Shaylin McGuire spent four weeks in London, England studying human rights and wrongful convictions. Her classes involved a mix of reading texts, briefing criminal cases, listening to guest speakers, intellectual discussions, and debates. These classes gave Shaylin the opportunity to speak with victims of wrongful convictions and human rights activists that have fought for change in the world. When she wasn’t in class, Shaylin was able to explore the beautiful sights of London and nearby cities. She visited Stonehenge and Bath, where she was enriched with the history of both historical sights. Shaylin also saw Big Ben, the London Eye, and Buckingham Palace on a guided walking tour. When Shaylin had a free weekend, her and her new friends took a train to Canterbury where they walked down streets full of life and cultural experiences. They also stopped at the beautiful gardens of Canterbury that were just past the castle. Shaylin was then lucky enough to experience the surreal sight of the White Cliffs of Dover, which is where she saw the most breathtaking views.
On one of Shaylin’s field activities for her courses, she visited Old Bailey and was able to sit in on a criminal court hearing where she listened to the prosecution give an opening statement. During that same day, Shaylin went to Parliament and took an audio tour with her class. They visited the House of Commons and the House of Lords while learning about the English government and how it has become what it is today.
All of these trips proved to be amazing experiences for Shaylin, and her international experience helped her to understand cultural differences in a real sense for the first time. She quickly learned how to become accustomed to the different ways of living in another country, which provided her with skills that can be useful in many more contexts.
CEE Title: “Who Gets to be American?”
My CEE was titled “Who Gets to be American?” and it focused on addressing issues surrounding national identity. The event began with attendees mingling and trying foods from each of our respective countries while we allowed time for everyone to arrive. We had a panel of four professors from Robert Morris University, some of whom were international professors. Our panelists were asked a set of questions that addressed topics including national identity, perspectives of Americans, and implicit biases. The professors answered each question based on their international studies, while also including their own experiences with the topics at hand. We first asked one professor to explain his research on national identity and what is distinctive about Americans ‘sense of identity. From there, we asked each international professor if they considered themselves Americans after living in the states for several years now, and how they view Americans. This conversation led to another conversation that addressed how their perspectives of America have changed after experiencing the American lifestyle for some time. After this, our panel began discussing national identity and how that relates to race and ethnicity, as well as misconceptions of Americans that other countries believe to be true. These questions were especially important because they addressed challenges that my group and I faced while abroad, so the panelists were able to explain the concepts to attendees and give advice on how to handle certain situations. We ended the panel discussion by asking what motivated our panelists to live in America and why the concept of national identity is important to understand. Our CEE event concluded with everyone talking informally afterward about the discussion, and some attendees shared their thoughts with me about the subject.