Sunday, June 8, 2014

To be a Global Citizen

To be a global citizen I feel like you would have to travel around your nation and the world to grasp the different cultures in different areas, you cannot simply read about it in books and see the pictures. When you go somewhere you've never been before you begin to study the people; their motions, their words, how they live, everything. The smallest weirdest stuff would grab my attention while in London, things I never would have imagined being different in another part of the world. The way the doors open is opposite of those in America, weird right? Being a global citizen means engaging in the current events of the world, to continue to keep up on the politics, to know what is going on globally. Of course growing up you learn small things here and there about different countries and parts of the world, but until you get to immerse yourself in the culture, you will never understand the lifestyle of those people. The way the land is shaped, how they build their houses, how advanced are they in the world, are they a large importer or exporter, do we trade with them? All common questions that are answered when developing your "citizenship" into the world. I will never say that one must be an expert to be a culturally sound person, but one must study the past, present, and future of the world and its many different places and large population to begin to understand why the world works the way it does. Why are all people different? No one will even be able to open their eyes and minds to others if they do not learn about who they are and why they do certain things. And without respect for others and their differences from oneself the world will continue to become this place of growing war and violence. People say they are global citizens because they watch the news and gather all the negative facts about another nation or place, and I will not defend those who have done wrong, but not every nation has a 100% population of horrible people. Global citizenship, in my eyes, is defined as when a person finally opens their mind and accepts the differences of others in an area after studying and dealing with it personally. They may not agree with the difference, but they  respect that person or those people for their choices and culture.

Saturday, June 7, 2014

The Unexplainable Experience

Coming home with such new and excited experiences I have come to realize that hardly anyone truly understands what I saw and did. Outside of my family when people ask, I start with oh it was amazing! and that is about where they stop listening. Many people do not understand how the legal system works over there compared to ours, even when I attempt to explain it. It has slowly dawned on me that unless someone gets to experience something like this themselves, they will never appreciate or understand how much it has changed me. While over there I felt like I was able to pick up the culture very easily. Some of their customs were completely crazy to what I am use to in the states, but blending in was not too extremely difficult (minus the fact I could never get my money out and my credit card was clearly American!) In this giant city of 6 million people it was my responsibility to take care of myself. To do so, you had to learn the city quickly and quietly or people began to judge you. The classes we had to prepare for our trip did make a small step for us, but you had to have the want to learn the city and the culture. It was amazing to watch the way people lived their lives. The culture within the criminal justice system was so different as well. Much more different than I thought it was going to be. Every part of their system seems softer than what we have here. The different events we attended and the sights we saw made me a better person, a more open minded person, and a more cultural person. I am so blessed to have been able to attend this trip and learn the incredible amounts of information that I did while in London. I would not give up my cultural gains for the world.

Friday, May 23, 2014


Oops! Charlotte and I ruined the changing of the guards for ourselves. But the second time around was so much better for we got to go behind the gates of buckingham palace and watch he ceremony! Groups rarely get to go behind the gates and it was not boring this time and I didn't have people pushing and kicking me(: the guards carrying the colors talked to us even. As we walked out of the gates people were taking out pictures thinking we where important (and duh we are.) what an amazing experience. But it didn't end there! Richard also got us through the security and into Downing Street to see the 10th door. This is almost unheard of getting in simply to tour it! 
Richard gave us some of the best days while we were here and I feel bad for the groups who come and don't get to spend time with him after he retires! After those amazing surprises Richard took us back to his "home" of the Scotland Yard. We met up with the UNO group and listened to a presentation Richard had prepared for us. Being the emotional and giving person he is, he gave Professor Nobiling a rare coin he had been given for organizing and working the Olympics. A heart felt moment to end a day full of blessings (: 

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Legal walk of shame?

