Tag Archives: student interns

The North Star Project, Summer Report Number Nine, Northern Ireland — Culture Shock, By Megan Hennen Northern Ireland Report #2

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The North Star Project, Summer Report Number Nine, Northern Ireland — Culture Shock, By Megan Hennen Northern Ireland Report #2

Having been abroad for about a week and a half, I still hadn’t encountered much culture shock due to our intensive learning on the history and politics of Northern Ireland. It wasn’t until we got out of the classroom for two ‘orientation’ field trips. These field trips were taken in the last week of classes before our group was to split in half and divide between two major cities of the tiny country for the internship segment of the program. It was during these field trips that the culture shock had finally arrived.

Our first field trip was to the city of Derry/Londonderry, home to a significant event of the Troubles, Bloody Sunday. Derry (as the Irish Catholics would refer to the city) is home to a predominantly Catholic Republican population, however, there are certain parts of town that are especially Catholic Republican, one of them being the Bogside (the part of town where Bloody Sunday took place). In the Bog you would find a plethora of Irish Tricolor flags, Irish Republican Army (a revolutionary military organization commonly called the IRA) graffiti and more importantly some of the infamous political murals. Then we went to another side of town called the Fountain Estate.

The Fountain is the miniscule Protestant neighborhood on the city side of the town they’d call Londonderry. Here you’d find the red, white, and blue of the Union Jack on all corners of the wall surrounding this Protestant community. This wall was the most shocking thing I had seen. We had learned about them in class, but there’s nothing like seeing it for yourself. These walls (called ‘peace lines’) had been constructed as a means of protection. Because there’s such a small Protestant population, they have been the targets of Republican violence (paint bombs, petrol bombs, shootings, etc.). Although the Fountain doesn’t see nearly as much violence today, the Protestant community does not yet feel safe enough to have them torn down. How’s that for culture shock?

[Images] TOP LEFT: Peace line with the Fountain to the left of wall BOTTOM LEFT: Union Jack painted on garage signifying British pride MIDDLE: Bloody Sunday mural in the Bogside RIGHT: Tricolor on top of a light post and IRA graffiti in the Bog
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For all of the North Star Project 2013-2014 Reports, see https://mgjnorthstarproject.wordpress.com/
For all of the North Star Project 2013 Summer Reports, see http://www2.css.edu/app/depts/HIS/historyjournal/index.cfm?cat=10

The North Star Project 2013-2014 School Year Reports: The Middle Ground Journal’s collaborative outreach program with K-12 classes around the world. We acknowledge North Star Academy of Duluth, Minnesota as our inaugural partner school, and the flagship of our K-12 outreach program. We also welcome Duluth East High School, Dodge Middle School and other schools around the world to the North Star Project. The North Star Project has flourished since 2012. For a brief summary, please see recent articles in the American Historical Association’s Perspectives on History, at:

http://www.historians.org/perspectives/issues/2013/1305/Opening-The-Middle-Ground-Journal.cfm

https://www.historians.org/publications-and-directories/perspectives-on-history/january-2014/embracing-oa-universities-adopt-open-access-policies-for-faculty-journal-publications

The Middle Ground Journal will share brief dispatches from our North Star Project student interns, particularly from those who are currently stationed, or will soon be stationed abroad. We have confirmed student interns who will be reporting from Mongolia, Southern China, Shanghai, northeastern China, The Netherlands, Tanzania, Ireland, England, Finland, Russia, and Haiti. We also have students developing presentations on theatrical representations of historical trauma, historical memory, the price individuals pay during tragic global conflicts, and different perceptions of current events from around the world. We will post their dispatches here, and report on their interactions with the North Star Project students and teachers.

Hong-Ming Liang, Chief Editor, The Middle Ground Journal, The College of St. Scholastica, Duluth, MN, USA

(c) 2013-present The Middle Ground Journal. See Submission Guidelines page for the journal’s not-for-profit educational open-access policy.

