Thursday, April 29, 2010

New Blog

So throughout the course of this blog for CLAM, I decided that I'm not the biggest fan of Blogger, and since I still have quite some time left here, I figured I might as well switch this on over to another website that I like better. So, if you still want to read up on what I'm up to across the pond, check out my new-er blog at gtotherace.tumblr.com

That's it!

Saturday, April 24, 2010

CLAM: Professional

video

Here is my professional video. I am having trouble getting these videos onto the Digital Dropbox on Blackboard, I don't know if it is the file size or what, but I'm going to keep trying?

Final Video: Social Issue

video

Here is the second of my 3 final videos, this one deals with the issue of whether or not Scotland should become independent from the UK.

Final Video: Personal Experience

video

Here's the first of my 3 final videos: personal experience.

Friday, April 23, 2010

LONG Overdue!

So here is the video on Scottish food that I started a long time agoaldkf (when our first videos were due) and is now on YouTube:


And to make up for the lateness, I am throwing in a video of a Storm Trooper dancing on a bridge in London near parliament:



Enjoy! Final project videos up tomorrow!

The End?

So I got back to Aberdeen on Monday after being gone for almost 3 straight weeks (I came back for about 16 hours between weeks 2 and 3). I have had really limited internet access lately, and just being back in Aberdeen and getting into classes again has kept me busy. I've completely slacked on the blog and everything, but I promise I'm making up for it.
So even though the CLAM course is ending tomorrow basically, I still have over a month and a half in Aberdeen. I have classes until the 14th of May, and then I have a "revision week" and then exams start. I only have 2, and they are a week apart, and then I leave on June 12th. So these videos, especially the overall experience/personal one, feel premature since I'm only barely halfway done. It's crazy to hear all of my friends from Clemson talk about how their basically done. It's kind of saddening, especially for my friends that are graduating in a matter of weeks!
This isn't exactly an ad, or a "media artifact" but I really like the signs. They are for a protest for the National Union of Teachers. I saw them laying in the street in London, and people had just left them there. I'm not sure if there already was a protest, or if it hadn't started yet, but I liked the slogans on the signs, especially "EDUCATION CUTS NEVER HEAL." I love a good pun (who doesn't?), and it makes it even better when it applies to a real social problem. The signs are simple and effective.
The next two things are photos of a poster in my housing area and a flier handed out this past week by the University of Aberdeen about elections. U of A had their student council elections this week and it was pretty crazy here. Guys dressed up like Braveheart, like bears, had catchy slogans like "Vote Joe, he's not slow" (seriously), and rode around on old time-y bicycles (you know, the kind with one giant wheel and one tiny wheel) shouting about who to vote for. This poster is for one candidate (who didn't win), but I think it shows how much more crazy people can be over here. I know that, at least at Clemson, if someone had a poster like this up, it would probably be taken down. I think that our culture is much more sensitive and censored than the Scottish culture.
The next photo is a flier handed out to students to remind them to vote. It seems normal until you get to the third example that they give of where to vote:
In bed? This isn't shocking at all to students here. They are generally less conservative and more open about sexual issues. When I saw this, I thought "What on earth would happen if Clemson passed this flier out for our elections?" People would freak out, that's what would happen! American culture is so big on being politically correct that this would be a big no-no.

Thursday, March 25, 2010

CLAM #10: Interviewing and Sound

So for my videos I plan on doing two interviews. The first I plan on doing with a veterinarian here in Aberdeen. I feel like this will make the presence of my future profession in Scotland more real, and talking to a vet here face-to-face will definitely make it more real to me.
The second will be kind of a more laid back and less professional video. I plan on interviewing my friend Suzanne, who is fairly opinionated, about the Scottish nationality video. I feel like hearing from someone other than myself about the issue would give my video a more unbiased appeal, and ultimately give it more credibility.
I have decided not to include an interview in my personal experience video, because I feel like it is supposed to be about, well, my experience in Scotland.
I definitely like the idea of narrating my videos, and adding music. Unfortunately, I hate my voice, so I've definitely experienced some of this "flop sweat" that Prof Nichols talked about in the CLAM Soup blog this week. I don't mind doing presentations and stuff at all, but it's just hearing my voice over and over again while I'm editing that I am not a fan of.
For the next three weeks I'm off for spring break! I have had a lot of assignments due for my classes here lately. I am leaving tomorrow for 2 weeks, then I'll be back for less than 24 hours, and then off again! I'm really excited, but also really nervous (especially because I haven't packed yet and I am leaving in 8 hours). I found out tonight that a plane ticket that I thought I bought 2 weeks ago didn't actually go through, so I had to quickly buy it again (for $100 more than I originally would have paid). So that was really frustrating. Well I'm off to pack and finish (finally, I know) my video that should have been done long ago!

