bamberg

bamberg
Bamberg, Germany

Sunday, May 1, 2011

CLAM SOCIAL ISSUES

video

My Social Issue project was a really interesting project for me. At first, I had no idea what I wanted to make my topic be, and considered doing immigration as an issue. The problem with that topic was that it was not personal to me. I finally stumbled upon the issue of the American stereotype in Germany. It is the perfect topic because it is so personal to me. It is an issue that I along with every other American faces when they go abroad.

I decided that the best way to communicate my message to viewers was to use interviews as the main piece of the project. I chose to interview two of the Australian exchange students at Bamberg. During my interview I strategically asked very specific questions because at first the interview began a little awkwardly. The interviewees were a little shy, but after the first couple of questions they really opened up. In order to counter the interview with the Australians, I interviewed another American exchange student, Whitney. Whitney’s interview was really successful because she was able to tell me about specific reactions that she has received to being an American.

In putting this video together, I really wanted the interviews to be the majority of the video since they were successful and telling. Rather than using my voice in the interviews I decided to insert inner subtitles. I wanted to completely remove myself from the video. In the end the video turned out really well. I think I successfully communicated to viewers the issues with the American stereotype.

CLAM Professional Project

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For my professional project I chose to focus on the influence of history in the German businesses. German history is what interests me the most and is incredibly relevant to understanding how the Germany economy operates; especially with how recent much of Germany’s economic history is.

In order to create this video I outlined the project so that I could figure out what type of theme I wanted to use. I decided that it was important to provide viewers with a little background on the German history, specifically the division of Germany and the competing political systems (capitalism vs. communism). I was planning on focusing strictly on the tourism industry in Germany, but after my trip to Berlin and seeing in person some of the remaining effects of the division made me want to expand my content.

As I made the video, I tried to keep in mind the many principles that we learned about the digital medium. In choosing my music I wanted to use a song that did not overpower the content of the video. I used the link from the rhetoric soup website in order to find the perfect song. After finishing and publishing my project I had to figure out a way to send my video and upload it. The file was too large to just send in an email, so I had to play around with some other options.


CLAM PERSONAL PROJECT

video

Making my video on my personal experiences while abroad was definitely the most enjoyable project for me to make. It was fun getting to look through all of my photos again and getting to relive some of experiences so far. My personal project was a little different from most because my semester began so much later than everyone else’s. I have only been in Germany for about a month and a half, so I had a much more limited amount of material to access for video content. Nevertheless, I still had plenty of to use and talk about in my project.

My first task for the personal project was to figure out what type of angle and perspective I wanted to use in the video. Because classes have still not begun and I have not actually experienced “student life” yet, I chose to focus my video on the trips that I have gone on since arriving in Germany. After choosing a theme for my project, I began to storyboard it out. I am a little bit old school so I just made a rough storyboard with pencil and paper and then made an electronic outline. My outline was the biggest help because it provided me with parameters for the video. These parameters helped me know what types of photos I needed to be taking while on my trips. My outline also helped me choose what type of mood I was trying to convey in my project, which also helped me to choose the right type of background song (carmel latte).

After taking all of the photos that I needed for the personal project, I began to try and create my video. This is where all the trouble began. My internet connection is not the best so downloading and uploading is not the easiest task on my computer. My MacBook’s iMovie software was great and made making the actual movie very easy and fun, but trying to download the music for the video was very frustrating. Also when I tried to upload my video onto my blog and into an email, the upload took so long that my computer froze and I ended up losing all of my work. So I was forced to remake each of the three videos. I ended up using a friend’s computer because she has a stronger internet connection, and was able to redo my personal project.

Overall I am very pleased with the way my project turned out. I tried to use what we learned throughout this course with image presentation. Hopefully the message that I tried to convey translates through my video.

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Entschuldigung

Apologies again for the lateness of this entry... there have been some technical difficulties. I wroted this blog on Friday but my less than reliable stick of internet decided to lose service right as the post was being published. So here is take two for blog # 11.
I have been conducting a couple of interviews this week for my project, so this section's material was especially helpful. It is really hard trying to come up with a narrow approach of questions because there are just so many different directions I could go in. I really found the article on ethnographic interviews helpful. I used its advice on picking a specific event/ day and asking questions about that, rather than the predictable why Bamberg... what do you like about it. I asked questions like what is your favorite thing to do on a Saturday here in Bamberg (although because our classes have not begun, everyday is a bit like Saturday). Also since coming to Bamberg, the one thing that I do almost everyday is go and sit with friends at a cafe to talk and whatnot. So basically cafes are playing a consistent role in my experience so I am asking questions about what cafe's other people like to go to and what they like to order. Or if anything fun happened once while they were in one (A major fight went down in one of the cafes I was sitting in... it involved a man literally kicking another grown man in the butt... It was magnificent).
It is those types of colorful stories that I am trying to find that will hopefully add color to my project.

