In-Depth Assignment Write-Up Blog #4

This blog post will be an in-depth write-up of one of my study abroad assignments. The most recent assignment we had in Intercultural Negotiations was an evaluation of our communication styles. The evaluation was a questionnaire that gaged our responses to different situations. At the end, my results for the questionnaire showed that I had an analytical communication style. Some of the strengths that were pointed out were that I am a thinker, am thorough, and disciplined. I agree with all these characteristics. Whenever I want to get things done, I think about all the ways that I could accomplish it and often like to draw things up to have a visual of what I want. I am very thorough because I like to make sure things are right and I do not have to go back and redo it. I am disciplined in the fact that I stay on task and do not tend to multitask so that I can focus all my attention on one thing. Some of the weaknesses that were pointed out about my communication style was exclude feelings from decisions, too demanding of other and myself, as well as being perfectionist but I do not see that as a weakness. I am always being told that I do not use feelings to make decisions, but I think that is the best way to do. When we make decisions void of feelings, we are more apt to make sound decisions that are for the good of everyone and not just the product of temporary feelings. I can be too demanding of others sometimes, but I think that just ties into my perfectionist character trait. I want things to be done exactly as they should and that cannot be done if everyone working with me does their best. If people are not going to put their best foot forward, I would rather work by myself. I’m an introvert so working alone doesn’t bother me at all. Most times I prefer it. I really liked this assignment because I never really considered my communication. I just know that I am not a talker so I knew I would not get the communication styles Driver and Expressive. I feel as if I fit most of the description of an analyst. I am specific and task oriented. I take a systematic approach to problems and strive for perfection. I am very precise when I work. According to the description that was given for the analyst communicator, I am not a risk taker, loves details, fears being embarrassed, and often and introvert. I can see these qualities in myself, but I think they work well for me. I am successful in everything I do, and I think that comes from how I handle things and make decisions. Something interesting that stood out to me was that it said that my symbol was the owl. The report did not have a description, so I wondered what it meant and looked it up. An owl symbolizes wisdom, knowledge, change, transformation, and intuitive development. I think this is an accurate description of how I see myself. In my family, I’m the one everyone comes to, so I see myself as wise as an owl because people appreciate and look up to me.

La Tirana Festival in Chile

By: Emmy Tran

This time I want to go further and out of Santiago city because I have found a unique festival called La Tirana Festival or La Tirana Virgin Festival in northern Chile. 

See the source image

La Tirana Festival is the biggest Chilean celebration for the religion. It is held in the second week of July every year, in the small town of La Tirana, located in the Tarapacá region.  This festival lasts for 4-10 days. However, for this year 2021, the celebration will begin on Thursday, July 15th at 10 pm and finishes on Friday, July 19th. The event attracts more than 200,000 visitors while the population of the village is around 1,200 inhabitants. They come to the festival in La Tirana,  the Tarapacá region to honor exclusive gratitude to the patron saint of Chile, La Virgen del Carmen. They can enjoy dancing with the performances.   

There is a historical story behind the La Tirana Festival. In 1540, an Incaican Princess, named Huillac Humu or La Tirana (in English, tyrant) met a Spanish expedition in Chile with the leader Diego de Almagro. These expeditors as her hostiles and she was known as La Tirana or the tyrant in English. Ironically, she extremely fell in love with Almeyda, one of her Spanish prisoners, and wanted to marry him. Therefore, her community was angry and killed both of them. A century later, around 1650, a hermitage was built next to the cross of her grave by Antonio Rondon. It could be a reason that the little town and church were created in the 18th century in this place. It could be considered a historical relic of the people of this place, so a museum was also formed in front of the church in La Tirana. Nowadays, they hold a festival annually to commemorate the Virgin of Carmen with many traditions related to the historic significance of the native Andean people. 

During the La Tirana Virgin Festival,  many religious ceremonies are held with musical instruments, singing, dancing performances, parades, and firework. Two major roles in this event are the beauties and devils. The beautiful groups dress both traditional costumes and glitter colorful customers. They are combined with about 200 different dancing groups from many places gathered to fulfill the promise with the Virgin of Carmen that they come back and visit her to receive her blessings. In contrast, other groups wear the masks of devils which is incredible, but scary at the same time for some people. The masks are scary because of the convex eyes, curved horns, and bright colors. Besides, the Danza de Los Diablos ( Dance of the Devils), uses fearsome masks, the most important parts of the festival. These devil-style costumes are a symbol for eliminating demon spirits and bad lucks. The contrast between righteousness and evil makes this festival unique.

