Tag Archives: languages

Alphabet Soup on the Steppes: Language Reform in Kazakhstan – by Marin Ekstrom. The North Star Reports: Global Citizenship and Digital Literacy, at NorthStarReports.org and facebook.com/NorthStarReports

Alphabet Soup on the Steppes: Language Reform in Kazakhstan – by Marin Ekstrom. The North Star Reports: Global Citizenship and Digital Literacy, at NorthStarReports.org and facebook.com/NorthStarReports

[Figurines representing Kazakh national dress, and Kazakh camel figurines]

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Immigration Stories – Epiphany After 22 Years – by Maria Nowak. The North Star Reports: Global Citizenship and Digital Literacy, at NorthStarReports.org and facebook.com/NorthStarReports

Immigration Stories – Epiphany After 22 Years – by Maria Nowak. The North Star Reports: Global Citizenship and Digital Literacy, at NorthStarReports.org and facebook.com/NorthStarReports

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Ecuador – Language as a Box and a Bridge – English Class – by Abigail Blonigen. The North Star Reports: Global Citizenship and Digital Literacy, at NorthStarReports.org and facebook.com/NorthStarReports

Ecuador – Language as a Box and a Bridge – English Class – by Abigail Blonigen. The North Star Reports: Global Citizenship and Digital Literacy, at NorthStarReports.org and facebook.com/NorthStarReports

[https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/8/86/Ecuador_Topography.png]

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Athens, Greece – The Universal Language – by Allison Brennhofer. The North Star Reports: Global Citizenship and Digital Literacy, at NorthStarReports.org and facebook.com/NorthStarReports

Athens, Greece – The Universal Language – by Allison Brennhofer. The North Star Reports: Global Citizenship and Digital Literacy, at NorthStarReports.org and facebook.com/NorthStarReports

Three friends and I traveled to Athens, Greece. It was an amazing trip, in my opinion. The weather was not the best but I have dreamed about visiting Greece since I was a child, so I viewed the entire trip through rose colored glasses. We saw the Acropolis and various other ruins and sites that blew me away. The sheer amount of history held in one city is astounding to me. I also grew up reading Greek myths and legends, so it was a little unreal to be able to see these temples and places dedicated to the gods and goddesses.

None of us speak Greek. However, that was never an issue. I had been a little nervous about the language barrier, but the city was incredibly easy to navigate without knowing Greek. We either walked or took the metro everywhere. All of the signs and stop names were listed in Greek and English. All of the sites that we visited, such as the Acropolis and Hadrian’s Library, had signs and plaques in English as well as Greek.

[A sign with Greek and English words]

We stayed in an Airbnb, which allowed us to stay in a residential neighborhood. It was a ten minute walk south of the Acropolis, which was a phenomenal location. Even in this less touristy location, many of the restaurants we went to had English translations on their menus. Most of the servers spoke English, which helped when we had questions about what certain foods were.

[The Old Temple at the Acropolis]

My point here is that I had not realized how we are both lucky and unlucky that so many people speak our language across the world. Lucky, because it takes a lot of the stress out of traveling to other countries. It may not sound that difficult when you live in an English speaking country, but when I was actually confronted with a few Greek people who did not speak English, it was a huge obstacle. I was frustrated at first, but at myself more than anything. I had no right to be annoyed a Greek person did not speak English. If anything, I would understand if the Greek people were annoyed at these tourists that show up and expect to be catered to. I think it is also a little unlucky that our language is so universal. It enables our laziness as a country in language proficiency. I took French from seventh grade to eleventh grade. As soon as I figured out I was going to CSS, which only carries a three year language requirement, I dropped French my senior year. While I certainly was not bad, I was not great at it. And I am the person who does not like to do things that do not come naturally to me (a great character flaw I am working on).

