Saturday, August 3, 2013

Final Write Up

Here's the link to my final paper.

Sunday, July 21, 2013

Interview Assignment

I interviewed a handful of people for our project but I'm going to touch up on the three categories with a summarization of the main points people were coming across on for me.  And because my topic is kind of a gimme I went in another direction asking about the education system and ways to improve the system.

Young Adults:
While I was playing basketball I came across a group of high school and decided to ask them my question.  I had one student say how he feels that students don't have the extra help that he needs to thrive in school.  He said that when goes to seek out extra help and he doesn't want to bother the teachers because they already have a full plate.  In addition to this they need to buy their own books every year and most of the teachers almost always replace their old book from last year so they can't get a second hand book.  This is a problem one of the girls said because now you're having kids drop out simply because of the fact that they can't afford the materials to attend class.

I asked this couple walking in the park with their young child who was about to turn 9.  The first thing they talked about was the rising costs of obtaining the materials for the school and how it's becoming more of a burden, it's one of the reason why they chose to only have one kid at the present time; because they can't financially afford to do everything.  I addition to this was the increase in class size.  Class sizes are increasing because school are having to make cut backs (due to pressure being brought on by the eu) and now they're less teachers.  They went on to say that the teachers are definitely not to be blamed because all they do is fight for better conditions for I their classroom but only so much can be done.  With this family in particular they also thought that religion should be taken out of the school curriculum, while it'd not mandatory to take the class it's something that should be taught outside the school.  I asked if the majority thought the way they did, and their answer was no the majority still believe religion should have a role in PUBLIC school.

Older Generation:
While continuing down my walk I ran into this lovely couple just enjoying the sun in the park and so I approached them.  Fortunately for me the lady was a former teacher and had some pretty interesting insight from a different perspective.  She said the same thing as the parents talking about how the eu needed to stay out of Spain's business and its because of them that education system has taken a step back.  How giving the younger generation is the key to having an economic turn around and how because the eu is constantly forcing cut backs from them jobs cannot be allocated and because of this the younger generation is leaving to other countries to look for work which in return hurts Spain.

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Daily Diary - July 15/16

Monday - July 15th
The morning of this day in particular was meant for preparation for our meetings with Julie and Edgar which henceforth coincided with the idea of us gathering other useful articles that contribute to our particular project.  Myself went through the meeting today and I found it very useful to talk out all of what we had gone through and actually sorting our everything that I had.  I the end they gave me more people that I should contact to interview; I figure the rest of the groups had the same conclusion after talking with Julie and Edgar. Nit wasn't until 6pm that we had a group activity/class. We all met up at the Leon center and we listened and observed contemporary artworks from Spain and or are just popular in Spain.  I found the music a little weird both the actual songs and the music videos that was being played.  After that we had the night free and so people scattered and went about their business.

Tuesday. - July 16th
More meetings took place today and I'm assuming the same thoughts went for these groups based on the small talk that we have had amongst one another regarding this topic.  I the morning we had language class and that I assume went the same as the way it went last time.  I both unfortunately and fortunately had to go meet up with Mario de la Fuentes and was able to get a significant amount of information regarding my topic after discussing with him he was extremely helpful.  Then later on in the day we all met up again at the Leon center and we listened to Henry Pierrot (I apologize because I can not remember his real name) talk about his book "Poetics of Cosmonauts." He gave a little bit on insight but he really was talking about the process of how his book became a movie.  I found the discussion to be intriguing and I even wrote down the URL that he provided us because I want to watch the movie.  He showed a few other things like a song a person made from one of his poems and he wrote a second book, but what I thought was funny was he only did that because he contractually obligated to write a second book and he actually doesn't want to have any part of that industry from here on out.  Afterwards we went a museum and looked at some pieces I thought a lot of them were weird and I personally was not too impressed except by a few pieces.  The one that puzzled me the most was the video of the person lying down on the beach and they were just counting it didn't make any sense.  Also there was this group there playing this game which I couldn't comprehend but they were loud.  After the museum we were free to go about our business.

Just wanted to add this in here but it's super legit that we get free meals here yea ya.