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The North Star Project, Summer Report Number Five, Northern Ireland By Megan Hennen Northern Ireland Report #1

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The North Star Project, Summer Report Number Five, Northern Ireland By Megan Hennen Northern Ireland Report #1

First and foremost, it’s important to understand that the island of Ireland is not a single country. The island is divided into two parts, the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland.
There’s a long and confusing history riddled in conflict between the Irish and the British Crown that eventually led to the Government of Ireland Act of 1920 resulting in the Partition of Ireland meaning Ireland became a free state aside from the Irish province of Ulster (Northern Ireland) which would remain in a union with the UK and thus forming the border dividing the island. The decision for Ulster to remain united with England ultimately came about by its population, which had been for the most part comprised of British and Scottish protestant settlers who did not wish to separate UK.

Although more people in Northern Ireland view themselves as British and wish to remain in a union with the UK, there are nearly just as many people who identify as being Irish and who’d like for nothing more to form a unified Ireland separate from British rule. These conflicting desires within NI have been the foundation of decades of violence, which the people of Northern Ireland often refer to as ‘the Troubles’. My semester abroad was focused on these violent times and what’s currently being done to propel to peace process forward, as well.

Located in Derry/Londonderry Northern Ireland, this monument is representative of the peace process, the people of Ulster ‘reaching across the divide’ and moving past differences.
———-
For all of the North Star Project 2013-2014 Reports, see https://mgjnorthstarproject.wordpress.com/
For all of the North Star Project 2013 Summer Reports, see http://www2.css.edu/app/depts/HIS/historyjournal/index.cfm?cat=10

The North Star Project 2013-2014 School Year Reports: The Middle Ground Journal’s collaborative outreach program with K-12 classes around the world. We acknowledge North Star Academy of Duluth, Minnesota as our inaugural partner school, and the flagship of our K-12 outreach program. We also welcome Duluth East High School, Dodge Middle School and other schools around the world to the North Star Project. The North Star Project has flourished since 2012. For a brief summary, please see recent articles in the American Historical Association’s Perspectives on History, at:

http://www.historians.org/perspectives/issues/2013/1305/Opening-The-Middle-Ground-Journal.cfm

https://www.historians.org/publications-and-directories/perspectives-on-history/january-2014/embracing-oa-universities-adopt-open-access-policies-for-faculty-journal-publications

The Middle Ground Journal will share brief dispatches from our North Star Project student interns, particularly from those who are currently stationed, or will soon be stationed abroad. We have confirmed student interns who will be reporting from Mongolia, Southern China, Shanghai, northeastern China, The Netherlands, Tanzania, Ireland, England, Finland, Russia, and Haiti. We also have students developing presentations on theatrical representations of historical trauma, historical memory, the price individuals pay during tragic global conflicts, and different perceptions of current events from around the world. We will post their dispatches here, and report on their interactions with the North Star Project students and teachers.

Hong-Ming Liang, Chief Editor, The Middle Ground Journal, The College of St. Scholastica, Duluth, MN, USA

(c) 2013-present The Middle Ground Journal. See Submission Guidelines page for the journal’s not-for-profit educational open-access policy.

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The North Star Project, Summer Report Number Three, Tianjin, China, Tianjin Update 2: Oreos and ‘ao-li-ao’; Food in Tianjin

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The North Star Project, Summer Report Number Three, Tianjin, China, Tianjin Update 2: Oreos and ‘ao-li-ao’; Food in Tianjin

Walking down the aisle in the local grocery store, Vanguard, is one of the most comforting things to do. I can’t read most of the product names around me, or fully comprehend what the cashier is saying, but as soon as I walk down the aisles I feel completely at ease with the routine familiarity of grocery shopping. In a city as big as Tianjin, one of the largest in China by population, there are only a few English signs here and there. Very few people I talk with in stores and on the street speak English which is helpful because it gives me more opportunities to practice my Chinese. I find it incredible how easy it is to recognize familiar American brands simply by the advertisement’s design such as Dove Chocolate, Chips Ahoy!, and Oreos–to name just a few. While these are what we might think of as American treats, there’s also something slightly different about the products. For example, in Vanguard there is half an aisle dedicated to Oreos (pronounced Ao-Li-Ao). There had to be more than a dozen flavors! Perhaps I never paid as much attention to the Oreo selection back in America, but I don’t believe there were such flavors as green tea ice cream or mango-orange. I just bought a pack of the green tea ice cream Oreos and I’ve got to admit, they’re delicious.

