First and foremost, it seems crucial to mention that often the places we live, and the places we call home are different. This factor came up frequently in the two discussions this Tuesday with the AUS students. Students often placed markers in places where their family lives, or where their family is from instead of the places they currently dwell. A common theme throughout such discussions was family and community. Often people selected the places they did specifically because they identify closely with communities there. Though we did not discuss culture a lot, people were able to talk about societal customs such as talking politics at family gatherings. I found this particularly interesting, as my family makes a point to avoid talking politics at family gatherings. In addition, we found that shared objects brought questions about cultural differences such as discussions regarding uses of incense. 

Environment seems particularly relevant to our conversations, though it was never directly addressed. Often students mentioned outdoor recreation as a common extracurricular activity. It seems to me that outdoor recreation looks different around the world. For example, in the Winter I enjoy the snowy weather. However, some students may not live in areas with snow. Likely outdoor recreation may look entirely different. In addition, one student and I discussed agriculture. Specifically through olive trees. They mentioned that they have a family member in Jordan who grows olive trees, which reminded me of my grandmother who lives on an olive grove in California. I Imagine growing olive trees might be different in each area of the world based upon climate.

Through our shared objects, I discovered a few universal values. One of which is family. Often the objects were those that were gifted by relatives, or those that reminded us of relatives or friends. We were also able to talk about what se

emed to be universal desires, such as a commonly held desire for better food options on or near our campuses. 

Particulars, such as love of reading, sports, or travel also became apparent through students sharing personal objects. When showing objects that are important to them, students demonstrated their values. It seems there was not a single student that chose an object for an entirely superficial or meaningless reason. For example, I didn’t pick the necklace I showed to my peers because I think it is pretty. Instead I chose it because it was gifted to me by my grandmother, and therefore holds familial and sentimental meaning. 

Other objects, such as an alarm clock, appealed to shared experiences, such as the need to arrive in class on time. Regardless of what the object was, it seems there were many ways that we were able to connect to each other through our values, needs, and desires. I am glad I was able to connect so well with the other students. 

If I did not get a chance to talk with you in our groups, feel free to comment what you brought in as your object! Do you think it demonstrates a particular or universal value? If the object has familial or cultural value, please feel free to share about the object and what it means to you!

5 Responses to “Where I Live: Where They Live”

  1.   blackmac said:

    Hi Annie, thank you for your insight into what you learned from our interactions with the AUS students! First, I loved how you separated the general term “where we live” into “the place we live” and the “place we call home.” I think distinguishing between the two is critical because sometimes the place we dwell may not be the place we deem “home.” I think this idea refers back to the cliche statement “home is where the heart is” which is very true as exhibited in our Padlet where students marked places they visit with family or places they feel a sense of comfort as “home”, rather than the place they might physically live. I think this point leads into your other main point of how family is oftentimes a central factor in each of our lives. Similar to your analysis, I found family to be significant in our discussion, as most students mentioned ties to their family, either through stories/experiences or through their physical objects. For example, in my group, an individual shared a sentimental heirloom from her grandmother and explained how the necklace symbolized her family’s faith. Do you have any significant objects or items you love that remind you of your family?

  2.   Annie Elliott said:

    Other than the necklace shown in the photo, I have few objects that really remind me of my family. What is more important to me is communication online, over the phone, and through letters. I love to hear what they are up to, and I often save letters or phone messages to remind myself of them. I wish I had the chance to ask our peers more about communication, as so many students are living away from home.

  3.   Will Moorman said:

    Hello Annie!

    Firstly, I like the distinction you drew between the “place where people call home” and the “place where we live/have lived” I think that especially as college students, that’s a big point of commonality across boundaries, the idea that people would leave their homes to go and get an education.

    I also like the point you made regarding the environment. In my own blog post I talk about the environmental differences between the UAE and my own home. You make an excellent point regarding winter weather, but I also think the sheer quantity of water is something to consider as well. Much of the UAE is a desert, whereas I don’t think I’ve ever lived more than a few miles from a body of water.

  4.   Annie Elliott said:

    That is an excellent point. Natural resources are extremely important in considering the differences between locations where we live. It seems it can have both expansive regional effects as well as impact particular lives.

  5.   Piotr Omelańczuk said:

    Firstly, the distinction between where one lives and where one calls home highlights the importance of familial and communal ties. Despite geographical distances, many students identify closely with the places where their families reside or originate from. This emphasizes the enduring influence of familial connections in shaping one’s sense of belonging.

    Secondly, discussions around outdoor recreation and agricultural practices underscore the diversity of experiences influenced by environment and culture. While some students enjoy snowy winters, others may experience different outdoor activities based on their geographical location. Similarly, agricultural practices such as growing olive trees vary across regions, reflecting the impact of climate and cultural traditions.

    Moreover, the exchange of personal objects reveals universal values and desires among students. The significance of family is evident in the objects chosen, often gifted by or reminiscent of loved ones. Additionally, the shared desire for better food options highlights a common aspiration for improvement in daily life.

    Overall, the diversity of experiences and values showcased in the discussions reflects the richness of cultural exchange and the interconnectedness of individuals’ lives, despite geographical distances.

Leave a Reply