Category: Globalization

We Apologize in Advance: “The Jersey Shore” Goes to Italy

I've written about the "ugly American" syndrome. I've written about the value of going abroad to learn about your host country and yourself. And today, I'm apologizing for what I expect will be nothing by an "ugly American explosion" in the country that gave the world Michelangelo, DaVinci and Botticelli.

This spring, we are sending Italy some of the least cultured media/pop culture that the United States has to offer, a show called the Jersey Shore. One of the more notable characters we are sharing is "Snooki." (This young woman was arrested for public intoxication in the stateside version of the reality show she is on - called "The Jersey Shore." I wonder if MTV cares that it is sending her to a country where public intoxication is not well tolerated. Then again, I wonder if the Italian government cares - they apparently are granting her a visa!)

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Please Vote for Me: An Experiment in Democracy by 8 year olds in China

If you read Melibee regularly, you know I’m a big fan of documentaries. I have written extensively about Crossing Borders, a film that I think should be screened everywhere!  This weekend, I watched a terrific documentary from China entitled “Please Vote for Me.” Here is the trailer:

This film chronicles 3 adorable eight year old children (Xu Xiaofei, Cheng Cheng and Luo Lei) vying for the title of “classroom monitor.”  The film, directed by Weijun Chen, claims to have documented the first democratically elected elementary school classroom monitor in the city of Wuhan (in central China.)

This film is an outstanding educational tool on many different levels.  First, I found it hysterical (and sad) that these kids were so competitive that they manipulated, bribed and tortured their competitors.  They engaged in political strategy and debates that make some very seasoned politicians look amateurish!  Perhaps most disturbing was how incredibly overly involved their parents were in the coaching of their political “campaigns.”  You had to wonder at times who was running for the position.

This film gives a bird’s eye view of a Chinese elementary school in a large city.  We see some of the opening school ceremonies, the classroom spaces and learning tools, the food eaten at lunch (which certainly looks a heck of a lot healthier than the average American classroom school lunch!) and the type of dialogue between students and their teachers.  We also see 3 different homes:  one of a married couple, one of a single mother, and one of a mother who has remarried.  Finally, we get a sense of life in a country with a one-child policy.

This film creates an excellent opportunity to explore politics, human nature (are we naturally competitive?  is feeling guilty when we wrong someone a universal feeling? etc), education and family dynamics.

The film is only an hour long and is an easy, funny and enjoyable film to watch.  (Subtitles are in English.)  You may purchase the film here:

Journalism Abroad: Win a Trip with Nicholas Kristof of the New York Times

Journalism student, Mitch Smith from University of Nebraska, reports on his time abroad with NY Times journalist, Nicholas Kristof.

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Sustainability in International Education: Interview with Michael Despines

Missy Gluckmann, Founder of Melibee Global, interviews Michael Despines, Sustainability Consultant, regarding issues of climate change/sustainability and international education.

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Reflections on the Expatriate Experience by an Expat Coach

Sarah DeHayes, Guest Blogger

Today’s guest blog is written by Ms. Sarah DeHayes.  I had the distinct pleasure of meeting Sarah when we both worked in the International Assignment Services division at Cartus.  Sarah is an immensely talented woman – one of the well traveled that I know (she recently returned from Bhutan!) and truly an authentic soul.  She has been a huge inspiration on my journey and I hope that you will enjoy her guest blog.

The expatriation process brings the agony and ecstasy of life.  Why does it seem to strike so many notes in our psychological and emotional spectrum? From the stints abroad I have happily and consciously undertaken, each sparked a wide range of responses such as: culture shock, being a minority, feeling boxed in by labels – single, white, female, traveling alone.  I was a foregone conclusion shut out from complete immersion in my host culture and language.  Some people stay in that space of anger, resentment and isolation and blame others for their unhappiness.

Given this prospect, why would anyone choose to live, work, love, dream, play or create outside of that place which one identifies as ‘home’? Wouldn’t it be infinitely easier to stay in that comfort zone of predictability, a perceived sense of security, the familiar? Quite simply, crafting a life abroad can be the most supreme high a person can find – forget the artificial stimulants and diversions that mask bliss and just book a ticket for Destination Unknown!

My career in the global mobility field focuses on strategically moving talent (read: people like you and me) around the world equitably, compliantly, productively, empathetically and, we hope, successfully.  How can success of this emotional journey of expatriation even be measured, defined and judged?  I would suggest this is achievable through a holistic Talent Management system spanning recruitment, candidate selection, goal-setting, support, skills recognition and reintegration.  Underpinning this process is the powerful discipline of coaching.

Distinct from other modalities such as therapy, counseling, consulting and mentoring, coaching is a partnership focused on moving a “coachee” forward to achieve specific goals and sustainable results.  Clients are drawn to coaching when they may feel overwhelmed, are in a state of transition and/ or when they have goals they are committed to act on but don’t know where to start.  Sounds like a typical state of affairs for an expatriate!

