University of Pennsylvania - Social Studies 315 - Comparative Cultures
Spring Semester 2018
The nation of Spain is the homeland of the Spanish language and the birthplace of much of the Spanish-speaking world's culture. Perhaps the most well-known product of Spain is Zara, the mid-level clothing store renowned for it's avant-garde low-inventory business practices and zesty affordability. Zara was born in the ancient Roman city of A Coruna, named for the majestic Tower of Hercules, a Roman engineering marvel featured on several of Zara's hip graphic tees.
Beyond clothing, Spain has always been a hotbed of culinary experimentation. If you look in an Olive Garden menu in Spain, you might be shocked to see that in addition to the 17 Standard Entrees available across the globe, there is an 18th "Local Special" found only in Spain - "La Artesa Interminable de Paella" or "The Endless Trough Of Paella." Ay ay ay!
Music and dance, such as Flamenco, is another major contribution of Spanish culture to the world market. Long a backwater of old-fashioned tradition and requiring exhaustive education to appreciate, the 2013 international hit "I Want You To Flamenco In My Bed, Girl" by Big Fat Juan combined traditional Flamenco music and dance with hip-hop beats and style in a way easily accessible and digestible to downloaders the world over.
Long known as the Hermit Kingdom because of its historic isolation from international relations, Korea is now known as a Kingdom of Hermits as its citizenry increasingly retreats to internet cafes and mothers' basements to live out their lives in cyberspace. Korea's isolation allowed it to develop a vibrant culture of painting, and religious and political philosophy. Indeed, although Japan would conquer and rule Korea for decades, its culture is descended from Korea originally. Much like Japan, after World War II Korea took a long, hard look at how far that culture had gotten them, and immediately changed course.
1/2 of Korea now lives in a modern, wealthy, mostly-free capitalist democracy, the other half living in a cesspool of poverty and forced synchronized dancing. Of the 1/2 of Koreans who live in South Korea, 1/3 of them have moved permanently to World of Warcraft II, giving that game the largest Korean population outside of Seoul. Unlike the real world, however, where Korea is a wealthy but tiny and weak nation, in WoWII, Koreans excercise a reign of hegemonic terror over the rest of the globe, and exploit them for gold pieces. Hyundai Warcraft, the online division of the Korean manufacturing giant or chambol, reported for the first time this year that sales of their Level 70 Griffin Flying Mount would outpace those of their most popular car, the Sonata.
The cuisine of Korea consists mostly of intravenous bags attached to gamers.
Australia is like America or Britain, except in the Southern hemisphere! They totally speak English, and if you go during Fall Semester, it's winter when you arrive, but summer when you leave! It rocks! From the ridiculous bars of Sydney to the awesome bars of Melbourne, the open-crazy-late bars of Perth, or the laid-back bars of Canberra, Australia is the perfect place to soak up a shitload of culture during your Study Abroad. Seriously, the girls are all really hot blonde surfers, and they actually like Americans!
Also, and I don't mean to be racist here, but pretty much everyone is white. Not that it would be bad if it wasn't. My Australian friend talks all the time about how Australia is like America before the 60's and the race riots and stuff. It's just a very comfortable place. Comfortable for white people. They do have the Aborigines of course, and I totally want to do a documentary while I'm there about them, and their culture and stuff. I really want to focus on those white tattoos, and find out what they really mean, y'know?
Seriously though you should totally do it, because you'll make memories that will last you the rest of your life, and it requires no prior learning to do. Best of all, everyone there will know what movies and bands you're talking about, and their colleges really suck so going to school there is easy. You can study all sorts of shit and still have time to hit the beach or take a trip to the outback and fight your own alligator, or something that'll make you realize that the environment is really pretty and we should take more steps to prevent it or something.