Monday, March 15, 2010

Papers and a Fast Approaching Spring Break- not the best combo

Things have gotten pretty crazy lately. I have my first actual work due this week and next week for my classes. So far all of my academic responsibilities consisted of just going to class and attempting to stay awake while learning about bacterial growth-which is actually really difficult, but doesn’t require any real effort. This Thursday I have a presentation and paper due with my Biochemistry lab group on a paper that we chose about Prion transport, and then next Monday I have a paper due for Microbiology about bacteriophage therapy, which is really tantalizing, I know. And next Thursday I have another Presentation and lab report due for Biochem about the lab that we have been doing all semester involving purifying egg proteins. So yeah, the next two weeks will be great fun, but then it’s SPRING BREAK, which I am really excited about! Here’s my plans for break:

March 26 through 30- Paris

March 30 through April 2-Athens

April 3 through 6- Rome. I’m really excited about this because we’ll be there for Easter and one of my friends is trying to get us tickets to Easter Mass at the Vatican, which would be unreal! Also, some girls from Clemson that are also studying at Aberdeen are planning on joining us in Italy while we’re there which would be great!

April 6 through 8- Florence

April 8 through 10- Venice, and a stop to Pisa for the day sometime between Florence and Venice.

On the 10th we’re flying back to London, then I’m taking a 12 hour overnight bus back to Aberdeen so I can leave on the morning of the 12th with a Forestry class I’m taking to the Lake District of England, which I am excited about because I’ve been told that it’s gorgeous. That will be from the 12th through the 16th, and I’m contemplating going to London for the last weekend of my glorious 3-week long break and staying with one of my friends who is there for grad school. Overall, it’s going to be great. I do love Aberdeen, but it’s a fairly small city, and I’m feeling more and more broke everyday so I’ve been trying not to go out very often and spend my money on travel, which I think is much more worthy of my money anyway.

This weekend, one of my friends Suzanne and I are planning on going to Perth, which is about an hour away I think, and going to “Big Tree Country” and hiking around a bit. I’m not really sure what that is, but how could it possibly not be awesome with that name?

If anyone has recommendations for things to do/see in my spring break destinations, just let me know!

As far as the videos are going, I am trying to import a video from my camera into Windows Movie Maker, but my camera shoots in .mov and I haven't found a converter to avi or something that actually works for free yet, I don't know if anyone has any suggestions? Thanks guys, and happy daylight savings time to you EST folks (our time doesn't change until Mar 28th).

Saturday, March 6, 2010

CLAM #9: Video Attack!!!

So here are my ideas for my final project videos so far:
Personal: I feel like this video is going to be pretty self-explanatory. I want to do a summary of my time here, even though I will still have another month and a half until I leave when the video is done. I am especially excited to show you guys about my Spring Break. We just booked our flights and stuff today. We're doing: Paris, Athens, Rome, Florence, and Venice for two weeks. Then I am taking a forestry class that is the last week of my break in the Lake District of England, possibly the last weekend in London (I know I'm gushing but I just spent a lot of time and money putting it together and I'm pumped!). So anyway, I basically want to summarize my experience so far.
Professional: my major is Animal and Veterinary Science, so I was planning on shadowing a vet while I was here. I'm not sure what the difference in being a vet here and in the US is, but I'm sure that talking to a vet here would be good. I am really interested in finding out what the difference in schooling would be, because I know that already the higher education here is completely different: they only have to do 3 years to get a degree (the 4th year is your honors year, but pretty much everyone does it to be competitive), the class structure is much more intense and your courses are very redundant year after year.
Public Issues: The other day my classmates and I had a break during a lab while things were incubating, so we went to the "Social Space" at the campus of our school. Two of my classmates got into a pretty heated argument about whether or not Scotland should become an independent country. I am ashamed to admit that, before I came here, I thought that Scotland was a country, but it isn't. It's part of the United Kingdom, which includes England, Scotland, and Northern Ireland. So right now, I kind of want to look more into that, because I really don't know enough about it now to form an opinion.