Friday, March 18, 2011

Action!

My decisions for how to shoot my video content for my movie has been to primarily capture the spirit of what I am watching. For instance, I literally just returned home to Germany from visiting Ireland for St. Patrick's Day. I recorded some footage from the parade and sightseeing. I really wanted to show the excitement that was literally pulsing through the air. There were SO many people from all over the world visiting, but it was like one giant party so language and cultural barriers were completely bulldozed over. Everybody was simply "solid green." I tried my best to capture that spirit in my video because the many pictures that I took cannot and will not do it justice.

In order to actually capture that spirit, I tried to really just include and focus on people as my primary subject in each frame. My video's tone is about not only the actual experiences but the people that I am sharing them with. So hopefully my video's inclusion of people and just humanity in general will communicate that sentiment to its viewers.

Friday, March 11, 2011

Plan of Attack!

Since I have only been in Deutschland for about 1 week, I have not really accumulated too many photos or videos for my final project. Aside from the shots of me looking a tad rough in the airport with my ridiculous amount of luggage. So needless to say, I am having to get a little creative on my video's content. I think I have decided to go with the angle of "what is to come" rather than "what has already come and past." I will talk about what I have already learned and experienced, but also focus on what I am excited about doing while in Germany. I will also try and use multiple interviews of local and exchange students explaining what I should expect from Bamberg, and why they love it so much.

I think that I am going to be fine on video content, but it is just going to be slightly different from most of the other final projects submitted. And different is usually a good thing in my book. (hopefully it's also a good thing in the grader's book too- just kidding).

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Internet at Last!

I must apologize for the tardiness of this blog entry. I have FINALLY arrived in Bamberg this past Tuesday and have been frantically trying to get everything organized and settled. Apparently however, Germans don't really seem too concerned with something as trivial as internet connection. Eventually though my tenacious (or annoying) persistency came out victorious and landed me with the overwhelmingly slow "internet stick" (yes that's what they call it). In other words, while waiting for this blog page to load, I have written a short novel- just kidding. Needless to say however, my internet is super slow. So please bare with me.

Anyway, this week's blog topic, tropos, I found very interesting. When I took the pictures for the earlier blog entries I did not really think about why I chose this angle, or to exclude/ include this or that. I just instinctually snapped the shot. So I guess aesthetics is what drove all of my decisions behind the photos I took. Since, I was still in Charleston, the photos I took are of flower boxes on a side street in the downtown area. I chose to photograph flowers because to me they represent a large part of Charleston. The city, resting on the coast of South Carolina, is extremely natural, filled with beautiful flowers and greenery. For me, the bright colors of the flowers give off a whimsical feel, and I tried to capture that in my photographs.

In the close-up photo, I wanted the pink flower to be the sole focal point of the photograph, in order to show how important the flora is to the region. That is why I chose to exclude the actual flower box and window. It is interesting that by just zooming in, you can change the entire perspective of the photograph. The close up shot presents an entirely different image compared to the one of all the different flower boxes. The shot with the multiple boxes, to me represents the charm of the houses in Charleston, rather than the importance of the flora.

These principles of Tropos are really useful because they make you stop and think okay why am I taking this shot? What do I want inside the frame and why? And now that I am finally in Germany I can start applying them to my sight seeing as well. When I look at the different monuments and castles I can question what internal visualization is the artist or architect trying to externally communicate?

Friday, February 25, 2011

Digital Photographs

Since I have STILL not left for Germany, I had to manage with using Charleston as my subject for all my photos. Fortunately for me, Charleston is a great place; rich with culture and sights to see. I chose to photograph the street that I used to live on. Because I am a girl, I ended up focusing on flowers... sorry guys.
I tried to incorporate the different photography principles presented in the video tutorials. For instance, the vertical shot vs. the horizontal shot.




vs.










In this instance, Iprefer the horizontal shot to the vertical one. I find the multiple flower boxes more aesthetically pleasing. I used the same angle to photograph both pictures and tried to eliminate any empty space in the photograph. I also applied the 1/3 theory to the photographs so that the subject, or flower boxes, did not seem arbitrarily placed in the photos.

This last photo is of one of the flowers inside the flower box. I chose to use a tight shot and a different angle- straight on. It is interesting to see how all the different photography techniques can make one simple set of flower boxes into a complex mosaic of images.

