Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Technology and Development: A Collaborative Experience

As our courses are beginning to wind down for the semester, I’ve had the opportunity to look back on one of my courses this semester; Global Studies I: Technology and Development. This course was unique for me because, unlike the class back on the Burlington campus, it was a collaborative experience between the Montreal and Dublin campuses. The mix of different experiences and perspectives among the students at both campuses is what made the class compelling. For one of my projects in this class, we were encouraged to interview a business owner in our abroad city and compare their experience with the effects of globalism.
Recently in this class, we completed our global module. The global module unit of our courses involves us opening a constructive discussion between Champlain students and students in another country. In my technology and development class, however, we opened a discussion between the two abroad campuses. I was able to share my perspective on the intrusion of international business into historic townships based on my trip to Quebec City. Interacting with the people of Montreal while sharing my thoughts with other students on the other side of the Atlantic has been a truly interesting experience.
The Dublin students had the opportunity to travel to many different countries in Europe while us Montreal students primarily remained within Canada for our travels. It is interesting however, that in our global module studies, we arrive at similar conclusions. I noticed that Montreal was a highly modernized city with many global connections. When I visited Quebec city, I was startled to find a McDonalds, most likely because Quebec city feels like a much older city. Dublin students had a similar experience. While living in Dublin and visiting London, many of them found that these cities had been highly globalized, with fast food chains all over. When they visited countries like Greece, however, they found less corporate influence, but just as much connectedness. One Champlain Abroad student even found that the son of a local shop owner was applying to a college in her home town.

Studying in Montreal has certainly made me more appreciative of multicultural and globally connected communities. Every part of Montreal feels unique and yet not isolated. I can truly say that the global modules have shown me that there are tons of communities as diverse and connected as Montreal all over the world.

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Chillin' With Traditional Games

Throughout my time in Montreal, I have had the opportunity to find unique ways of spending time with my friends. This has been especially important during the winter months. Many of us have similar interests and love to play board games and card games. Because Montreal is such a diverse city, there are many small hobby shops where our favorite games are played. We have paid several visits to stores all over the city. Some of our favorites are Le Valet D'Coeur and Carta Magica. It's very rewarding to go and play games at these locations because it allows us to interact with the French speaking population in a unique way. 

 On our first trip to Carta Magica, Dustin played in a World of Warcraft Trading Card Game tournament

 Bryan plays Magic: The Gathering against a Québécois acquaintance

Bryan actually went on to win the tournament, taking home some incredible prizes

These games allow us to bridge any language barriers because the mechanics of the games are universally understood. In addition, the communities surrounding these games are generally very tight-knit yet open and it is very easy to get involved once you demonstrate an interest in the same subject matter.

Within our apartments, we love playing large board games that span several days. It gives us an excuse to meet and share time regularly. We relax and play and share time with one another. Our favorite games seem to be space empire building games that require a ton of strategic planning and politics. 

 You can almost feel the mind-numbing complexity

We enjoy these games so much that back-room dealings often become a part of the strategy as agreements and truces are called with our allies without the knowledge of the rest of the players. 

An uneasy intragalactic truce exists between these two leaders

 Warm smiles belie cunning political strategy

As the end-of-year workload begins to increase, I'm sure that we will switch to smaller games that offer brief, yet relaxing breaks from our course work.