Thursday, March 4, 2010

CLAM #8: Tropos and Visual Literacy

Okay, I know this is way late, but better late than never??
This week we learned about the tropos of digital images, or the context of them. So first I'm going to talk about the photos that were in my digital photography post from last week.
I'll start with the picture of the frog:

I really didn't want to show where the frog actually was (on the glass door in front of my house in Myrtle Beach). I used the flash and reflection off of the glass door to kind of disguise it some. Originally the frog was in the middle of the frame, so I cropped the photo to make it fit the rule of thirds more.

With the ducks it was all about lighting. I wanted a tight picture of the ducks, but I also wanted to include a good bit of their habitat, I especially liked that you can see the rocks through the water.
In this photo of my TOMS I really wanted to emphasize how worn they've gotten. I wanted to focus on the dirt on the bottom of the shoes. The color of the lighting emphasizes the wear they've been through. To me this photo tells a story of well-loved and worn shoes, and the area of focus, the lighting, and the horizontal composition all help convey this message.

With this photo my favorite thing was the contrast. The white snow against the dark statue is great to me. I also like how his knee closest to the camera is positioned, it gives the photo depth. In the vertical version of this photo there was a lot of tree in the background. This version shows more of the setting that I wanted: the statue in its natural habitat, with the University in the background. The intention of this shot is to show the beauty of the campus and this history.
I really liked the article about Visual Literacy. I think that visual literacy definitely contributes to Cultural literacy. A lot of visual literacy is universal. There was one part of the article that I didn't completely agree with. The article talked about the shift from text to visual literacy, but I think that text is a form of visual literacy. We use visual aspects of text, like size, color, italics, and bold, and then the grammar portion of text, like word choice and style to convey a message with text, and these are visual too. We use them to emphasize words and thoughts and to give our text a certain feeling, just like we would with focus, color, zoom, lighting, etc in a photo.

Monday, February 22, 2010

Lazy Monday

Another update! I keep telling myself everyday that I am going to post something, and I almost did the other day, but my computer randomly shut off. Regardless, I've been lazy (again) so here is some more update! Last week was great. We went to our first Football (Soccer) game here in Aberdeen. There is a pro Football Club here that plays in the Scottish Premier League, and we played the Raith Rovers. We're still not really sure what the mascot is. I believe it is the Reds, but there was a bull named Angus in a Jersey that walked around at the beginning and we never saw again.
It was really crazy, and lots of fun! It was very similar to an American Football game. There was a lot of yelling, especially by old Scottish men. Luckily we couldn't really understand them, but I'm sure there were some expletives thrown out there frequently, because we lost. It was really sad, and close. The opposing team's fans were absolutely crazy, I guess there are a lot of them that live around Aberdeen or are students here. Here's a video of the game, nothing crazy goes on, but I just want you to hear the opposing fans:
video
They even had a fence between our fans and theirs, and at the end of the game they had a ton of security guys there to keep them from charging the field I guess. So I guess the fashion for fans here is to wear a scarf with your team name/colors on it, instead of shirts, hoodies, etc. There are jerseys, but they only sell them at the stadium and they're quite expensive. Regardless, here is my awesome scarf, it was super warm!
This weekend we went to Loch Ness with the International Society from the University. Surprisingly there wasn't a lot to do there, I was sure that it was going to be really touristy, but it wasn't. We went to Urquhart Castle, which is right on the Loch.
Here is the view of the castle from a boat ride on the Loch that we took after the castle. It was a gorgeous day, even though weather.com (who I pretty much never trust anyway) said it would snow all day, which was a complete lie. It was a great day. We got off the boat and went to a gift shop on the other side, then got back on our bus and drove to a "soup village" where we got to try good soup and eat giant/delicious pancakes. Here is the ghetto statue thing of Nessie they had at the end of the boat ride, and my giant pancake from Baxter's soup.