China has a large number of fast-food chains that have started in the U.S.A. and have since spread internationally. McDonald’s, Subway, KFC, and Pizza Hut are common fast-food restaurants in China that I can confidently say most Americans would recognize. Still, as with the Oreos, there are slight differences that allow the products to be more appealing to local consumers. I know for a fact that the McDonald’s back home doesn’t have a red bean pastry on the menu. The prices for the food served at McDonald’s are the equivalent price to the McDonald’s in America, but surprisingly, this dissuades me from eating there because McDonald’s prices are expensive relative to most other restaurants in the area. For a good solid dinner in Tianjin, I usually spend the equivalent of about $2. Spending $5 on a meal at McDonald’s might be one of the cheapest options for dining out at home, but in Tianjin, with quality food more accessible and far cheaper, I rarely eat at McDonald’s.

This past Tuesday, I went on a mini adventure to a fancy hot-pot restaurant with some friends. First, the seven of us were seated at a semi-circle booth. A waitress, dedicated solely to our table, handed us damp warm wash cloths to wipe our hands. I was wearing my glasses that day, so she handed me a cloth to wipe my glasses with that was printed with the name of the restaurant. We ordered various meats, such as lamb, beef, and eel, along with a multitude of vegetables. The waitress put hot broth in a pot that was set into the table. Using our chopsticks we plopped the food into the boiling broth to cook, and once it was ready, we used our chopsticks to take it out to eat. Our waitress was very attentive, never leaving the side of our table, and I ate so much delicious food that I skipped breakfast the next morning. Not to dwell too heavily on the prices of food in China, but for this dining experience I was shocked that I paid only about the equivalent of $10 once we split the bill. What shocks me most about dining in China is the affordable price and the fantastic quality of the food. It’s cheap, delicious, and a new experience every time.

*Erin received a reader’s question re: architecture after her first report:

Thanks for reading! As Tianjin modernizes and grows in population, the buildings under construction are skyscrapers, towering over everything downtown (I’ll make sure to post a picture at some point) with the apparent purpose to house as many people as possible. It’s efficiency over creative architecture, which makes it a treat to drive through the concessions that hold a bit of architecture from their respective countries with strong European influence. Unfortunately, I know very little about the technical side and terms of architecture–I’m just a big fan. From the bus, as I passed the Italian and Austria-Hungary concessions, I saw pillars stretching from the ground to the overhanging roof, extravagant stairs that fan out to the street, rounded roofs, tall rounded doorways, and great stone balconies. I appreciate that Tianjin has kept the beautiful architecture of the concessions in tact. I hope that as China grows from a developing country to a developed country, it will rediscover creative expression in its architecture. Of course, I understand the importance of efficiency when space is limited.
———-
For all of the North Star Project 2013-2014 Reports, see https://mgjnorthstarproject.wordpress.com/
For all of the North Star Project 2013 Summer Reports, see http://www2.css.edu/app/depts/HIS/historyjournal/index.cfm?cat=10

The North Star Project 2013-2014 School Year Reports: The Middle Ground Journal’s collaborative outreach program with K-12 classes around the world. We acknowledge North Star Academy of Duluth, Minnesota as our inaugural partner school, and the flagship of our K-12 outreach program. We also welcome Duluth East High School, Dodge Middle School and other schools around the world to the North Star Project. The North Star Project has flourished since 2012. For a brief summary, please see recent articles in the American Historical Association’s Perspectives on History, at:

http://www.historians.org/perspectives/issues/2013/1305/Opening-The-Middle-Ground-Journal.cfm

https://www.historians.org/publications-and-directories/perspectives-on-history/january-2014/embracing-oa-universities-adopt-open-access-policies-for-faculty-journal-publications

The Middle Ground Journal will share brief dispatches from our North Star Project student interns, particularly from those who are currently stationed, or will soon be stationed abroad. We have confirmed student interns who will be reporting from Mongolia, Southern China, Shanghai, northeastern China, The Netherlands, Tanzania, Ireland, England, Finland, Russia, and Haiti. We also have students developing presentations on theatrical representations of historical trauma, historical memory, the price individuals pay during tragic global conflicts, and different perceptions of current events from around the world. We will post their dispatches here, and report on their interactions with the North Star Project students and teachers.

Hong-Ming Liang, Chief Editor, The Middle Ground Journal, The College of St. Scholastica, Duluth, MN, USA

(c) 2013-present The Middle Ground Journal. See Submission Guidelines page for the journal’s not-for-profit educational open-access policy.

