G’day! Welcome to my blog! I’m Samantha – call me Sam!
I am a 4th year University Student at the University of Wollongong (Australia) – Studying a Bachelor of Communications & Media and Commerce, majoring in Public Relations and Global Communications.
I loveeeee to travel – I have lived in the Netherlands for 6 months and returned multiple times since – everytime exploring more of Europe as I go. I have also travelled solo around New Zealand (South) and London, worked abroad at a Summer camp in the United States of America and volunteered my time in India.
I enjoy volunteering, working hard, staying fit. My new found skill is hosting events (MC – Master of Ceremonies – the Master part I am still working on). I have hosted many local events such as the JDRF Diabetes Fundraising ball, local school Trivia Fundraising nights and spoken to many students and young athletes about topics I am passionate about such as leadership and finding your own path to follow.
Aspiring to travel more, and to be a producer. I am an amateur photographer. You can check out my attempt at my “Creative editing” section on my blog.
The Me Too organisation was started in 2006 by Tarana Burke to help survivors of sexual violence with the vision to empower through empathy. The ‘Me Too’ movement came into light in October 2017 when Alyssa Milano tweeted “If all the women who have been sexually harassed or assaulted wrote ‘Me too.’ as a status, we might give people a sense of the magnitude of the problem” (@Alyssa_Milano, 2017). Within 24 hours, the ‘Me Too’ hashtag had become a trending campaign to raise awareness of sexual assault and harassment, not just for women, but for everyone that has been affected. The ‘Me Too’ hashtag was just the start of the movement to get it noticed. Many actresses came forward about being sexually assaulted in Hollywood from former colleagues. January 2018, stars attended the 75th Golden Globes wearing black inline with the ‘Times Up’ movement. 2 months later at the Oscars, the Me Too and Times Up movement was addressed by multiple award recipients that felt the need to speak up about the issue. Through both of the Hollywood award nights, I became more aware of the campaign as big names were starting to intervene with the campaign and more and more noise was being made. Through social media and celebrity spokespeople backing the campaign, people have united and become more aware of the serious situation. It has given not only women but men, disadvantaged, LGBT people and many more minority groups the confidence to speak out about the sexual harassment that they have experienced. Since the Me Too movement has come into the light, there has been a significant increase in people reporting and seeking help. From January – March this year alone, 28,000 people have contacted 1800 RESPECT helplines – that’s a 68% increase in helpline usage (Medhora, S 2018). The significance of this movement is that there has been a significant increase in people reaching out and seeking help. Its significance in the media is important as it has allowed more people to become aware of the situation and there has been an increase in conversation about sexual assault and harassment. The Me Too movement is significant because it has enabled so many innocent people to speak out and feel like they are not alone in their journey of recovery. Although there are limitations to the Me Too movement, while social platforms have been an extraordinary place where victims have found their voices, victims still have to emotionally deal with the assault as it is something that never leaves them. Laws have been enforced in the USA, more statistics have been released about possible reasons and victims coming forward. In Australia alone, there are 6 helplines that people can contact if they need support and they are being utilised more than ever. Since the movement has come to light, there is more awareness on such an important issue and how victims can get help. Furthering this research, I will be looking at the impact that sport and alcohol has on sexual and domestic violence.
This has been an assignment but also therapy for me to research, discuss and know I am not the only one.
I am a victim and I will not let this define who I am.
Independent Autoethnographies is something that I have experienced in another class – Communication across Cultures (ELL230). Although I have completed an autoethnography before, the Digital Asia approach seems much different as I have learned that there are analytical and creative approaches to writing an autoethnography. Previously, I have written an analytical autoethnography which relied heavily on other research and the reflection of my experiences in a standard essay format. With different ways to approach the Digital Asia autoethnography, I will be able to explore more options and platforms to share my research and experiences.
Sitting in my Global Media Interventions class, Monday morning of week 6 and our lecture is on Webtoons, transformation into the global space and the new era of platformisation. Webtoons history was introduced and I learnt that they were created in South Korea in the 2000’s where comics became digital and online (Yecies, B 2018). It’s the practice of using a mobile scrolling device with the flow of imagery to make a story. The lecturer Brian Yecies (2018), has completed studies on the popularity of Webtoons across countries. Statistics show that Webtoons has a large fan base in Japan and China and it is increasingly growing in Indonesia, Malaysia and even in the United States (Yecies, B 2018).