Friday, February 19, 2010

CLAM #7: Photog= Photo+ Blog

I love taking pictures! I took two semesters of film photography in highschool, and it's one of my dreams to have a dark room in my house when I grow up. I also work in the camera department at Best Buy. Being surrounded by cool cameras all the time at work plus an employee discount pretty much guaranteed that I would spend too much money on a camera. So I got a Nikon D60 a little over a year ago, and I love it! Here are some photos that I took with it, some while here and some while home:
When I take pictures I think that lighting is so important. I really don't like to use flash, so a lot of the time I turn the flash off on my camera. At night, I am usually forced to use my flash because I usually don't want to set up a tripod or anything. Below is an example of that, and also the Rule of Thirds; it is a tree frog on the glass door of my house in Myrtle Beach.

Here is another example for lighting: we went on our hike to Dunnottar Castle a couple of weeks ago and it was fairly overcast, which I think is the perfect weather for good contrast-y photos (yes I know I am using quite technical terms, I hope you can understand them). But there were a ton of ducks under this bridge as we walked along the coast of the North Sea. This is one of my favorites, I do love natural lighting the best!

Here is another example of lighting, and also of horizontal versus vertical. I took this in my room here in Aberdeen, with the help of my desk lamp pointed at the shoes. My poor TOMS, I keep trying to pretend that they are suitable for wear in the rain and/or snow. They'll live though:

Here is my final example, and it is horizontal versus vertical: I took a picture of the same subject, one vertical and one horizontal. It snowed like crazy today, so I was kind of terrified to get my camera wet. But this is a statue on our campus:

Saturday, February 13, 2010

CLAM #6: McCLAM

I have to, and hate to, admit that I ate at the McDonald's here on one of my first days. It was the first day of classes, and I had a 3 hour break between classes. I figured that I would have enough time to wander downtown, get some quick food, and make my way back to Forresterhill (the medical school campus of University of Aberdeen that all of my classes are at). It took me almost 2 hours to get downtown, I had just kind of headed downhill and towards any tall buildings. So by that time I was starving, lost, and a little bit frazzled. McDonald's was the only restaurant in sight, besides KFC and Pizza Hut, so I caved. I usually don't go to McDonald's at home either, unless I'm driving for hours and need food, or I just need that quick [slightly gross] meal. I just had chicken nuggets and fries, and they weren't that different from the McDonald's at home. A little less flavor, but I expect that's probably less grease. The McDonald's here in Aberdeen is really nice. As you can see below, it's realllly crowded all the time. Actually, a lot of stuff here is crowded here at unexpected times. We were told that people in the UK love to shop, and it is so true! I'll walk around downtown between or after classes (I figured out the bus routes), and tons of people are out shopping in the middle of the day. Does no one work? Why aren't these children in school? Those are just a couple questions that run through my mind at times like these, haha. But anyway, back to McDonalds:
It's very crowded inside, with nice, modern decor. The whole atmosphere is comfy, where at the McDonald's at home, it's a lot of fluorescent lighting and monotonous tiling. The chairs all look comfortable, not plastic-y
In the way of the Scots, there is a cemetery right across the street. When I ate here, I actually sat at a bar on the 2nd floor (yes, there are two floors) and did some hard-core people watching while I ate. It was actually a nice experience, which isn't usually something people associate with McDonald's. At home McDonald's usually gets the job done, and is satisfactory, but the workers here were all very polite and helpful, everything was clean, the service was fast, and it was a positive experience.
Now on to the food: I have deduced that not much is different. They have McNuggets, McChicken, McFish (or some derivative of that), McFlurries with Scottish candy bits, and Big Macs. They also add some more Scottish/British items, like Bacon Rolls, the Big Tasty, a better selection of deli sandwiches, the "Chicken Tikka Snack Wrap," and more. There seems to be a pretty big demand for organic and fair trade food here. I read on the McDonald's UK website that they are trying to find an organic milk supplier for their McFlurries and milkshakes. Someone in our housing complex said something recently about a law that bans certain chemicals in food, so I'm sure that affects the food in McDonalds.
As far as the website goes, the UK website was a little bit simpler, more pleasing colors (to me at least), where the US one was busier, and more aimed at younger people, I think. Both websites advertised Wi-Fi becoming available in their restaurants soon, which reflects how computer-oriented both cultures are. Comparing the two websites, there aren't too many differences overall.