Today we focused mostly on the legal aspects of the system, which is not my interests. But, we started off at the Supreme Court where I truly realized just how different our laws and cultural upbringings are. Cases we heard about today have already been long solved by our constitution or would have been to small and silly to make it to our Supreme Court. Here, these cases were huge turning points! 
This is the symbol for the Supreme Court here. This little patch is literally everywhere. The walls, the railings, the windows, and even the carpets. 
After going to the Supreme Court and getting to hear a case we moved onto the court of appeals, the start of out legal walk. Here we were able to watch another case. The actual case I watched was not a interesting case, the fun part to watch was how they have the court room set up. There are two types of lawyers, a solicitor and a barrister. The barrister is the one who is allowed to speak to a judge. The barrister on the defense side in the case we watched was clearly new to the case and had no idea what was going on! I felt horrible for the man for the judge was just tearing this man and his defense apart. The barrister held his own very well, but I'm sure this will greatly hurt his reputation which is how they get all of their jobs. This will also have great affects for when he walks into the court rooms any time soon if hired. 

Monday, May 19, 2014

Trooping of The Colors

Today the group was the only ones able to watch the rehearsal of the queens birthday parade! Practice runs take about an hour longer than the actual parade to make sure everything is perfect. I cannot imagine standing in the heat, wearing a full queens guard uniform. Being so heavy and hot there are normally a few men and women who faint during the parade and we actually got to watch a guard faint! (Such a shame because he was extremely cute) the rest of the parade consisted of the guards marching in different formations around a very right spaced square. If only the queen herself had attended the parade would have been much more interesting! 

For the majority of the two hours these men stood in a single place or marched in the same small square. They are in full uniform that is layered and extremely heavy as well as hats made of Canadian black bear fur. The hats are hot and weight quite a bit. When standing still they must also lock their knees. All I know is I would never be able to do this so props to these men (even the one who fainted!)

Foreigners found their way

Free day #1:
Today we had our first free day. Charlotte and decided to knock out a museum today and went to the British Museum.
This was a building full of history! We walked through time periods and saw African, Roman Catholic, and many other peoples history and how beautiful the past truly is. After seeing the museum we walked down random streets looking for small boutiques and restaurants to eat at and found a great little place that had a pasta special.
That drew us into one super meal. After eating a fulfilling plate we decided to hop on the closest bus and ride it to anywhere we didn't recognize. But we didn't stop there, we continued to get onto different buses to view the city and road until we got back to the hotel a few hours later. Such a way to experience and see the city! 

Pub Crawl

As a group we decided to have a night out together and sign up for a pub crawl! This was a guided tour to 5 different pubs/bars/clubs where we stayed an hour at each. Each stop was completely different and amazing. All out stops were packed and full of fun drinks and music. There was about 20 people in the entire group from all over the world; Brazil, Australia, America, and many other places. The first club, the verve was a sleek classy bar. We then moved to an old time decorated bar with original tv sets and posters. The third was my personal favorite called Ruby which played fun music and had a fun dance club atmosphere. From there we moved onto the grace which was a very typical bar. Our last stop was the zoo which was a fun jumping place with good music as well! Afterwards I took a carriage cyclist home to the hotel. This is something all cities have but I had never had the chance to experience. Just another night on the city (: 

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Magistrates Court

The court systems are very similar in America and England yet the small differences in procedures stood out to me. Today while visiting the magistrate court I first noticed how laid back it was compared to the American court system. People where coming and going as they pleased and all defense attorneys sat in front and a small line of seats for those being prosecuted and want to watch the cases. The defendant sits separated from the rest of the room behind a glass wall. There are two ways to go about a case; it can either go to a lay bench, which is three volunteers that go through a small course and are advised by a legal advisor, or the district judge, who is a registered attorney for at least 7 years ten can apply to be a judge. The judge will see more serious crimes. At magistrate level the courts then decide whether to send the case to crowns court or stay in magistrate. Magistrate can only deal with offenses up to 6 months in prison. It was so fun to watch cases be handled. The system here has flaws just like any other but was very balanced. The most fasinating part of the cases we watched to me was that the judges accommodated the sentencing to the punishment and person, not the crime committed. The magistrate court was fansinating and I learned so much about where our system originated from!  

