GodisPerfect spent eight weeks studying in Alicante, Spain studying Spanish grammar, conversation, and pop culture at the CIEE Study Center based in the University of Alicante. During her time in Spain, GodisPerfect closely studied Spain’s history and culture, from religion to politics. She learned of the long-lived religious tussle between Christians and Muslims over the sovereignty of Spain, even visiting El Castillo de Santa Barbara once used as holding center for prisoners of war. She learned the significance of Spanish holidays, what they entail, and the parts of history or society they reflect, such as Moros y Cristianos. GodisPerfect was fortunate enough to experience Spain during and after mayoral elections. She learned about the major political parties, like PP and PSOE, and their stances on staple matters. In person, she witnessed a rally of supporters of the newly elected mayor of Madrid at Madrid’s city hall, while opponents gathered in protest across the street. The Spanish colloquialisms learned from Spanish locals and professors helped GodisPerfect build confidence in her spanish speaking and understanding abilities and helped her reach her goal of fluency. She immersed herself in the culture by asking questions, holding interviews with locals, and participating in popular activities, such as watching a soccer game at a sports bar, going to a fish market, and taking a Flamenco class. In her free time, she visited monuments such as El Museo del Prado en Madrid, El Palacio Real, Temple of Debod, Almudena Cathedral, and Puerta De Alcala. She embraced cultural exchange through the long-lasting connections she made with her host family, fellow students in her program, and frequent tram users, as she became one herself. She exposed herself to ideas and sentiments about America in hopes to verify their degree of truth. With this, she was able to shape her own views on Spain, and take on the world with an open mind.
CEE Title: Arcadia Stands Against Sexual Assault
Arcadia University’s 2019 cohort focused our CEE on the issue of sexual harassment in and outside of the United States. We firstly asked Arcadians to define sexual harassment as best they could with the knowledge they had on the topic. We then clearly defined the terms sexual harassment and sexual assault, drawing similarities between the them but being sure to point out the differences. In our CEE, we presented statistics surrounding this topic, and considered how factors such as race, gender, and sexuality affected them. The members of my cohort and I identified social norms in our respective host countries that possibly contribute to the perpetuation of sexual harassment. We then compared those norms to some evident in the United States, such a victim shaming. So as to shift the presentation to an open discussion, we guided attendees through scenarios of sexual harassment based on true stories. We welcomed reactions, concerns, and questions before and after we revealed the outcomes of each case. We also compared national sexual harassment statistics on college campuses to those of the workforce, since securing jobs in their professions is the next step for many Arcadians. We touched upon laws and policies regarding sexual harassment in our host countries, in the United States, and specifically in Arcadia. We also walked attendees through Arcadia’s response system in place for cases of sexual harassment and how to report sexual harassment with the Title IX office. We then offered contact information to campus offices for attendees that needed the services. After our presentation, the director of public safety demonstrated effective ways to disarm and/or struggle free from an attacker. In our closing remarks, we restated the message that flowed throughout our CEE: beware of the culture you create, because it is what determines what is acceptable and what is not.