There was only one ad that I have seen a lot around here that I could find online. It was for Diet Irn-Bru, which is a orange-y soda, with kind of a bubble-gum taste to it too. The adds pretty much state that the only difference between Irn-Bru and Diet Irn-Bru is that the diet version is sugar free. The ads make me laugh, and there are like 4 other versions that I've seen around town so far, there's pretty much one at every bus stop that I go to.
And sorry that the picture is so small, but it's the only one I could find. My only beef with this ad is that there isn't just one difference between the pictures, there's obviously a shark in the second one. I could appreciate it so much more if there was a shark fin in the first photo too. The other ads are a giraffe who's spots change in the second picture to say "Sugar Free," and a cat that in the second picture has a bag with the words "Sugar Free" on it. You can see Irn-Bru's favorite ads here; they usually have some good puns involved. Slightly dirty puns, but funny nonetheless!

Friday, February 12, 2010

Catchup Blog

Okay so it has been wayyy too long since I have posted something about my actual experiences in Aberdeen. The last 2 weeks have gone by so fast, but I still feel like I have been here for so much longer than that! Everything has been great so far, I'm gonna give you the highlights of my time here so far! Sorry, this is going to be really long.
Classes: I am only taking 2 classes here, a microbiology class and a biochemistry class. They are both worth 30 "credit points" here, and 60 is a full course load (even though as of right now it is only counting as 7 hours total at Clemson, which I am hoping to change). The lectures are an hour each, so I'll only have two hours of lecture a day at most, which is great. But, the labs are crazy long. My shortest one so far has been 2 hours, and the longest is 7. That seems normal here though. I've already noticed a huge difference in the school system. First of all, college in Scotland is free for Scottish residents. Sweet, right? The government will pay for your first degree and one year of a graduate or other degree. I'm sure this creates a lot of competition for acceptance to schools here, but I think it's overall a great thing.
Also, once students here choose their major, all of their classes are pretty much chosen for them for the next 4 years. I was talking to some people in my microbiology class and they were really excited about getting to choose between an immunology class and a genetics class this semester. They do learn a lot and retain it, but I know I would yearn for the diversity of education that we get at home. If I think I might be interested in another area of study, I just take an introductory class in that subject. I worry that students here might not get the chance to change their minds or try new things that they might love. Every semester they take 2-4 classes, all in the same subject area, and those classes are threaded together so it is pretty much impossible to fit a different course in your schedule (this created issues for me when I was figuring out my schedule).
Culture: so far most of our cultural experiences here have been from the nightlife. Aberdeen gets pretty crazy at night. We went to this club called The Priory last weekend that one of the clubs here that is free to get into. It's an old church converted into a club (there's a lot of that here). It was very loud, with lots of lights and music and people. Not really my thing, but it was a fun experience. We've been to some cool pubs around town so far too.
The best cultural thing we've done so far was go to a Ceilidh last week (it's pronounced kay-lee). It's a traditional Scottish dance/social event. The university's Whiskey Society (yes it's real) had whiskey to try, there was a great celidh band, and traditional Scottish food. I do a similar dance called Contra dancing a lot at home, so I understood the dances a lot better than most of the others there (here's a video of Contra dancing at River Falls Lodge near clemson. It was a lot of international students, but also a lot of people from the Student Association here, too. I definitely plan on going to more. Here's a video of the Ceilidh that I took- it's not a great dance, but I was dancing during the exciting ones. Try to watch the inside of the circle-that's where the better dancers would go because there was more room. There's one guy with a kilt on in there that was really good! Here's another video, because I'm on a roll, of a more legit Ceilidh that I found on YouTube.
Castle: this past Sunday we went to see Dunnottar Castle in Stonehaven, Scotland. It was a 45 minute bus ride, and about a 2 mile walk. It was gorgeous and cheap (4.80 pounds for roundtrip bus fare, and it was going to be 5 pounds to get into the caslte). The scenery was breathtaking, there were a bunch of awesome dogs that we saw along the way-I think I'm becoming obsessed with all of the dogs here, they're great- and we had a great time overall. Here are some photos!
The North Sea in Stonehaven-this is where our hike started.
This is our little group of American students. From the left is: Katie from Wisconsin, Connie and Colleen from Illinois, Liz from Washington, Heather from Clemson, Suzanne from Illinois, and me!
A view of the castle and the sea during our hike
It was really sad, but they had just locked the doors 15 minutes before we got there, when we still thought we had 2 more hours until they closed. We did learn the lesson to not go anywhere in Scotland on a Sunday, because it will most likely be closed!
A view of the castle while we explored around it, but sadly not inside of it.
This is a WWI/WWII memorial that we went to on the walk back.
That's about it for now that I can think of. Again I apologize for the length, but I just had to knock this out in one big chunk. I'll be sure to start posting more frequently with shorter blogs, to avoid this in the future, haha! I'm also not sure what happened to the color of this post too, something funky no doubt.