Devil masks in La Tirana Festival

This cultural event is very interesting to me. When I saw their mask pictures, it reminded me of Chinese Buddhist culture. Devil masks are symbolized by bad images of people who did terrible things in their past lives, so the signification of Chinese masks is completely different from the masks of the La Tirana Festival. However, both cultures dress very similarly. At first, I thought it was a Chinese festival in Chile, but it was not. I was a little bit surprised about Chilean culture. Therefore, I want to share with other students to know more about indigenous Chileans.

Detailed write-up on The Grand-Place, Brussels Belgium

Written by: Angela Arnold

For my latest blog post, I have decided to revisit one of my previous writings on cultural and historical encounters. This specific cultural and historical center is named The Grand-Place, located in Brussels, Belgium. For context, this square became a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1998 and is now the most popular location for tourists to visit in all of Belgium. It was once used as a trading square and marketplace, which is why all streets leading to The Grand-Place are named after foods and spices. The architecture surrounding the square has been influenced by the Baroque, Gothic, and Louis XIV eras. The square is surrounded on all sides by guild houses, the City Hall, and the Maison du Roi. In terms of historical events, one of the most famous historical references to this square is from 1523 when the Inquisition publicly burned two Protestant martyrs, Hendrik Voes and Jan Van Essen in front of a large crowd. In recent years, the square holds events throughout all seasons. A Christmas tree goes up in the square every December, the Flower carpet (a literal ‘carpet’ of more than 500.000 begonias) is held every 2 years in mid-August, along with farmers markets and countless concerts throughout the year. The original landscape architect of the first carpet in 1971 was E. Stautemans who hoped to promote begonias which have been intensively cultivated in and near Ghent since 1860. In terms of what to do once you are in the square, there are countless options since The Grand-Place is pretty much in the middle of the city. There is a Starbucks, a CBD shop, a 16th century themed tavern, a beer museum displaying antique equipment, a statue of 14th century Brussels hero Everard ‘T Serclaes, the current day Brussels Town Hall and a row of period-guild maisons. How to choose?

The Grand-Place is said to be the most beautiful squares in all of Europe. Its beauty was even quoted by Archduchess Isabella, daughter of Philip II of Spain who wrote about the square during her visit to Brussels on September 5, 1599 saying “Never have I seen something so beautiful and exquisite as the town square of the city where the town hall rises up into the sky. The decoration of the houses is most remarkable.” Some of the earliest remarks made on the square dated prior to the 11th century when the site was a sand bank which ran downhill toward the Senne river. When the sandbank was reclaimed the land transformed into a lower market. By the time of the 12th century it had become a commercial hub between France and Cologne. Later on during the Middle Ages, rich families started building stone mansions, turning the market into the main administrative and commercial center of the city.  The three most well known maisons are the Town Hall, the Bread House and the House of the Dukes of Brabant. It is estimated that the Town Hall was constructed between 1402 and 1455 and at the top of its highest tower stands a statue of St. Michaels, the patron of Brussels. The Bread House is opposite the Town Hall and currently houses the City Museum. This site originally housed a wooden structure where bakers sold their bread. Then in 1405 the wooden structure was replaced by a stone building and was used for administrative purposes by the Duke of Brabant. The House of the Dukes of Brabant was actually a group of seven houses, each with its own respective name: The Fame, The Hermit, The Fortune, The Windmill, The Tin Pot, The Hill and The Beurs. Even though this row of maisons is called the House of the Dukes of Brabant, no duke or king ever actually lived in any of these homes. Now the square is adored by all who visit!

