock as we originally had been led to believe. This left us sitting in a pub waiting for a half an hour but the time went by quickly as I talked with other students about where they planned on traveling over different school breaks. One of the other students, a boy named Zach, had only gone to the pub to eat dinner, but of course he ended up being dragged along to the dance class. Before we knew it we were being ushered into a room connected to the pub by a hallway.

victoria-h-dancing-2

[Zach and Allie dancing with two women from Luisburgh]

The room had all wood floor with chairs facing a dance floor just waiting for us to begin. A thin curtain separated the room in half. On the side, opposite of the side we were on several tables and a bar were all set up. It looked like the kind of place where wedding receptions or banquets were held. Although the heaters were all on high, the room still had a sharp chill to it.

Most of us students choose to keep our coats on to begin. The instructor told us each to pair up and form two circles, each circle having four “couples”. Because the majority of the class was older women, some women had to take the place of the man in the dances. The instructor slowly went through the first set step by step. My partner happened to be my good friend Allie. Because Allie is much taller than I am, the instructor suggested she take the lead position.

Allie and I struggled through the first set because neither one of us had ever been taught how to waltz and there were several times throughout the first set where waltzing was required. After being led step by step through the first set, we were all warm enough to shed our jackets. The instructor played the music for us before we began. Allie and I looked nervously at each other because of the fast beat of the music. We both know that if we messed up we would mess everyone else up too. Luckily for us, we both turned out to be a quick study.

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[The circle moves in and out as a part of the set]

After the first run through of the set we began to allow ourselves to relax and enjoy the dancing. It was so fast paced that it turned out to be more than just a dance, it became a work out. As time went on, more people joined the class, which was a good thing because after dancing a couple times in a row, a water break was much needed. Throughout the remainder of the class, we learned two more sets. Each one slightly more difficult.

Sometimes Allie and I would split up and be partners with the locals which was always a fun little treat. You could definitely tell who attends class regularly and who doesn’t. Those who attend class regularly are often great leads. They always spin you of into the right direction and the don’t hesitate to tell you when you have missed or added an extra step.

On one of the short breaks that I got from dancing, I looked around and for the first time I saw what was really going on. All the other students, as well as the majority of the locals, had smiles on their face and sweat seeping through their clothes. When someone would mess up it was often noted but brushed of quickly with a laugh. The enjoyment of the activity by everyone participating was clear to anyone with eyes. It was official: Irish set dance lessons was going to become a Thursday night routine.

[Video caption: Everyone dancing the first part of the set]



Please contact Professor Liang if you wish to write for The North Star Reports — HLIANG (at) css.edu

See also, our Facebook page with curated news articles at http://www.facebook.com/NorthStarReports

The North Star Reports: Global Citizenship and Digital Literacy (http://NorthStarReports.org) is a student edited and student authored open access publication centered around the themes of global and historical connections. Our abiding philosophy is that those of us who are fortunate enough to receive an education and to travel our planet are ethically bound to share our knowledge with those who cannot afford to do so. Therefore, creating virtual and actual communities of learning between college and K-12 classes are integral to our mission. In three years we have published over 250 articles covering all habitable continents and a variety of topics ranging from history and politics, food and popular culture, to global inequities to complex identities. These articles are read by K-12 and college students. Our student editors and writers come from all parts of the campus, from Nursing to Biology, Physical Therapy to Business, and remarkably, many of our student editors and writers have long graduated from college. We also have writers and editors from other colleges and universities. In addition to our main site, we also curate a Facebook page dedicated to annotated news articles selected by our student editors (http://www.facebook.com/NorthStarReports). This is done by an all volunteer staff. We have a frugal cash budget, and we donate much of our time and talent to this project. The North Star Reports is sponsored and published by Professor Hong-Ming Liang, NSR Student Editors and Writers, The Department of History and Politics of The College of St. Scholastica, and the scholarly Middle Ground Journal. For a brief summary, please see the American Historical Association’s Perspectives on History, at: http://www.historians.org/perspectives/issues/2013/1305/Opening-The-Middle-Ground-Journal.cfm

Hong-Ming Liang, Ph.D., Editor-in-Chief and Publisher, The North Star Reports; Chief Editor, The Middle Ground Journal; Associate Professor of History and Politics, The College of St. Scholastica. Kathryn Marquis Hirsch, Managing Editor, The North Star Reports.