Saturday, February 6, 2010

CLAM #5: New Media, New Literacies

I could definitely relate to the articles for this week's assignments. As I read "Is Google Making Us Stupid?" I found myself distracted, and it actually took me a while to focus on the article and actually just sit down and read it, which is exactly what the article was talking about. I think I agreed with article much more in general. Don't get me wrong, I love me some Google. I use Google Chrome (although the internet here seems to hate it and only Internet Explorer is working), gmail, and iGoogle. It's easy-to-use and you can find practically anything on it. But reading about the creators' visions of artificial intelligence really creeped me out. Is Google taking over? And why can't we just be satisfied with the huge amount of progress we've made already? I know that it's our nature to constantly improve things, but I've seen enough Sci-Fi movies to know that creating a machine that is more intelligent than a human brain is a bad idea.
That's all I have to say about Google taking over, so now on to the actual prompt. In Carr's article, he mentions how a friend of Nietzsche's commented on the differences in his writing style when he changed his medium from hand-writing to typewriting. I think this is true. For example, with my blogs, they turn into a stream-of-thought process, because I can type fast enough to [almost] keep up with my thoughts. When I am hand-writing something, there is more of a planning process- I usually do some kind of outline, organize my thoughts more, get into a "zone" and get to work. When I'm on a computer, I just kind of go with it, and I can always go back and change things before I publish them. The internet, and computers in general, have made how we organize our thoughts more of a short-term process, than a plan-and then do- process. This makes for a much different end result.

Saturday, January 30, 2010

CLAM #4: My People

This is where I live, I guess you could say that these are "my people." Myrtle Beach, SC is pretty much the Jersey Shore of the South (the TV show too, I guess). In the Summer it is packed with mostly obnoxious tourists, and in the Winter it is a ghost town that still somehow manages to have large amounts of traffic. The locals are nice, full of Southern hospitality, they pretty much have to be in a town that survives off of tourism. I think individuality is a really big thing here, as it is on the country-wide level. I think with the Long Term Orientation in Myrtle Beach would be about the same as for the US. We have a disposable mindset, that we don't have to take care of material things because they can just be replaced, but we do want to show our culture and ensure that others appreciate it too. I think that in the US in general, the masculinity isn't that bad, when you compare it to other countries. Men mostly hold offices, and have more authority, and there are more stay-at-home moms than dads. In the South there is generally a more traditional view of gender roles, but it is definitely becoming more equal in the country, which also contributes to the Power Distance. Even though Myrtle Beach is kind of kitsch-y it still has a good history, and the area just south of us has rich history with plantations and the old south.
My family has actually hosted two exchange students. When I was a junior in high school we had Kate (Kateryna) from Ukraine, and this year we have Justin (Lai Sung Yau) from Hong Kong. It has been a great experience both times, but Justin fits in really well with our family.