In my own research time, I googled “Webtoons” and I clicked on the first link. It was in another language and before clicking translate, I had a quick look around to see what I could discover without the English language at the forefront. I didn’t get very far until I was rummaging around in a rabbit hole with like Alice in Wonderland. I translated the page and found that what I was looking at was a gold mine for comic lovers – so many genres, types, and artists! With multiple genres in the Webtoons comic series, it made choosing a comic series hard. There are so many different types of comics within each genre all with a large number of likes and views making my decision difficult. Normally, I am a sucker for romance, action and drama but considering autoethnographies are about experiencing “new and abundant opportunities” (Ellis, C et al. 2011) exploring a new genre was on the cards. I decided to have a quick browse through the Fantasy genre to see what I could find.
With my brief research and viewing of Webtoons and the Fantasy genre, I can see that translation is not always correct which highlights the significance of the imagery used. This was a major epiphany as translations and meaning of words may have a different significance in different cultures and you can often get lost in translation without the images. Thus, making sure that I fully immerse myself into the Webtoons culture to have a better understanding of the comics that are produced. I will have to make sure that I read the text bubbles as well as taking in the imagery of the comics as images are a crucial part of Webtoons and comics. Translation can be defined as “a message that is transferred from one language to another and the tropes of border and bridge work powerfully” (Gambier, Y 2016). Translators for Webtoons, do not need a degree in translation nor do they get paid for their efforts. They are all volunteer which is seen as a crowdsourcing initiative to create a more socially inclusive platform for all.
This initial experience of exploring the Webtoons online community has gotten me excited to explore Webtoons and for further research that I will be conducting throughout the process of this autoethnography.
Gambier, Y 2016, Rapid and Radical Changes in Translation and Translation Studies, International Journal of Communication, vol. 10, pp. 887 – 906.
Jenkins, H 2008, Convergent Culture: Where Old and New Media Collide, New York University Press, Chapter 3: Searching for the Origami Unicorn: The Matrix and Transmedia Storytelling, pp. 93 – 130.
Akira, my first Anime experience and it was an experience to talk about. I was lucky to watch this film in English, I think it would have been a much more difficult experience otherwise. Adding live tweeting into the mix made it more difficult as I missed a lot of the film. I have noticed that throughout the weeks of live tweeting it is becoming easier and I am getting the hang of it.
Throughout the film, I experienced a range of emotions – fear, confusion, surprise, sadness and I also experiences flashbacks causing me to look away. Live tweeting helped me deal with these emotions as those that were experiencing the same emotions tweeted similarly and I felt like I was not alone. Following the #BCM320 feed, I was able to get a good laugh out of some of the tweets that were coming through which helped distract me from the confusion, putting puzzle pieces together.
Ellis et al. (2011) say that autoethnography’s “introduce unique ways of thinking and feeling, and help people make sense of themselves and others” (p. 1). Reflecting on my experience of watching anime for the first time, I was able to make sense of the Japanese culture and their history a little more while making sense of my own feelings and thoughts throughout watching the film. Ellis et al (2011), draws on the fact that autoethnography’s should be a reflexive experience while you try to understand cultures other than your own through race, gender, age, sexuality, class, ability, religion and education (p. 2). Since watching and experiencing Akira and live tweeting I have a new perspective on anime films and Japanese culture. My perspective was originally closed off to the idea of watching and experiencing anime and Asian cultured films, but I now have become more open to the idea of anime. I feel that this may be a good experience for me to reflect on in my final project.
Live tweeting throughout Akira allowed me to share my experience, thoughts and emotions while watching the film which Ellis et al (2011) states to be an important factor to an autoethnography as it “brings readers to the scene” (p.3). While I am not able to experience Akira or any other cultured film from Asia in its true sense of being emerged fully into the culture as critiqued by Ellis et al. (2011), I will be able to compose a value piece that will allow me to step out of my comfort zone and into something I would have never imagined.
