Humphrey Fellows Exercise

In class on Friday the 28th, I had the opportunity to interview numerous scholars from various countries, all overseas. I had the pleasure to learn about their background, job status, and what they’re studying. These scholars, apart of the Humphrey Fellows group, all study at Syracuse University. The common denominator between all of my interviewees, were that they worked for the government in their respective country; whether it was at the federal, state, or local level. All came to the United States with an issue in their country they wanted to solve, to learn from our country and the ways we deal with similar issues. 

After speaking to several of the scholars, I quickly realized that they did not expect to speak about any facet of media. But, that does not mean they did not have any info for me. A scholar from Brazil told me that popular apps like Snapchat, and Instagram were not highly sought after and used like they are in the United States. He did agree with me when I asked if social media was the best avenue to connect to large groups of people in Brazil. An interesting fact he shared was that the most popular social media outlet at one time was a network called Orkut. Before Facebook caught fire, Orkut was the go to social media in his country, and India after further research. This site was created by an engineer for Google, and after 6 years on the web, Google announced they were shutting it down.

Countries that were represented at the Humphrey Fellows event:

  • Pakistan 
  • Ukraine
  • Suriname
  • Japan
  • Panama
  • Brazil

An interesting situation I encountered was when I interviewed a scholar from Suriname, the smallest sovereign state in South America. His area of study was working for the government attempting to improve tribal communities in his country. He began to explain that these indigenous people are completely off the grid and social media is something that would never cross their minds. He began to make it apparent that the media was very fluent in the ‘modernized’ parts of his country. After revealing I was a big sports fan, he reacted with a smile and said ‘Lebron to the Lakers though!’. It’s very clear that the internet is available to a portion of the population in Suriname, but unavailable for a larger amount of people. The point of view he provided was incredible, considering he is able to study a different way of life in the form of tribal communities. 

After having the opportunity to speak to many of the scholars in attendance, I was enlightened to the differences in media across the world. At times, it seems as if we live a sheltered life when it comes to cultural diffusion. The use of media, and popularity of certain platforms in some cases are the complete opposite of America’s habits. Being able to learn about the similarities and differences of various cultures compared to mine was eye opening, and offered some interesting info on the current state of media across the globe. 

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