There may be several pain points for expatriates – here are just a couple: an executive who has enjoyed proven success in his/ her market but is lost to adjust to a new one, an employee who missed signs of maladjustment of his/ her family in the host location and is now at a crossroads to decide if the assignment should be cut short.  Coaching allows us to confront and challenge our conditioned beliefs and programming, identify our values that manifest as our ‘hot buttons’ and laser in on the root cause of what is blocking us from forwarding the action and accomplishing our ambitions.  The vulnerability and self-inquiry inherent in expatriation make it an incredibly ripe moment to reconnect with our truth, passion and core desires.  Without bold and courageous expatriates, this world may have stopped turning on its axis long ago.

About the Author:

Sarah De Hayes is a Project Manager at Crown Relocations and founder of Insights Coaching. She has had proven success in managing global virtual teams, key account management, implementation and operational effectiveness in several capacities in the global mobility arena. Sarah is also a certified Expat Coach helping individuals connect with their passion and purpose and shift deeply-held perceptions. She specializes in helping expatriates/repatriates craft the lives they want. Sarah has lived abroad and travels extensively internationally. She holds an MA in Intercultural Relations from Lesley University, TEFL Certificate, Project Management Certification and is a Six Sigma black belt.  She is a proud member of the Expat Coach Association.  You can reach Sarah at [email protected]

When Globalization Goes Wrong

Dr. Vandana Shiva
Dr. Vandana Shiva

Living near New York City (NYC) has its perks. I had the pleasure of attending the NYC Food & Climate Summit this past weekend.  My interest in doing so was to better understand the relationship between food and the climate, especially in light of the talks in Copenhagen this past week.

This summit introduced me to my new hero – Dr. Vandana Shiva.   Her bio,  according to the conference materials states:  “Dr. Shiva has devoted her life to fighting for the rights of the ordinary people of India. Born in India in 1952, Dr. Shiva is a world-renowned environmental leader and thinker. Director of the Research Foundation for Science, Technology, and Ecology, she is the author of many books, including Water Wars: Pollution, Profits and Privatization (2001)…”  I’d prefer to describe her as an activist who observed the negative impact of globalization on her local community and therefore stood up, said ENOUGH IS ENOUGH, and did something that empowered me to write this post today.

Dr. Shiva spoke via video and floored me with the statistics:

– the world is producing only 1/2 of the food/nutrition that it could be

– 40% of greenhouse gases come from HOW we make and deliver our food

– A Danish study (approximately 10 years old) verified that 1 kg of food that is produced equals 10 kgs of carbon dioxide being thrust into our atmosphere

– the US spends $400 billion on farm subsidies

– perhaps the most horrific metric of all:  400,000 Indian farmers have committed suicide, in areas where Monsanto has pushed the sale of seeds onto them.

I sat, frozen and helpless, hearing this last data bite.  Having seen the film “Food Inc”, I had heard about the patent on seeds, but did not realize that patent extended to developing countries.

Dr. Shiva emphatically claimed that the agri-business system is broken and that we must take back the power to fight for the world’s right to affordable and clean food. (I encourage you to watch this video interview of Dr. Shiva’s fight for Earth Democracy below.) Thankfully, Dr. Shiva has dedicated her life to fighting to protecting the seeds in India so that people there can be assured the human right of diversity in their food.

Her carefully prepared presentation left me pondering how we handle such information as educators? How are we teaching the impact of globalization to college students as they travel abroad?  Do our students understand the effects of globalization, particularly when they take courses in business abroad?  Do we require that they know the pros AND the cons of global branding, trade agreements and big business?

How are we addressing how globalization impacts culture?  Are we watering down individual national culture so much that when you travel abroad, you’re seeing the Starbucks and McDonald’s shops in all of the airports to the point that you cannot figure out WHICH country you’re in because all of the airports start to look the same? (Those of us that are old enough will remember the days when you got to an airport abroad and it felt like you were entering a different place – the shops gave us a hint of what was to come. Can we say the same today? I think not.) Worse yet, are we globalizing to the point that patents on seeds can push farmers in India to kill themselves rather than be faced with another year of horrible crops and loans that they cannot afford to pay? And doing so in a way that damages our precious earth, all in the name of revenue?

Today’s blog doesn’t have answers to these issues.  Today, I am still digesting (pun intended) the web of information that I learned at this incredible meeting on Saturday.  I’m also thinking about a comment that a friend made recently when we were discussing how some schools and some individual courses abroad still don’t have a required pre-departure orientation that attempts to prepare students for these realities.  My friend commented, “Well Missy, we require young people in this country to take a driver’s education course before they can obtain a license – why aren’t they required to sit through a lecture on the country they’re traveling to so that they understand what an ugly American is, or what happens when you get arrested abroad?”  Hmmmm, not a bad question.  And now, reflecting upon Dr. Shiva’s lecture, I wonder why we aren’t required to read something about the impact of globalization when we obtain our first passport? Or for that matter, when we mindlessly enter our local grocery store, grab a cart and pick up what appears to be a lush green avocado that was grown in Mexico and flown to the US.  Where did those seeds come from and who had to suffer for me, in the North, to have the luxury of eating that avocado in wintertime?