Deep Dive into Current Affairs in Latin America

The class that I will be discussing is my Current Affairs in Latin America course. The class is in its third week and is briefly covering history in Chile because it is crucial to know the past to understand the present.
The first topic that we have discussed was Salvador Allende Gossen. He was the first Marxist to be elected to the National Presidency of a liberal democracy. During his time as president, he pursued a policy called “The Chilean Way to Socialism”. The first main idea is a leftist view that large scale industries should be nationalized and controlled by the government. In Chile’s case, this meant the Copper industry, health care system, land distribution, and education. The US Mining Ops in Chile was one company that was fully nationalized. While he received widespread support in Chilean congress, problems began to arise. The first was that his policies had strong opposition from different interest groups. Another issue Allende encountered was that his coalition was not united. The Socialist Party, Communist Party, Radical left, and Christian left all had different ideologies as how to improve the social economical welfare of Chile’s lowest class of citizens. While Chile saw beneficial outcomes at first, more problems soon followed. The Chilean government’s fiscal deficit soared while foreign reserves declined, which lead to a rise in black markets. The price of copper had also fallen. Furthermore, the Christian Democrats, who were once part of Allende’s coalition, opposed Allende’s social programs. As confrontational strikes began in 1972, political life became incredibly polarized under Allende. Congress then began to pass a resolution against Allende’s government. In short, a variety of problems led to political unrest during Allende’s presidency, especially a lack of unity within Chile.
After Salvador Allende Gossen’s presidency, Chile began a series of economic transformations under the military government. The justification for the military government was that Allende’s government was unconstitutional. Its main objectives were to “rescue Chile from Communism” through social, economic and political means to start reconstruction of the country. Through this, the government had goals to: Re-establish law and order of the country, reconstruct the economic and social order, and to establish and study a new institution. This was not the case, because there were multiple issues under Pinochet’s military government. Many citizens died in urban combat, as well as numerous human rights abuses. The Secret Police operated against opposition groups and violated the human rights of Chilean citizens while they used national security as an excuse. The country also went through a depression with no foreign reserves and a rapidly falling GDP. In short, the military government did not improve the quality of life for its citizens after overthrowing Allende. Instead, it used fear to manipulate and harm its citizens from having free thoughts that may oppose the government.
We have only recently begun to talk about current events that have happened. I am very excited for these upcoming topics because I feel well prepared to talk about them. All in all, the class is going very well and has had plenty to offer.

One of Chilean Current Events

    By: Emmy Tran

For this blog post this week, a sensitive topic about Chile came up on my laptop screen and made me think of sharing it with other students. It is from the article: “Chile protest anniversary turns violent as churches burned, police fire tear gas”- Reuters. I noticed the Chilean protests started in October 2019 through the media posts of my Chilean friends. Still, I am more curious why it happened in Chile again during COVID-19 in 2020. This article was published after the anniversary, which was six months ago. I focus on this topic because I would like to discover Chile’s issues where my abroad school (UFT) is located and have a better understand their politics. 

 The article is about the protest in Santiago, Chile, on October 18, 2020. Thousands of Chilean citizens gathered in Santiago’s central square for the first anniversary of a mass protest. Actually, the Chilean citizens were unhappy with the rising fare of the public metro subway, which was the most convenient with the cheap fee for transportation to Chileans. They also wanted a new constitution to replace the one written in 1980 during the reign of August Pinochet, a military dictator of Chile from 1973-1990. Besides, Chileans protested for the inequality and cost of living. That was why protests and looting in the metro station in 2019. Rebellions and looting were also inevitable on October 18, 2020. The anniversary in Chile was because of an upcoming October 25 constitutional referendum in 2020. Chilean citizens in all cities and Chile, including Santiago, have called for a “yes” vote for the event against the country’s dictatorship-era Constitution. The moment of peace was just the beginning of the protest. Then they started to ramp up the violence and robbery of the supermarket and clash with the police. Interior Minister Victor Perez said it would punish all rioters and vandals in these protests. There were threats against a mayor of the Communist Party, and masked men set fire to police headquarters and churches, including Santiago’s Capital. On that night, Santiago became suffocated with smoke. The event drew around 25,000 people at 6 p.m. Some of them were covered up in COVID-19.

