Friday, June 27, 2014
Globalization: Understanding the World
“The world is being flattened. I didn’t start it and you can’t stop it, except at great cost to human development and your own future. But we can manage it, for better or worse.”
Thomas L. Friedman, author of The World Is Flat
To understand the world a little bit more, this is my current reflection upon globalization, for my global scholars assignment. The first part I wrote while in Italy. The second part is my reflection afterwards.
(See my earlier post here to read about globalization thoughts -- the good, bad, and ugly.)
PART 1: Globalization thoughts while in Italy I'm realizing that globalization is out of the individual's control -- as in, you and me probably can't do much about it. In my experience, on a smaller scale, I do see the toll it takes on local culture and enterprises. In Italy, everything is very regional -- how you speak Italian, the type of bread you eat, the stores you usually go to. But despite all this, I've had times when I'm asking for something in Italian, and I get a response in English. Or when they offer fries with my meal because I'm American.
It's wonderful that they know English and are willing to adapt, but we miss out on authentic opportunities. Our world is working from all of the countries' differences, and now it's becoming flatter. The quote at the beginning of this post is from a book that is quite interesting and practical, and I would recommend it for those interested in seeing the history of how our world has "flattened", so to speak.
PART 2: Thoughts after a month back in America
I realize that when I was in Italy, all I could think was how relevant globalization was. I didn't feel that adjusting culturally was an inconvenience at all, and felt slightly disappointed at how the English language had spread and the immense catering towards tourists and the like. Well, now that I'm back and have almost fully adjusted back to Ohio, all I can think is -- Italy is far from being globalized. So many culture differences still exist, and I see no signs of that changing. Stores being closed from noon till 3. Eating late dinners at 8:30pm and beyond. The constant pasta, pizza, bread, and pastries. The slower pace of life and work. I can't imagine impending changes to all of that yet.
So, to answer the prompt:
My understanding of globalization didn't change when I went abroad, but it changed when I came back to America.