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The North Star Project, 2013 Summer Report Number Two, St. Petersburg, Russia

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The North Star Project, 2013 Summer Report Number Two, St. Petersburg, Russia

By Marin Ekstrom St.Petersburg: Week #1

I arrived in St. Petersburg around 11:00 at night, and instantly felt transported into a surreal land. The bright duskiness of the White Nights had me thinking that it was 7:00 (as if a flight ever arrives early), and I was astonished by the jarring mixture of breathtakingly beautiful monuments, decrepit Soviet apartments, and modern commercial enterprises vaguely reminiscent of Las Vegas. However, the following day our study abroad program orientated us throughout the city, showing us the major landmarks like the Church of the Spilled Blood, St. Isaac’s Cathedral, the Bronze Horseman, and the Hotel Astoria. Through this journey I became enchanted with the history and magic of St. Petersburg, a city that began as a Swedish backwater and transformed into the Euro-tinged cultural capital of Russia.

Through these walking tours of the city, I have been able to experiencing the culture. On the culinary end, I have discovered Teremok, the blini-centric “Russian McDonalds” that serves such heavenly creations as blinis with sweetened condensed milk, and already know that I will miss it back in the States. I also love the various dairy products available in Russia (Dutch cheese, kefir, and tvorog, Russian cottage cheese) and the variety of fruit juices (that are strangely unrefrigerated). As for the people, many seem to be quite serious, based on the lack of smiles, the vast amount of book and Kindle readers on the metro, and the blunt, curt attitudes of the checkout cashiers-. Some of these factors have clashed with my own tendency for Minnesota niceness- I even had a professor that went on a bit of a rant because I used “please” and “thank you” too much! However, I’ve also noticed that once you get to sit down and talk with a Russian, they are kind and caring, and make for pleasant conversation- which I think describes all humanity, no matter what nationality.

In addition to my “play” of exploring the city, I also “work” by study the Russian language at St. Petersburg State University, designated as a slushatel, or listener. I have one class per day, three hours straight (though there is a ten minute break at the halfway mark) that focus on grammar, conversation, and reading. Classes are conducted solely in Russian, which is both intimidating and exhilarating in this immersive experience.

All in all, I hope that the combination of formal study and life experience will help me to further unravel what Winston Churchill deemed “the riddle wrapped up in an enigma” that is Russia.
———-
For all of the North Star Project 2013-2014 Reports, see https://mgjnorthstarproject.wordpress.com/
For all of the North Star Project 2013 Summer Reports, see http://www2.css.edu/app/depts/HIS/historyjournal/index.cfm?cat=10

The North Star Project 2013-2014 School Year Reports: The Middle Ground Journal’s collaborative outreach program with K-12 classes around the world. We gratefully acknowledge North Star Academy of Duluth, Minnesota as our inaugural partner school, and the flagship of our K-12 outreach program. We also warmly welcome Duluth East High School and Dodge Middle School to the North Star Project. The North Star Project has flourished for two years. For a brief summary, please see a recent article in the American Historical Association’s Perspectives on History, at:

http://www.historians.org/perspectives/issues/2013/1305/Opening-The-Middle-Ground-Journal.cfm

https://www.historians.org/publications-and-directories/perspectives-on-history/january-2014/embracing-oa-universities-adopt-open-access-policies-for-faculty-journal-publications

The Middle Ground Journal will share brief dispatches from our North Star Project student interns, particularly from those who are currently stationed, or will soon be stationed abroad. As of the time of this report we have confirmed student interns who will be reporting from Mongolia, Southern China, Shanghai, northeastern China, The Netherlands, Tanzania, Ireland, England, Finland, Russia, and Haiti. We also have students developing presentations on theatrical representations of historical trauma, historical memory, the price individuals pay during tragic global conflicts, and different perceptions of current events from around the world. We will post their brief dispatches here, and report on their interactions with the North Star students and teachers throughout the school year.

Hong-Ming Liang, Chief Editor, The Middle Ground Journal, The College of St. Scholastica, Duluth, MN, USA

(c) 2013-present The Middle Ground Journal See Submission Guidelines page for the journal’s not-for-profit educational open-access policy.