           This Chilean event may recall everyone about a similar event in the United States with the protests started in summer 2020. That is why I feel more connected to this article. Santiago’s rallies began from October 2019 to March 2020 because of the pandemic, so they stopped the protests. However, they did the anniversary later last year, and the demonstration occurred again. In my perspective, peaceful demonstrations are good enough to persuade the government to give our voice. Still, it is unacceptable if it turns into riot and business robbery. Chilean citizens and their government seemed not concordant. It can cause the downside of the economy for this country. I know how other people who did not attend the riots feel because I experienced it in the U.S last summer. I felt unsafe due to COVID-19 and robbery around my area. In Decatur, there were several robberies in Kroger and BestBuy during the summer. Businesses are the most vulnerable to this terrorism. 

After reading this article, I feel sad for Chile and the people over there. I hope that the governments and people could trust and help each other keep the country safer. An intelligent leader gives more opportunities to their people to live better, so I also hope Chilean citizens would win for their rights in this term. 

In-depth write-up on current event post on Belgium & COVID-19

Posted by: Angela Arnold

For this blog post, I have decided to return to my first current event post that I wrote at the beginning of this semester regarding how Belgium is handling the COVID-19 situation. The AP article that I featured discussed the travel restrictions preventing Belgians from leaving the country for leisure purposes. The Prime Minister of Belgium enacted the ban due to concerns of the quickly approaching vacation season, when many Belgians travel south to the ski slopes or to the beach. At the time of the article’s publication, Belgium had reported more than 650,000 confirmed COVID-19 infections and over 20,000 deaths.

As I write this article in the end of March 2021, much has changed in Belgium. The total number of confirmed cases in Belgium has risen to 866,063. The Brussels Time reported that over the past two weeks, 504.9 infections were confirmed per 100,000 inhabitants, which is a 67% increase compared to the two weeks before. In terms of vaccinations, 13.1% of the population aged 18 and older have received one of the doses, while 5.4% of the entire adult population have been fully vaccinated. Belgium’s ban on non-essential leisurely travels and vacations outside of the country also remains and will continue through the end of the month. As the Easter holiday approaches, outdoor gatherings could be the go-to for many Belgian families. However, restrictions were just put in place to lower the maximum number of adults permitted to gather outdoors from 10 to 4 in anticipation of the holiday. 

Even though I am a remote student, I received an email from the university that I study at in Belgium, Artevelde University, confirming that classes that campus will return to being off-limits for students. I remember when I started the semester in early February that everyone was very optimistic that all courses would be in-person or hybrid by the end of March/early April. Unfortunately due to the slow vaccine rollout, the faculty and my fellow students realized within the last few weeks that opening up campus to in-person learning is simply unrealistic in our current setting. Now their hope is to try to reopen by May, but it will most certainly be a waiting game. 

Also this week, Artevelde International Club put together social Teams rooms for international and domestic students to get to know one another. I was paired with two awesome Belgian students and we had a great and dynamic conversation. We got to the subject of COVID-19, and both of them expressed frustration at the possibility of waiting until winter 2021 before the government will open vaccine appointments to their age group. They said this is in part due to a slow response from the political leadership of the country. We also discussed the difference in school attitudes towards the pandemic. I expressed that I was really proud of my university for their continued handling of COVID-19 on campus, and that I sincerely appreciated the options given to all students regarding the flexibility of choosing to come to campus or to learn from home. I told these two Belgian students that in the U.S., it is up to each institution to decide how they wish to handle their pandemic response. Some schools like Harvard for example, are completely remote and don’t offer on-campus classes; while most other universities in the country are promoting some sort of a hybrid version and letting their students choose which option they are most comfortable with. Both Belgian students expressed that they wished Belgian universities listened to their students in giving them the freedom to choose, but they said that the current education minister is somewhat corrupt and won’t listen to any student suggestions because he is only focused on primary and secondary education levels. Even though the subject matter was a bit grim, I overall felt that it was a fantastic discussion and I believe I am much more aware of the COVID-19 situation there and how it continues to affect the everyday Belgian.

Culture and History of the MAVI

A cultural and historical encounter in Chile is the MAVI. The full name is Museo Arqueologico de Santiago which signifies that it is an archaeology museum. However, there are displays of art submitted on both a national and international level. The MAVI was inaugurated in April 2001 and has had quite the reputation. According to the museum’s website, there are a variety of exhibits and even some cultural objects such as clothing, hats, jewelry and baskets from Chile that date as far back as 1000 BC. Depending on when I would visit, I would have the opportunity to attend a guided tour, concert, and even a workshop within the Museum. The MAVI also has exhibits for temporary art, which would be interesting to observe and compare to the typical American art museums that I am used to. The MAVI also has plenty of cultural artifacts that would help me learn about Chile in a historical aspect. I would highly recommend the MAVI to my local Millikin students because the Museum seems like it has a lot to offer. It has a great location, great exhibits, and numerous opportunities for those who may not particularly be fond of museums. Overall, this would be one of the more memorable things to do in Chile.