Friday, July 5, 2013

Germany reflection

Summing up my time in Germany concisely would be influential, astonishing, unique, and fun.  Arriving at Humboldt University was intriguing seeing the way they set their campus up and going into the classrooms it's funny because the initial thing I did was compare it to UW and I found their classrooms better because I had more leg room with a sufficient amount space for my notebook.  The people we have talked to have interesting but the person I found helpful to me was Romy because I was able to sit down with her and have a full conversation and she elaborated the education system to me and elucidated the questions that I had.  I can't remember who it was or when but the day I found most interesting was when we watched the film on those kids at the school and how they were trying to get back into the working force and them dealing with their social worker.  It was interesting and I found it both enlightening and frustrating at different moments because how some of the kids and staff would interact with each other.  As I progress through our time here the single moment that I was looking forward to in this trip was our visit to Sachsenhausen Concentration Camp.  Hearing the stories of some of the people that's were being confined in this hell was excruciating and it was  difficult to view their living area and their facilities and the torment that they endured it was very emotionally hard to fathom.  As we walked by where people were murdered, inhumanly it choked me up.  
When I went out by myself though was when I really felt like I was gathering the German experience.  I visited multiple parks and just soaked in the European lifestyle.  I watched kids play with their parents on random park toys that are foreign to us in the states.  I had pleasant talks with people asking where they were from and listening to their life stories and how they ended up where they are now.  I played basketball with a German and just had a pleasant conversation about sports.  I went around looking at probably over 500 different bottles of coke because I was looking for one specific name and people would come up to me and ask what I was doing and it was always fun trying to explain why I was shoving different cod bottles to the side and just making a mess, but I always cleaned up after I was done searching (unfortunately I never found the name I was truly looking fir hopefully Spain has the same thing and I'll get luckier).  When we were going out to the waffelhaus I had to try and find it myself and I must have walked around for hours trying to figure it out but I enjoyed the challenge of finding the place.  And while I arrived once everything was done I felt accomplished that I found the waffelhaus.  Another time I was walking around after our group was done I went walking around and I decided to get a haircut so I went in and I sat down with this hair stylist and the guy didn't speak any English.  Needless to say I was scared he was gonna destroy my hair because I could only communicate with hand gestures saying I just wanted my shorten my hair not a style in particular.  I loved the way it turned out and the guy was really nice.  Then on the Fourth of July it was great hanging with the group just doing stupid things it was a great night.
This trip has been life changing and it's hard to describe the emotions that I have gone through while we have been here, it just keeps getting better.  The people here have been welcoming and helpful And I now can't wait to continue our journey in Spain.

Thursday, June 27, 2013

Concentration Camp Reflection

The way I would like to start this blog posting is by me saying that my ultimate conclusion after taking our tour of the concentration is too much for words to describe but I am still going to try.

My initial feelings were mixed because I had no idea what to expect from our visit,  I have always had ideas of what a concentration camp would look like but now to actually be able to visit one was unfathomable.  Once the tour actually begun I was immediately swept away and all I could think about was all the people that had died here for a ridiculous reason and the torture that the people endured.  Reading some of the quotes one the screen from when we sat down was insane the one that stuck with me was the one about a man just wanting to run away from this place because the smell of burning flesh was beginning to drive him insane.  Looking at the enclosed areas how peels had to live toliets were crappy the beds were small and they had to be shared with three - four people and they had to sleep on straw.  Learning about how the nazis would portray a whole different pace at the frot with decorative touches such as flowers swans and other fancy things to portray a place of solace but that was the antithesis of what was truly happening behind the closed doors.  Then as we continued on and we began to see where these people were being murdered it was too much for me to handle and it was truly starting to get to get to me.  While I am a history major it's one thing to read about the event s that took place in a book it's a whole other feeling to be right in front of it.  I am truly grateful for the experience I had today and what I saw today will forever be instilled into my memories.

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Reflection on Bundestag and Reichtsag visit

I found the visit that we had to the Bundestag and Richtsag visit interesting.  The first impression that I got from the visit was from our security check, the fact that we had one surprised me.  Back when I was in 8th grade I took a school trip to the White House and I don't recall going through a security check to take for our tour of the White House.  I think this could be seen as two ways either the security that Germany installs into protecting their parliament building or the lack of security that the US has.  Once inside the building it once again made me recollect my Washington, D.C. trip because it made me think about the senate with all the chairs and the way they were arranged.  After tha though I found everything interesting with the way the building was designed it was very modern but yet it still held into certain parts of the past that were unique such as the writings on the wall.  The most intriguing part about our tour for me was what the French incorporated into the building.  The tribute to all the people from the early 1900's to 1999 that had worked in parliament it was interesting to see all the names but really topped off this part was the recognition of those that were killed during the nazi regime and also the little black box to insinuate the beginning of the nazi regime which Germany knows was their dark past.  This is proof to what professor Heide was talking about earlier how Germany does not try to cover up their past; rather they face it and acknowledge the evilness that had once stemmed from this country and all they can do now is try to make up for their past.  The whole tour I found interesting it was just this part of the tour that stuck with me and will stick with me.

Palace of Tears

Visiting the Palace of Tears was an interesting experience today.  Learning about the hardships that the people had to go through to visit friends, family, loved ones from one side of the wall to other was a ridiculous process that was strenuous.  That was apparent because you had people from the East side of the wall continuously attempt to cross over to West Germany (before the actual wall was put into place).  Then there was the problem that only people on the west side of the wall could cross over to the east side and not vice versa.  The pain people must have endured because they could only visit their loved ones for a short peer of time; you were constantly being separated it was cruel feeling of reunification.  And for those that snuck across the wall had to make crucial decisions on what to bring with them, what truly held value in their life, what to bring and what was expendable.  The pain and suffering that people experienced seems unbearable and something that I am truly grateful that I don't have to or will never have to experience.