Live tweeting while watching a foreign film in black and white while having to read subtitles was a mammoth task for 8:30am. It was hard to keep up with the storyline while commenting through twitter. The experience itself was great, I don’t think I ever would have watched the original Godzilla film if it wasn’t for this class. While I struggled at first and I wasn’t able to keep up with the storyline, but I then started to shift my way of watching and enabled myself to tweet and tune in and out to the movie putting the puzzle pieces together myself. At times I would be distracted by others posting on twitter, but some of the information others were tweeting were interesting reads and facts to know about the movie. For example, how they made Godzilla’s roar and how Godzilla was a metaphor for the Nuclear bombings a few years before the film was made.
At first, I thought that the graphics was cringe-worthy, but when I reminded myself that this movie was made in 1954, I readjusted my opinion and stepped back, appreciating how they made the movie. It got me interested in the ‘behind the scenes’ of the film, so I looked at a YouTube clip of photos that shows behind the scenes images. This gave me a better understanding and appreciation of the film. You can see through my twitter feed that my attitude shifted, and I had more of an understanding of production worked back then.
Another thing I appreciated about the film was the cultural differences from my own. After completing ELL230 last semester, I was opened to cultural differences and understandings of cultural practices. Knowing what I know how from last semester on cultures, I was able to appreciate Japanese culture and understand the cultural norms that I would have not known otherwise. I loved the fact that women were standing up to the men though. You wouldn’t see that much nowadays. I was able to live tweet about this which got most of my engagement.
While it was hard to keep up with the film, and I did miss a lot of the film, live tweeting made it feel as though I didn’t actually miss much. Students were posting frequently enough for me to feel like I was watching the movie through Twitter. I am conscious of how much I tweet though because I don’t want my professional followers to think it is annoying an unfollow me. Overall, I am glad that I have kept an open mind overall and I look forward to live tweeting and engaging through other platforms.
I have always wanted to travel, even from a young age, I was quite independent. In primary school, I started to get bullied and I wanted to go and live with my Aunty in New Zealand, this started my passion for wanting to live elsewhere which led me to student exchange research. When I was 15, my first overseas trip was to New Zealand for my cousin’s wedding. Since then travel has become a big part of my life, and I venture out of home every 6 months for the last few years.
Within 6 months of attending my cousin’s wedding in New Zealand, I was on my way to the Netherlands for Student Exchange and had my 16th birthday there a few weeks into my stay. I lived in Eindhoven which is a city in the south of the Netherlands, and this is where my new family of 4, became a family of 5. I chose to go to the Netherlands because this is where my heritage lies. My dad’s parents immigrated to Australia from the Netherlands in 1957. I always found my heritage fascinating and I wanted to reconnect with other family members that were there as well. My Opa (Grandfather) was sick and passed away a month before I flew out, this was another reason I chose the Netherlands. When I finished year 12, I went back to see my host family and see more of my real family. One year later (November 2015), I found myself in New Zealand again, recovering from a terrible break-up. 6 months later (June, 2016), I was on an aeroplane to the USA to live in New Jersey for 2 months while I worked as a soccer coach on Summer Camps. 6 months after returning from the USA, I went to India for 3 weeks with Girl Guides where I travelled and volunteered my time in a women’s refuge (December – January 2016/2017). Winter of 2017, I found myself a job in the Snowy Mountains at Thredbo where I worked as a children’s program assistant for 2 months during the University break. Another 6 months later, at the end of 2017 and the start of 2018, I found myself in London and back in the Netherlands for Christmas and New Years with my host family.
All these travel experiences bring me to today, where I write this autoethnography, reflecting and understanding my experiences in a greater depth. Throughout my travel experiences, I have experienced different types of shock – culture, language, role and identity. In each of my travel experiences, I made voluntary transitions into the cultures as a temporary sojourner (those who are exposed to a new environment for a short period of time), a tourist (staying abroad for short period of time to sight-see), or as an expatriate (individuals that engage in employment abroad) (Jackson J, 2014, pp. 183 – 184). Each day of travelling presented new challenges and differences that I had to overcome to make the most of the experience. Throughout this autoethnography, I will share specific examples of culture shock and intercultural experiences that have shaped who I am today.
