Bamberg, Germany

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...