The MAVI is quite interesting because while I am sure there is an American counterpart, there is no archaeology museum that also displays contemporary art while maintaining such a reputation. In an El Mostrador article, plenty of artists discuss the importance and significance of the museum and what it has done for the community, as well as the artists themselves. César Gabler is an artist who obtained the 2018 MAVI grant. He calls the package an “unbeatable stimulus” that has allowed him to focus on the development of his project.

The amount of money in required for Gabler’s project made me question the necessity and practicality of the MAVI. Obviously, the museum sees a lot of foot traffic and notable artwork, but I continued to wonder what the museum offered that made it worth investing in. After a lot of research and digging on the museum’s website, I found two main reasons that the museum should continue to function. The first main reason is that it brings in tourists like me. The arts are always enjoyable to experience, but it is a completely different experience when it is in a foreign place. If I were to physically be in Chile right now, I would want to make the most of my experience due to my limited time. These tourist destinations are a great way to draw in visitors so that they will not only spend money in the area, but also recommend the trip to others. The appreciation of culture is another aspect of the museum that gives it value. Learning about culture through the museums exhibits is not only educational, but also entertaining. In short, the MAVI is just one example that Santiago has a lot to offer for its visitors.

Erik Labroo Current Events in Chile

The current event that I chose to read up on was in regard to COVID-19 and its impact in Chile. One article that I read was titled “Death brings assault on health care workers in Chile”. At first, one may believe that it is assault in a figurative sense regarding the intense stress put on health care workers due to the virus, but in actuality, it was a literal assault on a nurse. Between 12 and 18 people entered the hospital and broke furniture, a computer, and other property while also throwing water and verbally attacking the staff. This was because the family wanted to have a funeral for their father who passed away due to the coronavirus but were not allowed to because protocol. Eventually, the family was allowed to say goodbye, but even this was outside of the hospital’s set of rules.
The family also stated that they did not believe in COVID-19, which is an explanation for the intensity of their actions. Dr. Mauricio Munoz talks about the difficulty that health care workers must go through. Chile has seen more than 4,000 daily cases. He mentions that with the increasing number of people who test positive, the cases become more and more complex which leads to loss.
There has also been protests for more security. While the government has denounced violence against health care workers, there is still a push more policing at health facilities. The point was also made that health care workers are already at risk by exposing themselves to the virus, and that the attacks are just another issue to worry about. A nurse even commented that some of her colleagues are on stress leave and even medication because of the pandemic and hostility they face.
In even more recent news, Santiago (where UFT is located) has gone into a lockdown because of the high number of cases. While I received most of the information by talking to professors in class, I also read an article titled “Chile Locks Down Santiago With Cases Near Pandemic Worst”. The article mostly talks about how despite the fact that most of Chile’s population has been vaccinated, there are still a large number of cases. Furthermore, the article did not mention anything about the stressful environment that healthcare workers are put into because of the pandemic.
It makes me wonder that Chile may be seeing a large increase in the number of cases because of people that do not believe in the virus, like the family aforementioned. I have not read any article or heard anything that Chileans share the “anti-vax” mentality that some Americans have, so I wonder if the virus is spreading simply because of people who refuse to take it seriously. Furthermore, there may be those that have gained overconfidence in the idea that Chile is one of the world leaders when it comes to percentage of citizens vaccinated. It is always interesting to learn from other countries, and apply the lessons they’ve learned to life at home.

Intercultural Business Challenges in Latin America Course at UFT, Chile

By: Emmy Tran

Intercultural Business Challenges in Latin America course is one of my study abroad courses at Finis Terrae University (UFT), Chile. It is interesting to me because I can deeply explore Latin American economies and their challenges in intercultural business. This course is a chance for me to input my knowledge of doing global business for my future career. Fortunately, I do not worry about Spanish because the professor uses English. The class started last week, so I have not learned much about it. However, my Chilean professor gave me detailed information about the course, and I am also excited to study this course as a team group.

