I wanted to take some time today to talk to you all about a course that I feel like I don't talk about enough that I'm taking this semester - Global Communication and Culture. It's a 200-level MJD course taught by Professor Hyde about various aspects of the world, ranging from communication to music to food. It's been an eye-opening class for me because I've never taken such a multi-faceted class at Saint Mike's while learning so much about different parts of the world and other cultures. I'm always interested and engaged in class, and it always goes by so quick!
Now I know what some of you may be thinking - if you've explored the MJD major a bit and talked to some students who major or minor in it, you've probably heard about Global Comm. being challenging and a lot of work. That's not a lie, it definitely is. Taking it at the same time as my senior seminar has been anything but easy, but it's also been such a rewarding experience. For a big project in the class, you have to design a website using either Adobe Dreamweaver or Adobe Flash about a country in the world that is randomly assigned to you. Not only do you design this website, but you also research a ton of information on it ranging from political and ethnic tensions to dominant forms of media use.
For my country, I got Myanmar - a quickly developing country in southeast Asia that has had its fair share of struggles in its lifetime. I never thought I could learn so much about another country in the world so quickly - sometimes I think I know more about Myanmar now than I do about the U.S. because of this project! Myanmar has been ruled by a militaristic government for a number of years, but has recently fought for democracy with some success (and I mean recently as in the last decade or so). Furthermore, Myanmar is battling religious tensions between Buddhists and Muslims as well as huge class and economic tensions between rural areas and more rapidly evolving urban areas like Yangon and Mandalay.
The point of this post is to not believe everything you see in popular media, especially tourism and marketing campaigns, about certain countries. These sorts of campaigns aim specifically at westerners much of the time in order to get them to visit the country, so of course they're going to show you what you want to see, but the reality is that much of Myanmar is not like the pretty photoshopped pictures. Don't get me wrong, Myanmar is a beautiful place with some really amazing people from all different backgrounds, but it's time that we acknowledged the realities of a place over what we want to see. This goes for any country. Please do your research before going anywhere and never take what you see off of tourism websites to be the whole truth.
For those of you who are interested in this class from what I've said, I highly recommend you take it! It's required for both MJD majors and minors, but even if you're not either of those, you could try to talk to Professor Hyde and see what he thinks! He's a great professor and it's one of the most interesting classes I've ever taken at Saint Mike's hands down.