(c) 2012-present The North Star Reports: Global Citizenship and Digital Literacy http://NorthStarReports.org ISSN: 2377-908X The NSR is sponsored and published by Professor Hong-Ming Liang, NSR Student Editors and Writers, with generous support from The Department of History and Politics of The College of St. Scholastica, and the scholarly Middle Ground Journal. See Masthead for our not-for-profit educational open- access policy. K-12 teachers, if you are using these reports for your classes, please contact editor-in-chief Professor Liang at HLIANG (at) css.edu

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Eat the World – Food in Europe versus America – by Ana María Camelo Vega. The North Star Reports: Global Citizenship and Digital Literacy, at NorthStarReports.org and facebook.com/NorthStarReports

Eat the World – Food in Europe versus America – by Ana María Camelo Vega. The North Star Reports: Global Citizenship and Digital Literacy, at NorthStarReports.org and facebook.com/NorthStarReports

anamaria-food-1

Most of us have fond memories of our childhood. Growing up, few things sticks to us as strong as food did. Whether it was your mom’s homemade key lime pie, or a gross mixture you did not even know what was in it, food has always been key to transporting and evolving our senses in time. Growing up in Colombia I was exposed to, of course, the typical Colombian food. It was later on when I started trying different foods. Clearly, it has been a process of getting to know what you like and what you do not. Nevertheless, what I think is the most amazing thing about food is all that it implies.

I personally think food itself is a whole culture onto itself.

Everything revolves around food. It is amazing to see how food reflects a whole geographical, historical and cultural background. Latin American food, for instance, is characterized by the use of corn. There are multiple maize-based dishes all over the region, such as tortillas, tamales, tacos, pupusas, arepas, and elote asado. Precisely, this is the reflection of the historical and geographical background of the region. In this case, Latin American indigenous groups thought of corn as the greatest gift from the Gods. It was the most valued good, even more than gold.

anamaria-food-2

After traveling outside my country, I have noticed how the culture around food changes dramatically depending on the region. Even in the same country, food is significantly different depending on the geography. In Colombia, for instance, breakfast is an important meal. However, there’s plenty of options to choose from. In the central zone, the traditional breakfast is called “changua”. This is basically a milk soup with eggs. I know, it sounds interesting. This dish comes from one of Colombia’s indigenous groups: the Muisca people. In this region you can also find tamales, which are usually eaten for breakfast on Sundays; and “almojábana” with hot chocolate. Here, it is important to clarify that Latin American hot chocolate is completely different to American hot chocolate, which was one of my biggest food-frustrations when I first moved to the U.S. If you go to the “Eje Cafetero” you will find different breakfasts. One of them is the typical “calentao”, which literally means “heated”. This is usually the night before’s leftovers, reheated and mixed. There’s also the “arepa paisa”, which is a flatbread made of cooked corn flour, and commonly is served with toppings such as butter, cheese, scrambled eggs or meat. In the Colombian coast, clearly, the food is different. The Caribbean region breakfasts include “arepa de huevo”, which is a deep fried arepa made from yellow corn dough with an egg inside that is cooked by the frying process. It is also common for people to have fried plantain with cheese for breakfast. The list could go on, but I think I’ve proven my point.

anamaria-food-3

This is how, during my European adventure, I decided to look deeper into its food culture.

Firstly, breakfast is smaller. From what I was able to experience in London, Paris, Barcelona, Frankfurt, Munich, Santorini and Athens, it is more customary to eat smaller meals for breakfast. It was interesting to see that probably the biggest breakfast I found was in London, which was pretty similar to the typical American breakfast. Once again, I was able to make the connection to the historical background and relationship between the United Kingdom and the United States. Other than that, most people tend to have either a biscuit, croissant or toast, accompanied by coffee, tea or hot chocolate.

anamaria-food-4

Putting this in perspective, I was able to confirm that American portions are indeed bigger than average. When I came to the United States, the only thing I could compare them with was with Latin American portions, which are indeed bigger than European, but way smaller than American.