Beginning the class, the professor explained the purposes of the course. In the Intercultural Business Challenges in Latin America course,  I will have a better understanding of the business environment in Latin America. Then I can identify cultural issues affecting stakeholders on the region’s business. In addition, this course provides me with knowledge of the impacts and dynamics of globalization and the changing nature of the global economy. Through the history, politics, culture, attitudes, and economies of nations, I am able to realize the importance of culture in international business. I will learn more about how and why different management styles around the world and lead different relationships in navigating cultures and economies on this course. It helps identify cultural barriers as they occur in Latin American countries. This course is broad as it teaches in both global and Latin American economies. It was more than my expectations for this course.

This course style of teaching is similar to Millikin University courses, but it is also slightly different. During the first days of class, the professor invites other professors or guest speakers to present the globalization economy and Chilean history and economy. Then he requires students to do the reports from these presentations on that day with the teammates. This course’s grades include mid-term, written reports from speakers, team presentations/cases, and a final team project. For this class, everything will be done by a team of two members.  There are four primary books and some articles that need to be read before class. He also gives us the links to find these articles. Millikin University also does so. Therefore, it is helpful for me to adapt to the Chilean professor’s teaching style. The differences are in the ways they deliver the material or lesson to the students through “Documents,” used as Moodle in the U.S. I get used to following lessons or assignments on Moodle at Millikin University. However, this course does not assign the lessons followed by dates on “Documents.” That is why I feel a bit inconvenient in the first few days. Now, everything else is good for me.  

In short, my study journey seemed very adventurous as I have experienced American and Chilean cultures and now gain knowledge of Latin American economies and globalization. Many people have never had many opportunities to explore other countries like me. In Intercultural Business Challenges in Latin America course,  I can understand why cross-cultural barriers pop up more often in Latin American countries and identify and manage the different cultures for domestic and foreign businesses in these countries and globally.

Diving Deep Into European Business at Artevelde University

By: Angela Arnold

A deep dive into one of my study abroad courses: I began virtual classes at Artevelde University in Belgium about a month ago. I am enrolled in two courses which are People Management and European Business. Of the two, European Business has been my favorite thus far. My professor has had an extensive career working in many European businesses and at the European Parliament. She is also quite an inspiration as she speaks 8 languages and has 2 small children at home. European Business only meets once a week and the majority of the class is lecture based. At the middle and end of the class every week we meet with other students in random breakout rooms to discuss the topics and our relevant experiences. Since these courses do not assign homework, a large part of our grade is based on the work we do in our semester team assignment. We were assigned to groups of 6 and as a team we will work throughout the semester to provide a research paper and presentation on a European business sector. My team has chosen the real estate sector and the research that we have completed thus far has been very dynamic and interesting, especially the variances by location. 

Another difference is with the class setup. As I said we do not receive homework, so our grade is based fifty percent on the team assignment and then fifty percent on the final exam. This is a big shift for me as I am used to the U.S. course structure of having multiple quizzes, tests, and a midterm exam. Since U.S. based educational institutions generally do not teach students about European businesses unless they specialize in it, I came in with a limited background of knowledge. What I knew came from reading the paper or watching the nightly news, so compared to my European classmates I had somewhat of a disadvantage. Within the first week the professor gave us website resources focused on European business and current affairs which I read at least twice a week now. Some of the topics that we have discussed up to this point include institutions of the European Union, the single European market, competition policies, European Union consumer rights and how to contact the European Consumers Centres (ECC-Net). We also spend the first half hour of class discussing current affairs in order to understand the impacts they could have on business and trade. 

In comparison to classes that I have taken at Millikin, I have noticed that courses at Artevelde are much more relaxed. They are focused on ensuring that you understand the content and take good notes rather than piling on homework assignments. I am so used to having homework every night that I feel like I’m missing something or that I have forgotten to do my homework. I compensate for that feeling by taking thorough notes and reading European news articles often. For future students interested in studying at Artevelde, I would absolutely recommend it because the pace is much different. I also suggest taking European Business and perhaps a language course if you’re interested in the Dutch, German or French languages.