Kasey McIntosh studied abroad in Lima, Perú for 5 weeks over the summer, studying Business, Literature and the Spanish Language, with a focus on the current socio-political and economic status of Perú. Through her classes at the University of the Pacific, she was able to meet with local business owners to discuss their goals as well as the strategies for attaining them. Kasey was able to obtain a better understanding of the complexities of the politics in developing countries by speaking with the shop owners and artisans who are experiencing the difficulties of running a business in a society with little to no opportunity for upward mobility. One of her most memorable experiences in Perú was visiting a shelter for children who were brought in for repreated drug violations. She was able to spend the day with the children, helping them with their work, playing and getting to know them. Speaking to the volunteers was a very powerful experience, as she was made more aware of how wide-spread these issues were, as well as how under-funded programs like Mundo Libre are. Kasey's program provided exciting excursions with great opportunities for enrichment, like spending the afternoon at an hacienda from the 1600's, or an origional Inca house. Outside of class time, Kasey could often be found exploring the different districts of Lima or catching a bus to the Barranco sea-side.
CEE Title: America, America, What Do We See? Perceptions and Prejudices Here and Abroad
This was a project that engaged the campus community of the University of Pittsburgh at Greensburg in an informational session and discussion about the problems associated with perceptions and prejudices. Each of the team members presented on the country they traveled to, highlighting existing perceptions that either they or the general public have of that area, and then went further to talk about what they really experienced there. We then played a video that we had created, showing quotes of friends and acquaintances from other countries that explained their own perceptions of America and Americans before and after meeting Americans. In the next section of our CEE we each picked an institution that heavily shapes perspectives and perceptions (social media, news, entertainment media and education). We described the industry, and gave case studies and examples of how these institutions can impact how we view other countries as well as how people in the rest of the world view us in the United States. Then, we brought the theme back a step further to the campus community and discussed how perceptions and stereotypes affect each of us on a daily basis. We each discussed our majors and the stereotypes that we have encountered because of our intended career paths. After concluding the more informational part of the presentation, we invited a panel of guest speakers onto the stage. They each had specific international experiences with perceptions and/or prejudices that have affected them, and were graciously willing to share those experiences with the audience. Finally, we opened the floor up to take any questions from the audience (directed at either the CEE team or the panelists). Audience members were also encouraged to share any experiences with prejudice or stereotypes that they wanted to share with the group. This presentation gave the participants more information on the ideas of perceptions and prejudices and then opened up the discussion on those topics. It was a unique presentation because it didn’t just focus on one side of the topic; it highlighted our perceptions of other peoples as well as how they perceive us, and more importantly what shapes our perceptions, and what do we need to do with this information to keep our prejudices in check.