Category Archives: International

Sunday Sweep

Don’t have time to read in-depth reports on the major news stories of the moment? Don’t fear! Check the News Blog every Sunday afternoon for a run-down of the top stories that matter to you and where to find out more information. 

Saudi women earn the right to vote
Saudi Arabian women were granted the right to vote Sunday by King Abdullah in a move many say was prompted by the Arab Spring. Saudi women are not allowed to drive and do not have equal rights with men, but Abduallah’s decision also allows women to run for public office. It is unclear how many women will take advantage of their new freedoms, as they legally could be denied the opportunities by the men in their lives. The new law will take effect during the next nationwide local elections — in 2015.

Palestine applies for statehood
Palestinian president Mahmoud Abbas applied for Palestinian statehood and United Nations membership earlier this week amid cheers from many established UN members, despite the United States’ past promises to veto. Abbas said he wants Israel and Palestine to go back to the 1967 borders, but the Israeli government has not accepted the proposal.

Bullfighting banned in Catalonia
Sunday marked the last bullfight ever in Spain’s Catalonia region. While it is not banned in every region of Spain, many have protested, saying it is an attack on liberty. Anti-bullfight activists celebrated at the final fight, and Spain’s leading broadcaster already declared several months ago it would no longer air live bullfights because of the violence it demonstrated to children.
Check back at elonpendulum.com this week to see a photo story about bullfighting in Madrid, Spain, by international correspondent Will Anderson.

American hikers released from Iranian prison
Two American hikers have finally returned to New York on Sunday after two years of detention in an Iranian prison. The two men, Joshua Fattal and Shane Bauer, were hiking in Iraq in July 2009 when they were detained by Iranian officials for illegally entering the country. Fellow hiker Sarah Shourd was also arrested, but was released last year. The two men were recently convicted of espionage on behalf of the American government, but they have claimed they were detained specifically because of their nationality and Iran’s poor relationship with the United States government. Both Fattal and Bauer have maintained claims of innocence, saying they never intended to cross the border, and did not do so, but will never know for sure whether they actually did.

Slavery footprint
Made in a Free World has just released an iPhone app for individuals to track the amount of slave labor they support through their daily purchases. The app works based on lifestyle survey that takes inventory of an individual’s belongings and breaks each item down by the materials needed to make it.

Photo courtesy Made in a Free Wold

A pair of sneakers, for example, involves not only labor to put the product together but also labor to produce the cloth, plastic, rubber, metal and other raw materials used in manufacturing. The app is free in the iTunes store and so many people have attempted to access the site and take the survey that the organization’s servers have crashed, and are currently being upgraded to fifty times their size.

Don’t forget to like us on Facebook, follow us on Twitter and look out for our next issue, hitting campus at a newsstand near you this Wednesday.

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Correspondent’s Corner

Last week’s issue of The Pendulum did not have an International section because of spatial constraints from our Sept. 11 coverage. Check online throughout this week for additional international coverage. This week, read our correspondents’ experiences as they reflected on the Sept. 11 attacks from foreign countries.

Chelsea Vollrath
BEIJING—On the evening of Sept. 11, I made a point of going to the Catholic mass held in the basement of my dorm building to commemorate the lives lost 10 years ago and pray for the families affected.

There was a common feeling of solemnity when I walked in the room, which was only exacerbated by the priest’s homily later on in the service. He spoke of the violence and terrorism that plagues the world and then began to address the events of Sept. 11 specifically. In an open forum, he asked us to share where we were and how we felt when we heard of the attacks. There were a lot of international students present at the mass, and it was very interesting to hear their perspective on the event.

Although I wouldn’t assume that they wouldn’t have been affected in any way, I was surprised to hear how many people had still lost someone they knew and how their families had been impacted. This world is more connected than I had ever realized: the global community often discussed at Elon really does exist.

Carlton Logan
BARCELONA, SPAIN—While most of you spent last Sunday commemorating the 10th anniversary of the World Trade Center attacks in New York City, here in Barcelona another event was being commemorated in a slightly different fashion. The region of Catalonia celebrated its National Day, which recognizes the 1714 Siege of Barcelona defeat during the Spanish Succession.

In a city that seems to come alive at night and can party like noother, this past Sunday in Barcelona was nothing short of electric. As I sat down for dinner with my new Catalan family, we conversed in their tongue about some of the events of their National Day. Amongst the loud music and streets flooded with Catalonians of all different backgrounds there were speeches, ceremonies, performances, and parties of every kind. Markets of all kinds were in full force and various local events took place. In virtually every square, plaza or park you could see the national Catalan flag and an abundance of Barcelona natives, tourists and visitors. The noise of celebration began at sunrise and ended well after sunset.