Culture shock “refers to the disorientation that many anthropologists often experience when entering a new culture to do field work” (Jackson J, 2014, p. 190). Goldstein and Keller (2015), defines a more simplistic definition stating “culture shock is the process of initial adjustment to an unfamiliar environment” and “the term can be used to describe the emotional, psychological, behavioural, cognitive and physiological impact of the adjustment process on the individual” (p. 188). Culture shock was definitely something that I experienced when I landed in the Netherlands and America but India had the greatest impact of all. As I stepped out of the airport, my senses went into overdrive, the smells were not pleasant, and the sounds were foreign, loud, repetitive and irritating – I knew I wasn’t at home anymore. All my senses throughout the whole trip were heightened and it was exhausting by the end. I remember specifically being picked up from New Delhi International Airport late at night. We were greeted by our host at the terminal and walked out of the airport to find the bus that was going to take us to our hotel. The driving style of zipping in and out, not having lanes, people just walking in the middle of the road and screeching horns every two seconds was incredible. I was naturally shocked and frightened worrying about crashing and dying or that someone was going to open the back doors and steal our bags. This is only one example from my India trip where I felt out of place and shocked by the different culture. Even though I had done a lot of research on India and spoken to many people who have been there before, nothing was going to prepare me for the rapid change in culture. Goldstein and Keller (2015) recognise that there are internal causes of culture shock which relates to identity confusion and poor stress management as well as external causes which are more common. They are the physical aspects such as language differences, communication difficulties and the physical surroundings. Since having experienced culture shock to a whole new level it has opened me up to new experiences and has shaped my personality and the way I see the world.
Munoz (2013) wrote a blog called “5 reasons why experiencing culture shock is good for you” and states that the best way to overcome overwhelming situations is to embrace the “opportunity to immerse yourself in an entirely new culture, and then emerge as a global citizen”.
Munoz (2013), “5 reasons why experiencing culture shock is good for you” are:
It will shape your personality
It forces you to adapt
Your circle of friends will expand
You’ll never be afraid of culture shock again
It will teach you valuable lessons
I feel as though I had done this when I was in the Netherlands. I embraced every opportunity that was given to me, I learnt the language, went to school and even got a Dutch ID card. Some might say that I embraced the culture too much when I put on 18kg. Leaving the Netherlands was harder than leaving Australia because I had friends who actually liked me and I had built a completely new identity that I was finally happy with. This is identified by Jackson (2014), as assimilation, ‘where one does not retain their original cultural identity… instead, they seek close interaction with the host culture and adopt cultural values, traditions and norms of the new society’ (p. 188). I adopted the transportation culture of riding a bike everywhere, even if it was pouring with rain, I would ride my bike to school like it was nothing, and then stand under the heaters for 15 minutes while I dried off and got warm again. To assist with assimilation and learning of the language, I undertook a second Dutch class instead of German and I took an English class, as well as the usual, history, geography, sport, and art. It wasn’t easy learning in a new language, but I assimilated quickly by studying extra hard so that I could communicate successfully.
Because I had assimilated to the Dutch culture, it was extremely hard to return to Australia. This is where I experienced reverse culture shock. Reverse culture shock focuses “on the stresses and challenges associated with moving back to one’s own home culture after one has sojourned or lived in another cultural environment” (Presbitero, 2016, p. 29). The culture shock of returning home was so hard, that I became severely depressed: I would only speak Dutch and I would call the Netherlands ‘home’. Presbitero (2016), also showed through research that with minimal support for returning students, they are more likely to be impacted by psychological and sociocultural aspects of their return home. He also states that individuals are more likely to feel that their overall life satisfaction and coping with the day-to-day stresses of social life is lowered (p. 29). Cornell University (nd.), recognises that reverse culture shock can be difficult in 5 ways; boredom and restlessness, reverse homesickness, no one wants to hear, relationships have changed and identity issues. I experienced all these feelings when I returned home. I would drink secretly after school, home didn’t feel like home, no one wanted to listen to the stories I wanted to share, my friendship circle at school had changed and I didn’t know who I was anymore.
The U-curve theory addresses the ‘honeymoon, culture shock, adjustment and mastery’ stages. Gullahorn and Gullahorn created the W-curve in 1963 expanding on the U-curve which assesses the re-entry of an individual into their home culture. Pritchard (2011), says that culture shock can be more difficult in returning to your own country and can often take up to 6 – 24 months to readjust as the traveller has acquired new experiences, attitudes and coping styles. Jackson (2014), recognises the W-curve model and says that struggles can come from missing ‘their independent lifestyle and friends made abroad, and [they] find it difficult to fit back into the rhythm of local life’ (p. 207). It took a good 6-18 months to settle back into school and home and to feel like me again, but even when I had re-settled, I knew that a part of me was still in the Netherlands.