[In Athens, orange trees line the streets]

This casual assumption that I can travel most places around the world, at least to main cities, and find people who speak my language, is an incredibly privileged assumption. I am working on lessening my assumptions. I attempted to use my incredibly rusty French when I traveled there for Spring Break, which worked as a way to start the conversation. However, I am nowhere near good enough to carry a conversation on in French. I understand that Athens is a city that depends heavily on tourism for a source of revenue for their economy, which is a big part of why so many people speak English there. But we saw people of all nationalities visiting there at the same time as us. I highly doubt every Greek person speaks Mandarin, Russian, or Spanish, just to name a few other languages. Other tourists probably also speak English, but that just feeds back into the cycle where English is held up as the universal language. It certainly is a beneficial language to know, in a world where the United States is so a prominent player in world affairs. But with the growing number of speakers of other languages such as Spanish and Mandarin, it just struck me as incredibly selfish and self-absorbed to continue thinking English is the only language a person should know.

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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Taiwan – Spending the Summer in Taipei – by Megan Beckerich. The North Star Reports: Global Citizenship and Digital Literacy, at NorthStarReports.org and facebook.com/NorthStarReports

Taiwan – Spending the Summer in Taipei – by Megan Beckerich. The North Star Reports: Global Citizenship and Digital Literacy, at NorthStarReports.org and facebook.com/NorthStarReports

megantaiwan1

[Pictured: Jiufen, a former Japanese administered coal mining town turned tourist hot spot and inspiration for Spirited Away]

The summer of 2016 is one I won’t forget anytime soon, and not because it only just happened a few months ago. I had just graduated from Northern Kentucky University with a BA in International Studies, and I decided to study abroad one final time through my alma mater. I wanted to continue my education in Mandarin Chinese, and my solution was to study abroad in Taiwan. It was a chance to brush up my lackluster speaking and writing skills, meet new people, and take a little break after working so hard in my four years at Northern Kentucky University.

I had studied abroad once before through an exchange program offered through my university. I went to Nanzan University in Nagoya, Japan for their international summer school in 2015. Having “caught the travel bug,” as they say, I needed to go abroad again, and I found out I could go to a partner school the summer after I gradate. Thus, I applied to National Chengchi University in Taipei, Taiwan. I was accepted into their 8-week summer school, and I had the option to enroll in additional classes besides the necessary Mandarin class. I decided to take a Philosophy class that discussed I-Ching (an ancient book that used for fortune telling and discussed the basis of the universe), Confucianism, and Daoism. That class was only three days a week for two weeks, as opposed to the Mandarin class five days a week for the entire 8 weeks. I stayed in the international student’s dorm, and became close with students from Australia, England, and everywhere in between. With two of my three goals checked off, that left goal three: the fun times. Taipei is stuffed with museums, parks, a zoo (a convenient 15 minute walk from my dorm), shops, restaurants, and for those willing to go a little bit out of the city limit: impressive nature parks and historical sites.

Making your way around Taipei is quite easy thanks to the glorious public transportation. Our school generously provided us transit cards (aptly named the “easy card”), making it easier to travel by bus or train. Because classes dominated our afternoons everyday, my classmates and I would do most of our sightseeing over the weekend, or in the evening. Sunset is when the night markets would open, and almost every other night was spent exploring a market for bargains (clothes, phone accessories, jewelry, tableware; if you can think of something you want for cheap, odds are they had it) and delicious food.

megantaiwan2

[Noodles with a tea egg (egg hard-boiled in tea)]

Oh the food! In a lot of travel guides you will see people rave about Taiwanese food. As well they should, the food and drink in Taiwan is amazing. Noodles, egg pancakes, shaved ice… Just about anything you could want, you can find. That is not to omit the drinks in Taiwan. Bubble tea, rapidly gaining popularity in America and Europe originated in Taiwan, and boy does it show. One can hardly walk a block without spotting a bubble tea shop, and most stores offer a wide variety of flavors. If you don’t find bubble tea appealing, you can just as easily find milk tea and fruit tea if you want something cold, or traditional Oolong, black, green, or white tea if you want something hot. It’s familiar and different, a great reminder of the globalized world we live in.

megantaiwan3

[Lychee shaved ice (notice the jelly on top!)]

Having returned from Taiwan, I miss being in an active learning environment, and exploring new places (and the food if that wasn’t obvious). However, because of this experience I gained a new level of self-confidence in not just my language acquisition, but also in my personal leadership skills. I don’t know what the immediate future has in store for me, but I’m ready to embrace whatever comes.

Megan Beckerich is a student at Northern Kentucky University

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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