We all remember where we were on the day of the Sept. 11 attacks. I, for example, remember my dad telling me when the World Trade Center had been attacked. He was picking me up from school but I was too young to know what it meant, and I was living in Jamaica at the time. But it is interesting to note how differently another group can view a day such as Sept. 11. The two sentiments were at almost opposite ends of the spectrum and I was puzzled to be present in a country where this day brought about the highest of pride, while knowing all along the mourning back home. I leave with a sense of remembrance for the victims of Sept. 11 and an appreciation of the Catalan culture.

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Correspondents’ Corner

Read what three correspondents have to say so far about their time abroad. And don’t forget to pick up a copy of The Pendulum tomorrow for news from around Elon … and around the world.

Peter Gallagher – Copenhagen, Denmark

During my first few days in Copenhagen, I was amazed to see so few overweight people. Being an American, I am accustomed to around one-third of the population being overweight. But after walking, biking, running, more biking and finally more walking through the city and to classes every day, I completely understand why everyone seems so healthy. Danes get so much exercise just by commuting around the city that it’s hard not to live an active lifestyle. Even the menu at McDonald’s seems to promote healthy living. From rye-bread sandwiches to sides of carrots, Danish fast food is much healthier than fast food in the United States.

Katie Moran – Quito, Ecuador

The amount of robberies on Americans and foreigners is astounding. The assumption is that we all have a lot of money and expensive gadgets, which is partially true. But these robbers use knives to cut open bags on crowded bus rides and use distraction methods to pickpocket you while you’re in a frenzy. In the last two days, three of my friends have been robbed. One girl’s phone was taken out of a zipped pocket in her purse. Another was wearing a secret money belt under her shirt, but someone cut open the bottom of it and stole $100 while she was distracted. Another girl left her bag with some friends in McDonald’s and three people came by and swiped it off when no one was looking. Similar things happen in places like New York, but to be subject to it all day, every day here is very tiring.

Chelsea Vollrath – Beijing, China

When he heard about my adventures abroad, my Chinese teacher from high school sent me some words of wisdom. One of the critical aspects of living in China is that “no questions means all problems,” he said. In Chinese culture, it is up to the listener to comprehend what is being said. In the United States, it is the opposite. We will ask questions if we don’t understand something because it is up to the speaker to make us understand. But in accordance with the Chinese concept of “mianzi,” or saving face, which is so important to their culture, people will deny having any questions or being confused. Even with the warning, adjusting has not been easy. It often results in incorrect food orders and uncomfortable bouts of silence. But during the past few weeks, trying to adjust to this has made me more patient. It has also given me even more motivation to improve my Chinese.

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The Pendulum Goes Abroad: Danish life

This semester, The Pendulum will be working with a select group of international correspondents in study abroad programs all around the world to bring you first-hand accounts of the stories you would otherwise only find in major newspapers. From stories investigating culture and hard-news articles to photo stories of life abroad and the correspondents’ thoughts about their experiences, we’ll have you covered. We’ll even bring you the best recipes and travel tips. Once a week until school starts, check back here at the News Blog to see the thoughts of a new correspondent as he or she gets ready to embark on a new adventure.

This week, read the story of Peter Gallagher, who left for Copenhagen, Denmark Aug. 20. Keep up with Peter and our other correspondent in Denmark, Kelly Huston, throughout the semester as they write about life in Copenhagen.

To my own dismay, my Danish experience so far has consisted of the occasional consumption of Entenmann’s Danishes and nothing else. My lack of an understanding for the culture in Denmark is the main drive and force behind my desire to learn and experience Danish culture and society this fall. Until reading the description of the program on Elon’s study abroad website, I had never considered a Scandinavian country as my destination for studying aboard. But after exploring the Danish Institute for Study Abroad website and researching the programs it offered, my mind was set.

As an Environmental Studies and Political Science double major, I feel that Copenhagen, Denmark, has the perfect combination of environmental awareness and governmental involvement for my academic interests. I have enrolled in the “Sustainability in Europe” program, with my core class revolving around sustainable development and exploring environmental, political and social issues. Taking classes relating to the processes and goals of sustainable development while studying in one of the most environmentally advanced cities in the world seems like a combination that can’t be beat. Being enrolled in two political science courses should also be very interesting, as Denmark has a very liberal and socially involved central government.

Along with my courses and academic learning experiences inside and outside the classroom, Copenhagen offers a wide variety of opportunities. I hope to be living with a host family for the semester, and this immersion into all aspects of Danish culture is both unsettling and exciting. Having the chance to truly be a part of a completely different family, thousands of miles away from my own, will hopefully allow me to look at different cultures and lifestyles in a new light. I am also excited to explore the history of Copenhagen.

As a correspondent, my hope is for Elon students to stay up-to-date on international news and to be able to draw parallels with American culture and their own lives in the United States. As Denmark is one of the most peaceful countries in the world, and its people are considered some of the happiest, my time abroad gives me a terrific educational opportunity which I hope to share with others. By the end of the semester, I hope to be knowledgeable and understanding of Danish culture, and I hope that when Elon students hear the word “Danish,” their immediate thoughts are not of stale Entenmann’s but of a remarkable Scandinavian country.