Since reflecting upon my experiences and learning about intercultural communication, I have been able to process the struggles that I was faced with throughout my return to Australia after studying abroad in the Netherlands and other holidays. Culture shock is always going to happen when you travel somewhere new because you’re exploring a foreign environment that you are not used to. Reverse culture shock for me is always going to happen when I return home from my travels as I always immerse and assimilate myself into the cultures that I am exploring to the best of my ability – which makes returning home difficult. Reflecting on this has allowed me to be more open with my mental health and understand that reverse culture shock is real.
Allison, P Davis-Berman, J Berman, Dene., 2012, Changes in Latitude, changes in attitude: Analysis of the effects of reverse culture shock – a study of students returning from youth expeditions, Leisure Studies, vol. 31, no. 4, pp. 487 – 503.
Goldstein S, Keller S, 2015, U.S College students’ lay theories of culture shock, International Journal of Intercultural Relations, vol. 47, pp. 187 – 194.
Jackson J, 2014, Introducing Language and Intercultural communication, edn. 1, Routledge, Oxon, pp. 180 – 213.
Presbitero A, 2016, Culture shock and reverse culture shock: The moderating role of cultural intelligence in international students’ adaptation, International Journal of Intercultural Relations, vol. 53, pp. 28-38.
Pritchard R, 2011, Re-entry Trauma: Asian Re-integration After Study in the West, Journal of Studies in International Education, vol. 15, no. 1, pp. 93 – 111.
Smith B, Yang W, 2017, Learning Outcomes in an Interdisciplinary Study Abroad Program: Developing a Global Perspective, Journal of Family and Consumer Sciences, Vol. 109, no. 1, p. 43 – 50.
When I was young, I was bullied. I’m not sure why I think it was because I was ugly. I had buck teeth as a kid that were too big for me until senior year, and I had freckles that stood out.
I think it’s because I wasn’t cool enough or daredevil enough.
But I don’t really understand what separated me from the group of ‘friends’ that I thought I had.
Who knew at the age of 8 if someone was cool or not. I really don’t get it.
There was no technology that separated us like there is today, it wasn’t about who had the coolest or the most recent phone, they didn’t exist back then.
I left those bullies behind in primary school as we all separated and went our own ways, made our own new friends, but somehow, I was still the victim of bullying.
I was constantly left out, made fun of, and nasty comments were always made at me.
I was pushed and shoved in the playground, I was called horrid words and I was the subject of bullying.
There are things that never leave you, even when you’re 23 years old, 5 years out of high school and you still get flashbacks to the moments that haunted you the most.
The moments that defined your high school years, that made you lose your lunch breaks because you felt obliged to knee down to those above you.
Years down the track and the words that were said to me in primary school and high school still terrorise me to this day.
The images replay in my mind and the words play over and over on repeat. They bring me down still to this day that I don’t ever want to face those bullies again, to the point that I’m scared to go to the shops some days purely because I am worried I will see them from afar.
One day, I hope the bullies read this and realise how much of an impact they played in those peoples lives that they bullied.
The trauma doesn’t just leave you in high school when you go your separate ways, the memories stick with you and it affects you for the rest of your life.
I wish I had happy memories to take with me from high school, but unfortunately, the bad ones cloud over the few sun shining moments.
I hope that one day, you realise how cruel you were by the little things you said. I hope you realise that you hurt not only me, but everyone else that bowed down to you and you pushed out of your way.
Because of you, I now have the anxiety to meet new people because I don’t have the coolest clothes or the fastest car. Because of you, I feel like I don’t fit in, anywhere, even when I do, I have a voice in the back of my head telling me that they don’t like me and that I don’t fit in.
You may think that your words meant nothing, but I still remember every word that was said, I still remember every tear that was shred.
I hope that one day you read this and show your own children, so they never have an impact on someone’s life like you did on mine.
They should create sunshine for those, even on the darkest of days.
I am nothing more than a withered flower trying to come back to life.
Every thorn I grew from you, now protects me from whom lies ahead.