Friday, February 18, 2011

I'm Loving it...

Unfortunately I am still stateside and will not be in Germany for another two weeks, so comparing the German McDonald's to the the American ones is a little more difficult. I am, however, able to browse the German McDonald's website, and the German Ronald, I must say, is very similar to the American Ronald McDonald. Both sell the same classic foods- the Big Mac, the Happy Meal (toy included), the seasonal McRib, etc.

The German McDonald's did seem to get more creative in its titling in comparison to the American website. Instead of just calling it the "menu" the German version has "McMen├╝". How clever. The German website also used more photos of obnoxiously happy people eating McDonald's food and the format of their website was slightly different from the American version. Their is a noticeably smaller variety in product at the German Mickey-D's. Their website only advertises the classics, but they did have a couple of new foods that the American store does not have, like really cute cupcakes! I vote that the American Ronald needs to put on his baker's hat and start selling cupcakes, but that's just me.

What I find so interesting about the McDonald's brand is that it is soo classically "American." And yet it is one of the largest international corporations. Seeing how different countries refashion this american brand to fit within their own country's cultural parameters is really intriguing. Because let's face it, the American name is not always the most popular. But obviously no one can deny the power of the Big Mac.

I will be sure to check out the local McDonald's when- if I ever- get to Germany. Although I hear that Burger King is really big there. Bigger than McDonald's because word on the street is they let you have it your way...

Friday, February 11, 2011

The Medium's Message

Nietzsche's idea that the medium dictates the method of composition really resonated with me. I would even argue that the tools we use to express ourselves not only affect the method but also the actual message. With today's technology, there is grammar and spell check, online dictionaries and thesauruses, there are even essays that I could easily purchase and pass off as my own. The technology is literally changing the words we write. Since starting this blog entry I have made three spelling mistakes, all of which have been automatically corrected by my computer's spell check. And how do you know I didn't just purchase this blog entry rather than write it myself... haha just kidding. But really even in this small blog entry, my writing has been affected by the medium... the computer and its glorious automatic spell check.

Writing on a computer makes erasing what you write so easy. Simply backspace and whatever you wrote is erased forever. With pen and paper, it's not so simple. You have to be more sure of your self and confident in what you write because it isn't going anywhere with the click of a button. When I take notes in class for instance, I choose to use pen and paper because it makes me really pay attention to what I write. That way I don't just aimlessly list points and facts, but rather I comprehend and digest the presented information. I think that Nietzsche's prose overlaps with Kevin Kelly's idea that the screen is making our reading endurance weaker. The medium affects the message and the way the message is received. It is as simple as that. In fact I can feel my endurance decreasing right at this very moment as I stare into this screen...

However, I don't feel that this new Gutenberg Shift is the end of literacy. It's just new. That's all. And it's really hard to complain about this new medium when it provides us with an seemingly infinite amount of information at our finger tips. I just wonder what the next shift will be. Brain chips maybe???

Friday, February 4, 2011

Cross Culture

Coming to America?

america.gif


The task of introducing someone to true "american culture" seems a little daunting to me. I am not even sure if I understand what American culture really is. It varies between the different regions. I think that the question of "Does othering make the different group invisible?" is too simple. What makes a group different? Technically everyone is a foreigner because you are only a part of a dominant culture in 1 place. So I think that for me, I would not so much try and teach my exchange student the "american culture" but my own version. What is significant and meaningful to me. And also, my version of America probably overlaps with how many people see the U.S.

I know all the t-shirts and post cards and whatever say that the U.S. is the home of the brave... the land of the free... blah blah blah. But really, for me at least, the United States is the south, specifically Clemson. I would show my exchange student all the things that make Clemson a unique place. I would talk about all the athletics,- football, baseball, etc.- going downtown, friends, and school. By showing why and what makes Clemson unique, hopefully my exchange student will take away the fact that the U.S. is full of unique places. That no one place is the same. The combination of all these different and unique places, like Clemson, is what composes and makes up American culture. Using the grass analogy- the United States is the like a backyard lawn and Clemson, SC is one of the many strands of grass. I think that the United States values individualism and personal growth as a major priority. I also believe that rags to riches, metaphorically speaking, is alive and well in the U.S. The U.S. provides its citizens with the opportunity to become rich in more than just money. Rich in experience, diversity, happiness, the list goes on and on.

I just hope that I can come to value my host country as much as I value my own country.