Secondly, ingredients are different. Yes, this seems like a logical statement. Nonetheless, it is impressive to see the actual difference between the ingredients used in every place. The freshness and the way food is prepared absolutely changes the way people enjoy food. Pizza is the perfect example for this. European pizza is, in general, served individually, characterized by its thin crust, simple ingredients, sauces made from scratch and a not as cheesy/greasy consistency. On the other hand, American pizza is, in general, thick -even stuffed- crust, extra cheesy, and made from frozen dough. Both of them are delicious, but they are not the same in any way. It is not a surprise for anyone that American pizza is considered to be fast food. European pizza is not. Again, this reflects the culture.

anamaria-food-5

Thirdly, it caught my attention the way in which meals are distributed. For instance, in Latin America, breakfast tends to be significant, lunch tends to be the biggest meal in the day, and dinner tends to be lighter. This is not the case in the U.S.. From my experience, I have seen that breakfast is usually significant, lunch lighter, and dinner tends to be the biggest meal of the day. Along this, there is a lot of snacking in the United States. Snacks are a huge part of the market and of every day’s routine. This is not the case in Europe. Farmer’s markets are much more common in Europe and Latin America than in the U.S.. Clearly, this makes a difference at the time of analyzing the different food cultures.

There is no doubt that depending on the country, city, or even region, food will be different. Most importantly, food will reflect the differences between the cultures. After traveling around different cities, different countries and different continents, one of the biggest lessons I learned is to simply go out there and eat the world!

Ana Maria serves as an editor for The North Star Reports.

Please contact Professor Liang if you wish to write for The North Star Reports — HLIANG (at) css.edu

See also, our Facebook page with curated news articles at http://www.facebook.com/NorthStarReports

The North Star Reports: Global Citizenship and Digital Literacy (http://NorthStarReports.org) is a student edited and student authored open access publication centered around the themes of global and historical connections. Our abiding philosophy is that those of us who are fortunate enough to receive an education and to travel our planet are ethically bound to share our knowledge with those who cannot afford to do so. Therefore, creating virtual and actual communities of learning between college and K-12 classes are integral to our mission. In three years we have published over 250 articles covering all habitable continents and a variety of topics ranging from history and politics, food and popular culture, to global inequities to complex identities. These articles are read by K-12 and college students. Our student editors and writers come from all parts of the campus, from Nursing to Biology, Physical Therapy to Business, and remarkably, many of our student editors and writers have long graduated from college. We also have writers and editors from other colleges and universities. In addition to our main site, we also curate a Facebook page dedicated to annotated news articles selected by our student editors (http://www.facebook.com/NorthStarReports). This is done by an all volunteer staff. We have a frugal cash budget, and we donate much of our time and talent to this project. The North Star Reports is sponsored and published by Professor Hong-Ming Liang, NSR Student Editors and Writers, The Department of History and Politics of The College of St. Scholastica, and the scholarly Middle Ground Journal. For a brief summary, please see the American Historical Association’s Perspectives on History, at: http://www.historians.org/perspectives/issues/2013/1305/Opening-The-Middle-Ground-Journal.cfm

Hong-Ming Liang, Ph.D., Editor-in-Chief and Publisher, The North Star Reports; Chief Editor, The Middle Ground Journal; Associate Professor of History and Politics, The College of St. Scholastica. Kathryn Marquis Hirsch, Managing Editor, The North Star Reports.

(c) 2012-present The North Star Reports: Global Citizenship and Digital Literacy http://NorthStarReports.org ISSN: 2377-908X The NSR is sponsored and published by Professor Hong-Ming Liang, NSR Student Editors and Writers, with generous support from The Department of History and Politics of The College of St. Scholastica, and the scholarly Middle Ground Journal. See Masthead for our not-for-profit educational open- access policy. K-12 teachers, if you are using these reports for your classes, please contact editor-in-chief Professor Liang at HLIANG (at) css.edu

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Filed under Ana Maria Camelo Vega, North Star Student Editors, Professor Hong-Ming Liang