Talking to Locals: Week 3

This week in Belfast I went on a field trip to Giant’s Causeway, had some lectures, saw a 12th of July parade, and visited Titanic Belfast!

However, this past Sunday (the day after a long journey to the Cliffs of Moher: a must see!) I was able to visit St. George’s Market in Belfast. The market is comparable to a flea market or a craft fair, in that there is food to buy and people selling various trinkets and crafts. While I was mainly there to look at souvenirs for friends and family, I also encountered some very friendly locals who were curious to see what exactly I was doing in Belfast. In particular, there was an older man selling a particular type of cap that I wanted to gift my father. During and after I bought the cap, the man was extremely talkative. He told me all about his viewpoint of the conflict, his family, and their story. Although I have learned about it in classes, the perspective from people who witnessed the conflict and raised children during that time is starkly different from what we are told in lecture. After I told the gentleman what I was learning he laughed and told me I was in the right place! Further, he wanted my perspective on America, the government, and if the type of American people he encountered in the market were typical of U.S citizens in general. In total we talked for about thirty minutes, and although I learned a lot in lecture, this interaction along with a few others with people who live in the area where the conflict occurred were extremely enlightening and provided me with a different and somewhat conflicting view of the entire situation.

One of the Global Citizen’s Project Student Learning Outcomes is Analysis. This goal aims for students to be able to analyze global and cultural interrelationships. I believe that through this experience I have achieved this goal. After talking to various residents about the situation in Northern Ireland I was able to examine the cultural relationship that was present in the society. Further, the Global Citizen’s Project also has the Student Learning Outcome of Knowledge. This goal aims to increase student’s knowledge of global and cultural systems and issues. I think I have also achieved this goal from this interaction as well as the lectures I have attended during this program. I have learned an incredible amount of information, not only about Conflict Transformation and Social Justice, but also about people in general and the interactions that take place between neighboring populations.

Only one more week to go!

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