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The Pendulum Goes Abroad: Culture in Buenos Aires

This semester, The Pendulum will be working with a select group of international correspondents in study abroad programs all around the world to bring you first-hand accounts of the stories you would otherwise only find in major newspapers. From stories investigating culture and hard-news articles to photo stories of life abroad and the correspondents’ thoughts about their experiences, we’ll have you covered. We’ll even bring you the best recipes. Once a week until school starts, check back here at the News Blog to see the thoughts of a new correspondent as he or she gets ready to embark on a new adventure.

This week, read the story of Genevieve D’Cruz, double-majoring in Spanish and Religious Studies, who arrived in Buenos Aires in late July. Genevieve has been keeping an almost daily blog, so be sure to check it out to follow up on her adventures: http://gendcruz.wordpress.com/

Argentine Congress in Buenos Aires. Photo by Genevieve D'Cruz.

I knew since age 15 that Buenos Aires, Argentina was going to be the place I would study abroad in college. Applying to universities without a Buenos Aires program was not even an option on college visits. I was, and still am, intrigued by the political, social, and cultural history of the country. The Dirty War is one of my favorite subjects to learn about to date. Now that I am finally here, I am more than ready to dive into what this country has to offer. As I chronicle my journey throughout my stay in Buenos Aires, I plan to go to as many museums as I can, and talk to as many locals as possible.

Through my correspondence with the Pendulum, Elon students will be able to learn a little more about the issues and events going on in Argentina today. I hope to write about the Mothers of the Plaza de Mayo (Las Madres de la Plaza de Mayo), a group of mothers and grandmothers who march in the Plaza de Mayo every Thursday in protest to government officials kidnapping their children and grandchildren (Los Desaparecidos) in the 1970s.

Argentina’s presidential elections will be taking place in October 2011 and I hope to capture different views and opinions on the various Argentine presidential candidates by conversing with locals and photographing grafitti and ad campaigns around Buenos Aires. The social and cultural background of the country are perhaps the most influential in terms of shaping the societal norms of Argentina and as culture and society are what most significantly affect people, I intend to explore the numerous social and cultural customs and define this beautiful country.

Keep an eye out early this semester for a photo story Genevieve is currently compiling about the election campaigns in Argentina.

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The Pendulum Goes Abroad: Ecuador – Fact or fiction?

This semester, The Pendulum will be working with a select group of international correspondents in study abroad programs all around the world to bring you first-hand accounts of the stories you would otherwise only find in major newspapers. From stories investigating culture and hard-news articles to photo stories of life abroad and the correspondents’ thoughts about their experiences, we’ll have you covered. We’ll even bring you the best recipes. Once a week until school starts, check back here at the News Blog to see the thoughts of a new correspondent as he or she gets ready to embark on a new adventure.

This week, read the story of Katie Moran, a music theatre major headed to Quito, Ecuador Aug. 16.

Katie Moran. Photo courtesy of Moran.

Ecuador is not your average travel destination among college students and those wishing to study abroad. In fact, more often than not, people give me puzzled looks or ask me to repeat myself when I tell them I’m spending my next semester in Quito.

So why did I choose Ecuador of all places?

To be honest, I don’t know. Before applying to the program, I had no previous knowledge of the country aside from the fact that they speak Spanish. But that’s the beauty of studying abroad in my opinion. I wanted to go someplace that I could have no preconceived notions about, and Ecuador is full of mysteries to me.

Having the summer to plan and prepare for the upcoming semester has proved both exciting and detrimental to my sanity. With all the free time at home, my imagination and curiosity has run wild at the thought of my new host family, the university, taking all my classes in Spanish and the culture shock that comes with living abroad. To say that I am nervous is an understatement. But I fully believe that we must do things that scare us. For me, it’s studying abroad and trying to communicate in a foreign language. For others, it may be sky-diving or eating alligator. I think it’s so important to have as many adventures and experiences as possible in order to be the best version of ourselves that we can be, which is why I welcome this next semester as an exciting change of scenery and point of view.

Luckily, I am no stranger to travel, as my family moved to England when I was twelve. But the idea of going to the equator alone is definitely scary. Thankfully, one other Elon student is also venturing there as well, but since the program is small, I feel confident we will get an authentic experience far different from my days in jolly old England.

I’m so intrigued by the differences and similarities in culture and relationships. While I’m in Quito, I want to write about the relevance and importance of family, the experience of holidays, celebrations and traditions and how Ecuador views the United States in terms of our politics and reputation–they are the only country in South America that uses the U.S. dollar, and I’m interested in learning more about the relationship between the two countries.

Overall, I plan to relay the essence of Ecuadorian life through my articles during the next few months, and I could not be more excited. I hope my accounts inspire others to seek that which they are intrigued and afraid of. I hope there are fascinating parallels between Ecuadorian students and ourselves and I hope Quito is as wildly enticing to you as it is to me.

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