Title image: Borat (film character), a man of controversial. Taken by Michael Bulcik / SKS Soft GmbH Düsseldorf.
Everyone knows about stereotypes and clichés. We know about them in regards to gender, races or nations to just mention a few example topics. Often we are not even aware of the fact that we are trapped by them in our routine and probably even worse once we travel. This effect is increases if it is a country or nation one does not know a lot about.
Being faced with stereotypes and the common assumptions they include can be an offensive experience for the person being categorized. We create in our lives categories to maneuver more easily through all the information and stimuli that we face every day. Although it can be helpful to work with stereotypes, we often forget too easily how it feels to be the judged person.
Akbota Tasmagambetova, a student from Kazakhstan knows this feeling well “I am not Borat” she says referring to the controversial 2006 film that featured Sacha Baron Cohen. Tasmagambetova’s friend Kamilya Kanat, from the International College of Language in Almaty, agrees with her “Yes, we are not Borat!” The two students are upsetby this stereotyped version of their country and culture.
Health care including insurance and Obamacare have generated an enormous debate during the past several years in the U.S., but international students provide a perspective that is often missing in the discussion. In order to understand the cultural perspective, interviews were done with three international students from China and Germany.
Xiaoyi Zhu, a University of Denver (DU) grad student who is writing her thesis, says she was not aware of how expensive health care really is in the U.S. As any international student, Zhu attended the international student orientation week at DU. Zhu remembers the health care system, therefore, the insurance need was addressed. She also says “I was just overwhelmed during this event; so many people with different important topics talked to us, I just missed completely the significance of getting health insurance.” She added that she would have liked to see follow-up guidance on this topic, but it is just a onetime announcement during student orientation.
Photo in sound box: refugee children in one of the biggest camps in the world Zaatari, Jordan. Photo by Syria Freedom.
This year at DU a new student organization has started – No Lost Generation. It falls into a time when we are hit almost everyday by new headlines of the refugee crisis. Recently the Obama Administration announced to increase the amount of overall refugees the US will take for 2017, up to 110,000.
It might be the first time during any presidential campaigning that the candidates themselves have so often discussed and mentioned or even criticized the media in their behavior. Nearby the candidates, Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump, believe in the influence that media have on voters.
“Media had always played a huge role”
The role of media had traditionally been huge in presidential elections according to University of Denver Professor Lynn Schofield Clark, PhD, chair of the Media, Film and Journalism Departement. Over time new media platforms brought new elements into the race for the White House, e.g. TV emphasis emotions and social media emphasis the shocking momentum.