This is Justin and my little brother Jeff on Christmas. Justin gave us these really cool Chinese shirts, as you can see below:


We've tried to show our exchange students how our country works, and I think the regional, local, and familial portions of our culture kind of were wrapped up in that. It's kind of one big package of information. It is important to take them places around the country, and explain how the cultures vary from region to region. They should also take place in our holidays, like Thanksgiving, Halloween, Christmas, Easter, etc. It's mostly just showing them how you live your life, and they pick up the quirks along the way.

Friday, January 29, 2010

First Days in the Granite City!



I'm here! And the trip here wasn't bad at all! I was worried about getting through customs (I had many issues with the visa process, which I won't go into on here to keep an optimistic vibe going), but it took probably 5 min. The guy just asked how long I would be here, if I wanted to work, etc. Luckily the Manchester airport isn't really that busy at 7am, so we got to our flight easily. By the way, "we" means Heather and me- she is another Clemson exchange student at Aberdeen that I met at Pre-departure orientation. The picture here is the sunset from the Newark airport.


We got settled in to our rooms; they are single rooms with a sink, and then there is a bathroom with showers on each floor. My room is T4- the T literally means the top floor, which is only the
fourth floor (it's G for ground, F for first, S for second, and T for top). I took a nap (if you call 8 hours of sleep a nap- not good) and then Heather and I walked downtown a little bit so I could get some dinner. I had pork fried rice because a Chinese restaurant was t
he first one we saw. So far I only have two complaints, and they are about housing stuff in general:
1. the bedding that I ordered from a company over here was not delivered when
it was supposed to be, so I still don't have it. I've had to have makeshift bedding (mostly made out of scarves, jackets, and towels)

2. the bathrooms on our floor are being renovated, so we have to go down to
the first/ground floor to take showers or go to the bathroom right now. It's not too bad, and hopefully our new bathrooms will get done soon and be nice!

I didn't get to sleep until about 4am last night because of the 8-hour nap, so I woke up around 10am this morning. Heather and I went to the main building to see if our
bedding had gotten here (it hadn't) and then we caught the bus for 70p to campus. We've heard that if you have a student ID the bus to campus is free, but I'm not sure about the truth of that yet. Anyways, we went into campus, walked around, and took pictures. It has been snowing and windy all day, so that made it difficult for us to be very comfortable outside, but the campus is
gorgeous:


After exploring campus a bit, we went to this pub called "The Bobbin" that is right across from campus, and therefore it is really busy especially right now because today is the last day of exams from the last semester. Heather and I are both under 21, so we don't drink back in the US (really), so we were a little daunted by the beer situation. We got burgers and pints of Foster's, but neither of us were close to finishing the beer.
We have orientation and registration tomorrow, so hopefully I get all of the classes that I need!

Saturday, January 23, 2010

CLAM Post #3

I generally find the origin of names really interesting, so I explored a little bit of the "nomos" aspect of the Aberdeen's culture first. The origin of the name "Aberdeen" is purely geographic. The original name of the city was Aberdon, meaning "at the mouth of the Don," which was the main river at the time. Now that the city has expanded to also encompass the River Dee as well as the Don, the name expanded too; Aberdeen, meaning "between the rivers Dee and Don." These names helped people locate the city and lend a lot of information about the city's origins as a port, and now as an oil capitol.

I think that Hirsh is correct in thinking that learning is combining old concepts with new ones, and I also believe that cultural literacy is the same. I believe that in order to understand more thoroughly another culture, you first must understand your own. Fortunately, we get that taken care of in grades K-12, and everyday outside the classroom too-just by living in our culture.

You can take a classroom approach to becoming Culturally Literate: reading books, chatting online with people from other cultures, taking language and history classes. This is a really good base, learning facts, associating ideas with one-another ("culture is like grass, not tulips" after all). You can become very close to being very Culturally Literate this way, but I don't feel that you get the full effect until you can immerse yourself in a different culture: the nomos, ethnos, archon, mythos, and techne.