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The North Star Project, Summer Report Number One, Tianjin, China

The North Star Project, Summer Report Number One, Tianjin, China By Erin Monroe Update 1: First impressions

erin1

This past Sunday, on my second day in Tianjin, the program I am in provided a city tour. Much of it involved passing “concessions”, or areas of the city that the Chinese government ceded to various countries. Our bus passed the former Italian, German, Austria-Hungary, and Belgium concessions. Of course, by now, all of these countries have since relinquished their power to the Chinese government. Still, it was interesting to see blocks of buildings that follow a completely different architectural blueprint that the surrounding buildings in Tianjin.

I am studying and learning Chinese at a rapid pace. While I attend class with other Americans from my university at home, all my teachers and teaching assistants are Tianjin natives. This is incredibly helpful for navigating Tianjin and adapting to Chinese culture. For example, eating in a restaurant is a slightly different experience than in America. When my classmates and I enter into a restaurant, we are seated by the server and given one menu for the table. The server then waits at the table for us to order. Most of the restaurants have family-style dining–the table orders several dishes and shares them. Personally, I prefer this method of dining as it gives me the opportunity to try a variety of dishes. While I understand enough Chinese to get by, I am still unable to fully understand the menu, but pointing to dishes on the menu has proved to be effective. To my delight, the food is very cheap. I don’t think I’ve spent more than the equivalent of five dollars on any meal. Yesterday I bought a full breakfast of “bao zi”–dumplings with a doughy shell– for two yuan, or about thirty two cents. Although I have only been in China for a short time, one week so far, everything I’ve eaten has been delicious.

The noises in Tianjin are fascinating. The honking on the streets, the music playing from restaurants, the cars driving during rush hour traffic paired with birds I’ve never heard before creates a bustling atmosphere. What I find most surprising is the fireworks I hear multiple times a day. This morning I heard fireworks at seven o’clock. The other day fireworks exploded in the sky above a busy street right in the middle of the afternoon. Fireworks, I learned, are a common means of celebration. Fireworks are not simply used for holidays as in America, but also for weddings, birthdays and various other celebrations. In the mornings I have a class in a building near the hotel I live in. After about an hour into my first class on Monday, I hear a short piece of Chinese traditional music play–perhaps the equivalent of a “jingle”. I was told it is called “mo li hua” and signifies when a class ends and a class begins (the equivalent of a bell or buzzer in America). It is a much more pleasant way to end class than a sharp buzzer. The sounds of Tianjin tell me that I am in a completely new world that’s a great distance from Northern Minnesota.

———-
For all of the North Star Project 2013-2014 Reports, see https://mgjnorthstarproject.wordpress.com/
For all of the North Star Project 2013 Summer Reports, see http://www2.css.edu/app/depts/HIS/historyjournal/index.cfm?cat=10

The North Star Project 2013-2014 School Year Reports: The Middle Ground Journal’s collaborative outreach program with K-12 classes around the world. We gratefully acknowledge North Star Academy of Duluth, Minnesota as our inaugural partner school, and the flagship of our K-12 outreach program. We also warmly welcome Duluth East High School and Dodge Middle School to the North Star Project. The North Star Project has flourished for two years. For a brief summary, please see a recent article in the American Historical Association’s Perspectives on History, at:

http://www.historians.org/perspectives/issues/2013/1305/Opening-The-Middle-Ground-Journal.cfm

https://www.historians.org/publications-and-directories/perspectives-on-history/january-2014/embracing-oa-universities-adopt-open-access-policies-for-faculty-journal-publications

The Middle Ground Journal will share brief dispatches from our North Star Project student interns, particularly from those who are currently stationed, or will soon be stationed abroad. As of the time of this report we have confirmed student interns who will be reporting from Mongolia, Southern China, Shanghai, northeastern China, The Netherlands, Tanzania, Ireland, England, Finland, Russia, and Haiti. We also have students developing presentations on theatrical representations of historical trauma, historical memory, the price individuals pay during tragic global conflicts, and different perceptions of current events from around the world. We will post their brief dispatches here, and report on their interactions with the North Star students and teachers throughout the school year.

Hong-Ming Liang, Chief Editor, The Middle Ground Journal, The College of St. Scholastica, Duluth, MN, USA

(c) 2013-present, The Middle Ground Journal See Submission Guidelines page for the journal’s not-for-profit educational open-access policy.

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