When I made the decision to come to Thailand I never thought about the implications of my identity as a white student from an affluent and prestigious school. This particular identity is something I reflect on consistently because of my studies in social justice. But since coming to Thailand, everything I thought I knew has changed. I fell into the “White Savior” trap. ...continue reading "White Savior Complex & Stuff"
Oh how I Thailand. In Thailand you never feel unwelcome. The whole country is your community. But I live in Issan (the NE of Thailand). Issan is known for being the most impoverished, but also the friendliest. I attend Khon Kaen University in Khon Kaen, in the province of Khon Kaen. ...continue reading "Creating Community"
Hello again my fellow American,
This week was incredibly weird. My study abroad crew traveled to Paraguay to tackle the third unit of our development class, and I was shocked at what being an American means in Paraguay.
This week I spoke with Paraguayan citizens, learned from Paraguayan professors, and visited memorial sites such as Los Archivos del Terror (The Archives of Terror) and El Museo de las Memorias (The Museum of Memories). I learned that from 1954 to 1989, Paraguay was ruled by a brutal military dictatorship. For 35 years, General Alfredo Stroessner acted as “president” during which time his policies intentionally left the people of Paraguay destitute and disappeared countless others. He ruled the country in a “state of siege” so as to control the communist thought and other “dangers” in the country. In reality, the “communist thought” in Paraguay was not a threat serious enough to warrant his government’s grossly cruel actions.
Dear fellow American,
You may be told to travel, in order to make the most of your life while you’re still young and have the ‘time’ to do so.
You may be told to study a language, so that you can improve your chances of landing a well-paying job in the future.
You may be part of a study abroad program, with the purpose of gaining a worldly perspective and improving the language you’re studying.
However, though you may travel, though you may speak the language well enough, you will never cease being American. Although your identity can prove to be helpful or hurtful in different situations, this fundamental part of yourself will surely prove to feel uncomfortable at times.
In many ways, communities define your experience in a new place. They help you orient yourself to your surroundings and make sense of the new world and your place in it. My host community is one that I love. When you know something is temporary, you’re sort of forced to value it or at least consider it differently. Lucky for me, my study abroad experience thus far has been mostly positive, and I feel extremely grateful for the people and places that have made it so. Here are the five aspects of my community here in Hyderabad, India. ...continue reading "Defining Community"
I think that it's important to start off this post by first saying that I define community as being a group of people. I don't personally consider community for myself to be a specific place or thing, but more the people I choose to surround myself. In terms of GW Madrid, there are only twelve of us, so I have personal relationships with each person in my program. However, there are certain relationships here that touch my heart with more significance than others. Friendship for me is an extremely deep connection that I have with another person, and below are some photos of a few of my new, wonderful friends. ...continue reading "Creating Community"
Hello there! My name is Cami Kim. I am a Sophomore at The George Washington University in Washington, D.C. I study human services social justice along side about 100 of the coolest people to ever live. I love my life in D.C. But I also don’t mind the time I spend in Seattle, my hometown.