To me, a more hands-on approach to learning another culture is obviously the best way. For example, last spring I took a "Wildlife of China" class. In class, we discussed China's culture and how it relates to their wildlife conservation and ideals, and also how our country's ideals compare. I learned a lot in the classroom, but it wasn't until we actually visited the country, wildlife sanctuaries, habitats, zoos, universities, and historical sites that it all came together for me. It was an incredible experience, and gave me a great amount of perspective on our country's culture, and my own Cultural Literacy.

I have my parents to thank partially for my level of cultural awareness (I think I have more than the average American, but is that really saying much anymore?). They encourage me to travel as much as possible, and have taken us on many unforgettable family trips. I may not have appreciated the exposure as much when we took the trips that we took when I was around 8-10, but I still have memories, photos, random travel journals that I find when/if I clean my room, and the memories of my family. I try to stay aware of what is going on currently around the world, and also try to learn more about the world historically in class.

At first I didn't think that going to Scotland would be that much of a cultural awakening, because I think that we Americans see the United Kingdom as being pretty much the same as us. I know that that is not true, and I am so excited to get immersed! I know that this trip (I leave in 4 days!) will broaden my horizons in so many ways, and eventually I can call myself "Culturally Literate" without feeling completely arrogant.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

How I Use Social Media

Social media is everywhere we turn these days. It's on our phones, computers, video games, on TV, EVERYWHERE! It has changed how we meet people, how we then get to know them (the term "Facebook stalking" comes to mind), and mostly how we learn what happens in others' lives. I would have no idea which of my high school classmates were married and/or pregnant, who is dating whom, who just got a new puppy, or any other number of things without Facebook and Twitter. Personally, the only social media sites I am active in are Facebook and Twitter, and now this blog.

Facebook seems to have taken over the lives of college students, and now their younger brothers and sisters, parents, and even grandparents. I hate to admit it, but I do get sucked into it sometimes. It's completely ridiculous, but also ridiculously entertaining and informative.

Recently I joined Twitter, mostly because my best friend, who goes to Winthrop University, twittered (tweeted? I'm not sure of the correct terminology). It sounds pretty ridiculous when you hear what it is-140 or less words about "what's happening" that comes up on other users' feeds if they "follow" you. I just see it as an incredibly easy way to feel like I am keeping in touch with friends that are far away from me.

I also have a YouTube account that I've never uploaded any videos to. In case you feel the need to keep up with what I'm up to in the world of Social Media, here are the links to my pages:



I know, I'm extremely creative with my usernames. That's all for this week's assignment! Till next time!!

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

What a Good Omen!


I wanted to try posting a picture on here, and then I thought about a recent fortune I got in a fortune cookie from some Chinese food:


I know, the first part is going to come true, so now I'm pretty much counting on the second half happening soon too! I'm heading to Clemson tomorrow to see the Clemson/UNC game, and to see my Clemsonite friends once more before I'm gone for 5-ish months. I'm so excited, but I still have yet to pack (I feel that this may become a theme in my life soon unfortunately).
I just got Photoshop on my laptop, so I'm trying to figure that out now. I've been snapping random photos and trying to jazz them up a bit, although all I've really gotten a hang of so far is contrast.
Only 2 weeks until I leave for Aberdeen!

Saturday, January 9, 2010

My First [Real] Blog!

So this is it! My first [real] blog, and it's for CLAM, my online class that I am taking from Clemson while studying abroad! If my memory serves me correctly, I had a blog (or livejournal, I'm pretty sure it's the same) in ninth grade. I'm sure if I somehow found it now, I would be completely embarrassed at all of the ridiculous things that 14-year old me was thinking.
I am really excited about this class! I work in the camera department at Best Buy, and took two years of photography in high school, so I am mostly excited about taking advantage of some great photo opportunities once I am in Scotland.

I found the introductory materials to be very helpful. They answered all of the questions that I had and were entertaining at the same time, imagine that!

I look forward to experiencing Scotland's culture, blogging more, and reading about my classmate's experiences!