Tag Archives: United Kingdom

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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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

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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

Seek Not Afar for Beauty – by Jemma Provance. The North Star Reports: Global Citizenship and Digital Literacy, at NorthStarReports.org and facebook.com/NorthStarReports

Seek Not Afar for Beauty – by Jemma Provance. The North Star Reports: Global Citizenship and Digital Literacy, at NorthStarReports.org and facebook.com/NorthStarReports

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I have a deep appreciation for all things lovely. That being said, it pained me growing up that all the prettiest things in town were the Styrofoam facades on the front of the hardware stores. Plural.

In former summers, I was free to take road trips to prettier parts of the state, travel to Stillwater with touring choirs, and go absolutely anywhere that was nicer than Roseau, Minnesota. This included travel blogs that seeped wanderlust into my bloodstream with every clicked picture of towering redwoods and misty mountains and a whole host of things nowhere near my lonely little hometown.

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Finally, when I was seventeen left the continent to see my first mountains in Britain and Ireland. My little soul, reared in a flyover state landlocked by cornfields ten miles south of the Canadian border, was enthralled with the unfailingly lovely Old World, that even in the middle of town refused to lie flat, spilling its vegetation onto stone walls and overflowing iron gates and thatched roofs with flowering plants. Cobbled little towns were full of cathedrals built before minimalism overtook our increasingly industrial species. Rolling mountainsides full of sheep and heather seared themselves into the backs of my eyelids, and bits of my heart fell like breadcrumbs the farther the return plane got from the Emerald Isle.

I realize, now, how farsighted this was. John Green, one of my favorite writers and people, was once showing his two-year-old son the way way a fog shrouded a valley in mist, cozying into the trees like a pearly flood in the early morning light. A two-year-old was much more interested in a nearby leaf. While initially frustrated, he looked down and realized all the little fractaled veins in the autumn leaf that had fallen mid-change so it was now a perfect fade from bright orange to a dull green. The level of beauty one experiences, even one from a little gas-station town like mine, lies not with how far you travel, but how closely you look.

Now, when I drive through town, I see the little nooks that previously escaped my notice. Our neighborhood coffee and brunch place is cute. We have many a wooded park. The local greenhouse sells clocks and wind chimes and all the fixings of an old-world-esque garden. Not only all this, but my own yard is a secluded wonderland of wooded nooks and tiny fractals that previously escaped my notice. The inside of my house, at certain times of the day, was filled with a golden light that, impossibly, made the darkest corners glow with a knowing satisfaction.

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I still would rather be most other places than Roseau. I’m still an aspiring world traveler with a growing list of cathedrals to see and mountains to hike. But when an exhausting job keeps my summer skin shackled to this scrappy bit of real estate, leaving the travel blogs at home and exploring your own yard, I find, is an acceptable substitute. Go not abroad for happiness, for see a flow’r at thy door.

Jemma 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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Europe – Five countries, Three weeks – by Ana Maria Camelo Vega. The North Star Reports: Global Citizenship and Digital Literacy, at NorthStarReports.org and facebook.com/NorthStarReports

Europe – Five countries, Three weeks – by Ana Maria Camelo Vega. The North Star Reports: Global Citizenship and Digital Literacy, at NorthStarReports.org and facebook.com/NorthStarReports

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Travel. Travel a lot.

Before living in the United States, I had the idea of a certain reality that merely involved my culture. It meant driving a car for a couple of hours to experience a completely different climate, music and infrastructure. It meant enjoying delicious foods, without necessarily trying new things. It meant not worrying about how to greet people. It meant being in my comfort zone.

Little did I know how far from reality I was.

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Living in an interconnected world as we do today means more than living all your life in your comfort zone. Reality requires stepping out from there. And that’s what I did. It is not new for anyone to know that Duluth, Minnesota might be a little bit different from Bogota, Colombia. Yet, I wanted more. I wanted to see more. I wanted to truly experience my surroundings. The travel bug had hit me. This is why I decided to travel solo.

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Something I had never done before, in a place I had never been before, with people I did not know at all. I booked my trip to Europe without thinking much about it, just pushed by the desire of experiencing something different. It was only until the moment I stepped out of the plane that I truly realized I was actually going by myself to the other side of the world for the first time.

I was able to step in in five different countries, which meant experiencing five different cultures in just three weeks. If something is true is that three weeks are not enough time. Cultures are infinite and constantly evolving. This is what makes it so hard to truly get to know a certain culture, as time will always be limited. I tried to make the most out of my time in Europe. London, Paris, Barcelona, Sitges, Frankfurt, Munich, Santorini and Athens. Every city, every landscape, every single second had its own magic. It is impossible to say I did not experience any sort of culture shock. I was, indeed, homesick.

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London is a magnificent city. I was not expecting much about this city, so I was gratefully surprised by it. Its architecture and urban organization are impressive. I tried to bike around the city one day, and almost got hit multiple times because I was used to driving on the right side of the road. Even though there were multiple differences, I was able to recognize the historic connection between the United Kingdom and the United States. From the most simple thing, the language; going through their food, their costumes and their organization: I was able to see the roots of the culture I have been exposed to in the last couple of years.

As a kid, I always dreamed about going to Paris. I remember watching movies, reading books, and listening songs about the charms of Paris. Paris is internationally portrayed as the romantic city. This was not my first impression, not at all. I got to Paris on a grey, rainy Thursday. As the bus was driving around the city, I remember thinking: is this it? Here, I was able to realize once again that media is always changing reality. It is very easy to forget this. Nonetheless, being able to explore this city was a dream come true. I tried foods I never thought I would, such as frog legs and snails. The music, the environment, the architecture and all the gastronomy made it an unforgettable experience. I was able to visit Versailles, which opened my eyes to the historic part of our world. Being able to see how people lived hundreds of years ago was a marvelous experience, and made me realize how important it is for humanity to understand where we come from; which ultimately explains why we act the way we do nowadays. On the other side, visiting the catacombs was eye-opening. There is so much to learn, so much to understand.

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Barcelona. Just the city’s name makes you feel its magic. Barcelona was a very interesting experience due to multiple reasons. First off, even though it is located in Spain, their main language is Catalan. This made me feel weird when speaking Spanish, as I knew native people did not like it. Barcelona’s atmosphere is indescribable. I fell in love with the city’s weather, people, architecture, gastronomy, landscapes and music. For the couple of days I was able to be there, I was amazed by every single detail. Paella, sangria and gelato made long days of walking definitely worth it.

Germany is one of the most (if not the most) organized countries I know. Everything is practical and planned accordingly to the needs of the people. From visiting Munich and Frankfurt, I was able to see the huge German culture around beer. Yes, I knew about some of it before getting there. Yet, I had no clue of how important it actually is. Beer is probably the cheapest and most bought good in the market. The thing about this, is that it is high quality beer. By this time of the trip, I was already homesick. I had too much to digest in such few days, I was certainly overwhelmed by everything. Not only this. I wasn’t able to communicate in Germany. I had never felt this way in my whole life. Even in France, I was able to communicate with my basic French skills. It was a different story in Germany, as I felt truly frustrated by not being able to ask for a bottle of water. However, I was gratefully amazed about German lifestyle.

I think one of the places people should definitely visit is Greece. Greece was the birth of our civilization in multiple ways. Philosophers, mathematicians, astronomers and doctors were basically born there. Accordingly, I decided to extend my trip to visit Santorini and Athens. When I landed in Santorini, I was shocked. I was shocked with everything around me. Of course, again, I was expecting to see all that media shows to the world. It was not like that. Santorini is an island composed by different little towns. What I had seen in pictures was just one town, called Oia. In order to get to Oia, people need to take public buses, which go packed and sweaty all the way to Oia. Undeniably, it is one of the prettiest and breathtaking landscapes I have ever seen. Like a children’s tale scene, I was in the middle of little white and blue arched houses, with the Mediterranean Sea in front of me. It was impactful to see the way in which early civilizations used their resources to build cities in the middle of nowhere. After that calm and peace, I was able to experience the agitation and chaos of a city such as Athens. Greece’s economy is very volatile right now, which means the political environment is going in the same direction. While I was in Athens, I was able to experience a live student protest. Things that are easy to see back in Colombia happening all over the world was very imposing to my eye.

Five countries in three weeks. That’s all it took to shake my reality one more time. That’s all I needed to reconnect with myself at different levels, to get to know myself at different stages and to truly understand that there is so much out there to learn from. Life was never meant to be lived in one single place.

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

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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

Photo Essay – Reviewing London as a Tourist-Friendly City – by Rebecca Smith. The North Star Reports: Global Citizenship and Digital Literacy, at NorthStarReports.org and facebook.com/NorthStarReports

Photo Essay – Reviewing London as a Tourist-Friendly City – by Rebecca Smith. The North Star Reports: Global Citizenship and Digital Literacy, at NorthStarReports.org and facebook.com/NorthStarReports

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This summer, I took the opportunity to travel to London with a London Theatre and Literature group from St. Scholastica. Before I left, I was prepared to be floundering in a huge city, not knowing where to go or how to get there. I was ready to be incredibly reliant on the two professors that were going, prepared to follow them around like a sheep. However, once I got to London, I was surprised at how easy it was to navigate the city and how tourist-friendly everything was. London is a very large and historic city that could very easily have been impossible to find my way around, but it has made many efforts to help tourists figure out where they are and keep them safe. There was one way in particular that the history major in me adored, but for the most part, London figured out a simple and basic way to make the city tourist-friendly.

The streets of London are filled with these directions for people to look in the direction that the traffic will be coming from. London intersections can be a little difficult to navigate, as sometimes it’s necessary to make three crossings when the object is to simply get from one side of the street to the other, so these directions can be incredibly helpful for tourists – especially since most of the world drives on the right side and is used to the traffic coming from a different direction than it does in London. This is a great example of how tourist – friendly London is.

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The Tube, or Underground, is an excellent way for tourist to get around the city. Although it can be a little confusing to navigate at first, there are maps and signs telling people which tunnel to go through to get to a certain line. Everything is very clearly marked, and the employees are also very friendly and helpful. Depending on the line, an automated voice will tell you what landmarks the stop is close to. The automated voice also will announce which stop is coming up and also to “Mind the Gap”. In the morning, around lunch hour, and evening are very busy times for the Underground, so I’d recommend not using the Tube during those hours until you know exactly what you’re doing and where you’re going. The cars come every few minutes, so there generally isn’t too much of a wait. Londoners also don’t really talk on the Tube and keep to themselves, so I would recommend following that social rule. Nothing screams “tourist” more than a group of obnoxious people talking loudly on the Tube. Although it’s very unlikely that anyone would say something about it, they’re all definitely thinking it. Overall, the Tube is a very convenient and simple way for tourists to explore the city.

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Every block, there are posts like this with a map showing where you are and how long of a walk it takes to get to something in the vicinity. The map on the bottom with the larger circle shows everything within a 5 minute radius. The map on top with the smaller circle shows everything within a 15 minute radius. I came to rely strongly on these, as they were incredibly helpful and, as I mentioned before, were everywhere. These are much more easy to follow than a big map of London, or a map at a bus stop (don’t use those – you’ll get severely turned around). I was impressed that London put them up, making navigating much easier for tourists. These would be very helpful in the big cities in the United States. Although I can’t say they aren’t in any city in the U.S., I haven’t seen them in New York City, Chicago, or Minneapolis/St. Paul, but they would be very useful.

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One thing I did find challenging about navigating London’s streets were the road signs. Often, they are placed on the sides of buildings, and sometimes they were nowhere to be seen. Not only that, but oftentimes the streets would turn into different streets a block down, but the map wouldn’t account for that, leaving tourists searching for a street to turn down, only to be blocks past it, not knowing they had to turn down an street with a different name (not on the map) to arrive at the street they were looking for. However, London is such a historic city and the streets have been named the way they were for years, so although it did cause some frustration, I’d hate to see them change it.

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These were one of my favorite tourist-friendly markings. All over the city, small blue plaques can be found on buildings saying what the site used to be, or what great event happened there. The plaques are reminders of how old the city really is, and how different it used to be. As a tourist, I loved finding these because they’re a peek into London’s past and show what is important to London. I participated in a Shakespeare walking tour, and while there were some blue plaques, the guide explained that there should be many more plaques about him, but London isn’t too fond of Shakespeare (the guide was strongly biased towards the idea that Shakespeare was one of the most important people ever to live in London, however).

London had a thoughtful variety of ways to make the city tourist-friendly. I never expected it to be so easy to navigate and, because of that, I was able to more deeply immerse myself in the culture of London. Although there were a few things that caused difficulties, the city should be used as a model for cities with large numbers of tourists. I’m appreciative of the lengths that London has taken to make exploring the city simple to tourists, without creating inconveniences for the citizens. My trip to London was not what I expected it to be, but better because of the helpful markings and signs that are scattered all over the city. Out of all the cities I’ve been to, London was definitely the most tourist-friendly.

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

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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 five semesters we have published 200 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. We are sponsored by St. Scholastica’s Department of History and Politics and by the scholarly Middle Ground Journal: World History and Global Studies (http://theMiddleGroundJournal.org).

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, 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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