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Kwik Cuffs

Today we visited the metropolitan police station in Westminster and learned a lot from constable Richard Watson (no relation with Sherlock Holmes' Watson -- common American question) the most fascinating thing I learned about waskwik cuffs! These are handcuffs with a solid middle bar. It just amazed me that we do not have these in the states. They completely restrict movement and are extremely easy to put on a criminal. With as little time as we had we were not able to learn many different procedures but handcuffing we did discuss. Here in the UK violence is less common and allows the police force to not need to handcuff every criminal. To use handcuffs the officer must be able to justfy to their form of an American magistrate when the bring the defendant into booking. The amount of trust is simply crazy. The officers are also unarmed unless they specialize in such armed forces (10% of forces have knowledge on how to use a fire arm.) very trusting and community tied officers who focus on building community relationships and showing people that London is the safest capital in the world. 

Monday, April 21, 2014

The rush before the fall

The last few months that I've been going to classes and getting advice from people to help me on my trip I've had amazing ups and downs about the whole event. I'm beyond excited to go, but I'm terrified I will forget something along the way, not have enough time and money to do as I want, and many other terrors like this have crossed my mind. Now I have three weeks left, in which I have finals to do and moving into a new house to deal with. Surprisingly enough I'm the most at ease I've been since I found out about the trip! I have my passport, packing lists, and everything I need (hopefully) to study abroad in London. Throughout this pre-trip process I have got to know classmates that I did not before and learned more about London than I would have ever thought. All of this will grow as we progress in the next three weeks of preparation and greatly when we all travel across the ocean to a place and culture many of us have never experienced before. Besides all of this I have learned how to not let the negatives get in my way of doing something I want to do and to enjoy those things without guilt or worry that someone else may not be having as good of a time or that I could be taking away something from another. My excitement to learn and achieve with this experience is overwhelming as I expect it to be. If it was not I may not be ready or in a sheer panic/excitement that keeps me on my toes. The amount of support and help I've received over the last few months is amazing and I plan to prove to those and others who did not support my choices that this class will benefit greatly to my education as well as make me a more diverse person. (: 

Monday, April 14, 2014

History That Created and Shaped America

To Americans Londoners are thought of as stuck up people who are proper and part of the royal family and live in a gloomy busy city. Yes, there are those people but Londoners have much more depth to them than just that. To me I see people who value history and art, living properly is not a bad thing. Europe is very modern in many ways yet still embrace their culture. I honestly wish Americans could be more like this rather than people thinking of "'Murica" as who we are. I am far from embarrassed to be an American, and will not hide who I am while in London. I do plan on trying to prove that I am not a "typical American." 
History and culture are very important in my life and being able to see how European's do this. Not only in an artistic kind of way, but in the Criminal Justice world. We have all known since the start of our classes that we have evolved our system from the British system. I am so excited to experience first hand the culture that we have come from and what shaped our country. You never hear in the news about London and their involvement in wars like you do America and that also draws me to their culture a lot. The UK seems to be a more pleasant place to live with a low crime rate. Though this may not be true, that was what truly interests me. I want to see what crimes are committed their and see how they go through the system before incrimination. Just like with any other society there is crime where there is people, but Europe has a completely different way to deal with their criminals.
I expect to come away from this trip a different person with knowledge that many people in the general public never get to obtain. Not only is it an experience I want by traveling to London and getting to see their culture but also getting to go to the events the school has lined up for us to be able to see the system for a different country. Every society has a slightly different criminal justice system and to get to be apart of the history that made America what it is today is an experience that is even more rare than just traveling.

Beforehand Thoughts

Before I head to London there is a few things I need to get done! Passport, check! Adapters, check! Many other little issues have been dealt with and many I will do directly. London is a very cultural place that I cannot wait to see and experience. I'm really interested to see the architecture of the buildings in person. Google can show me all the amazing buildings from centuries before myself, but to get to see them in person is a whole different world. Being a "typical American" I am nervous about being pushed around and treated differently while in London and everywhere else I may go, but the excitement to get to see how their culture differs from the American lifestyle and especially the part of their nation that deals with my major. We have learned in classes throughout how their criminal justice system works and how the English government is run, but being a hands on learner it will be much more rewarding to my academic standing to see how they run up close and personal. (: