exploring, examining, exchanging, expressing
Wednesday, July 11, 2007
An International Individual
I read an article in AM Costa Rica that I thought would be great material for discussion in class: Modern society is creating an international individual. (Scroll way down towards the bottom - there is no direct link to the article). For those too lazy to click, scroll, and read, I think the article can be sumarized by one line from the author:
I sometimes feel more like a citizen of the world than one particular place.
We talked about this for almost an hour and a half. The students even stayed several minutes after class, they were so involved in the conversation. I loved it. That's what makes teaching here so enriching.

What does it mean to be an "international individual?" Does it mean losing one's cultural identity? Is it possible to have a global mentality while still embracing the uniqueness of each society?

I struggle with these questions often, so I welcomed the opportunity to share them with my students. As a teacher of English in a foreign country, I sometimes feel a bit imperialistic. Am I imposing my language, and consequently my culture, on my students? Sure, they're attending class on their own free will, but is it really a choice? In one sense, they really must learn English to get ahead. It's not like they're learning English for the sheer pleasure of the language. English-speaking countries are the current economic powers, so English is the language of international business now.

The US has an influence on the world, for better or worse. It spreads its language, its media, its companies, and its culture in general. Seeing McDonalds and WalMart here, I know it's true. In return, of course, it also imports many different cultures. But what is the end result? Are we creating a global society that contains the best parts of every country? Or are we creating clones of the US?

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Anonymous phillydude said...
You have McDonald's there? What do they call a Quarter Pounder with Cheese?

Blogger Thundy said...
I read the article - It's an interesting concept of being an international individual. I prefer Latina to Hispanic.