Friday, January 28, 2011

Cultural Literacy

hmmmm cultural literacy...
I have never really though about being "literate" in a culture before. After watching this week's lecture material, I have to take it a step farther. I agree with the fact that every culture has an identity of some sorts, and American culture is extremely strong and spirited. But within the U.S.A. there is a lot of discontinuity. There is southern culture (hey ya'll) northern culture (wicked awesome) midwestern culture (you guys), and many more. And a different stereotype is tacked on to each of these regions. My thick southern accent only fuels this fire. And with popular reading, movies and television all portraying the south in a certain light, the rest of the country and world sees southern culture as, for lack of a better term, "hick-ish". Obviously, there are some discrepancies with the southern stereotype, but the only way to realize these discrepancies is to live or spend some quality time in the south.

If the U.S. is so culturally divided within its own borders, I have to assume that all countries are equally diverse. I must admit, this is slightly nerve-racking. What should I expect heading over to Germany? I wonder if what I have learned about Germany in school is true or just another misunderstood stereotype? I think that the best I or anyone can do is to have an open mind. The worst thing I can do is go into Germany with a preconceived perception and blow off the opportunity to learn about a new and exciting culture. Also, learning about a new culture will hopefully help me better understand and appreciate my own culture. German culture will provide me with a point of comparison for American culture and something as simple as the American handshake might become more significant to me after living in Germany.
Being able to live in a new culture is going to be an invaluable experience for me. And the fact that this course is requiring me to document and record this experience is going to make it that much more special. I really hope to take away a great deal of understanding and respect from Germany. I just hope that I can break down any stereotype and really come to understand the multiple complexities of German Culture.
What can I say... I'm culturious.

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Photo Scale

This is the original image that I took. Because my semester has yet to begin, I chose to take a picture of my backyard view. It is an overlook of the Charleston Harbor. The assignment was to scale down the image and compare the quality.
I scaled my image down by 15 % in Picasa 3. By scaling down the image I heightened the photos clarity and overall improved the photos quality. This editing tool will definitely come in handy when I am able to start taking pictures of Bamberg.

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Online Communities

I was a bit of a late bloomer when it came to online communities. I rarely chatted on AOL instant messenger, never had a Myspace page, and only recently joined Facebook because my friends had an intervention with me. My reluctance to join online communities is based primarily on laziness, but I must say that I now need a different type of intervention... excessive time spent on Facebook.

My first experience with online communities was AOL instant messenger. It became the "cool" thing while I was in middle school and my screen-name was embarrassingly cheesy- something along the lines of Halleybug2222. Even though I had an AOL account, I don't think it would be fair to say that I was a true member of the AOL instant message community. Halleybug2222 only went live on very important occasions like the weekly sleepover or when I needed some info on the latest gossip.

My next rendezvous with an online community was Facebook. In the fall of 2008, after having just started Clemson, I entered my dorm room to find a group of friends creating a Facebook page for me. They even had the audacity to answer all of Facebook's "deep and insightful" questions... favorite books, movies, music, and EVEN the personal quotations. THE NERVE.
I must say, however, that I am a huge Facebook user and definitely use it more than I would like to admit. Facebook allows me to stay in touch with friends and family that I probably would never get to talk to anymore. I love being able to look at photos and videos and talk to friends that I have not seen in years.

I feel like this blog and the different assignments for the CLAM course are going to provide another opportunity for me to join a community where I can learn about experiences abroad that I would otherwise never have seen. I am excited to document my different experiences in the CLAM online community and be able to see what my fellow CLAMers have been up to themselves while abroad.
Maybe I should switch my blog title to something more catchy like Halleybug2222....

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Introduction to CLAM

Hello fellow CLAMers! My name is Halley Connell and I will be studying in Bamberg Germany this spring semester. My semester's start and end dates are a little later than most- I begin March 1st and the program ends August 15th. So basically January and February are my "summer vacation" months. So while most are probably gearing up to head over to their new schools in the next days, I will be biding my time in Charleston- counting down to March 1st.
After watching the two tutorial videos on the blog and the course in general, I have become even more excited about my coming experiences while studying abroad. I know that I will see so many new places and meet so many new people. And what better way to remember all of my new experiences than to have a class that's assignments are to further explore and document our travels.
As a history major and German minor I am especially excited to explore Germany's rich history. I have already compiled an overwhelmingly long list of places, museums, and sites that I want to visit while abroad, including the Berlin Museum, Checkpoint Charlie, etc. They will hopefully provided great photographs and material for the CLAM's different assignments. Of course, I am most excited about simply understanding German culture and meeting new people.
CLAM's unique course requirements will provide me with the great opportunity of sharing my adventures with other students, and being able to learn about other cultures that my fellow CLAMers are also exploring.
Only 44 more days to go...