Study the two news stories below to find out more about the situation for women and girls in Afghanistan now that the Taliban is back in power.
Discuss: what do the two stories tell you about the situation for females in Afghanistan, past and present? What do girls and women have to face should they want to study? Do these stories make you more pessimistic or more optimistic on the behalf of Afghanistan’s future? Why?
Watch this 15-minute video produced by the Guardian and read this article from the same news source detailing how some indigenous peoples experience changes to their culture due to effects of climate changes.
What challenges and benefits do the people on Greenland experience because of climate changes? And while Aboriginal Australians may have the same core problem, given their vastly different physiography the effects are even more devastating. Add governmental obstructions, for instance when it comes to infrastructure, into the equation, and it is hard to see any benefits from climate changes like the Greenlanders do. So what challenges do the people of Australia’s Northern Territory face because of climate changes?
The English-speaking world is huge…we often limit ourselves to studying the USA, Great Britain, and maybe Canada and Australia… During the next couple of weeks we are going to take a look at English-speaking countries outside of these main areas. Pick a country where English is an official language.
Find out about the variety of English spoken here, and how it differs from standard English in pronunciation and vocabulary. Why is English an official language in this country (look at history)?
Present an author and a literary text from this country. This could be a novel, a short story or a poem, written in the English language. What is it about, and is there a message the author is trying to get across? How is this message carried across/the story told (literary techniques)? Main themes?
Present a contemporary issue from this country. This could be something you find in the news (remember that all English-speaking countries have their own English-speaking news media, so CNN and BBC should not be your only sources here…) or something you have heard about being a challenge/problem in this country.
You can work individually or in pairs. Present your findings on your blog and be ready to share them with the rest of the class. Use pictures and statistics, or add a video or sound file, but make sure you only use material that you are allowed to share and refer to where you have taken it from.
Gran Torino is a film released in 2008 that features Clint Eastwood as the main character as well as him being the director. Today’s subject day will be dedicated to watching and working with this film. It provides a range of topics to discuss, from multiculturalism and cultural differences, to various socioeconomic challenges, and shows a number of approaches to the value of human life.
We will primarily work in groups: before we watch the film by studying and discussing the film poster, and after the film we will delve into discussions around possible themes that come to mind while watching it. The end result will be an individual blog post that you publish on your own blog at the end of the day, based on questions handed out in class and the group discussions during the day.
Many of us dream (or have done so) about studying somewhere that is else – experiencing a different country, culture and climate while getting a degree at the same time.
Having spent time abroad can also look good on your resume when applying for future jobs, it might say something about your ability to adapt to new settings, to working in a language not your own, and your sense of adventure.
For the next weeks, you will plan your year of studying abroad, and then present this plan orally. Here’s what you need to do:
Find a real university that offer this study program and find out what you need to do to apply there. Grades, college interview, personal statement, recommendations from teachers??? How much does it cost to study there? Do you need some sort of student visa – how do you get that? http://www.ansa.no/ is a website that offers a lot of information about these sort of things.
What kind of student activities do this town offer? What do you want to do in your spare time? Plan this too.
Where will you live? Find a place – look at actual listings for apartments or student dorms in your chosen city. https://www.goabroad.com/articles/study-abroad/best-student-accommodation-websites
What about the culture in this country – are there rules of behavior you need to adapt to? Communications, festivals, food, religions…
Make a prezi, a power point or a video where you present your study plans. This will be graded orally.
There is no required LENGTH – I know how much you love to ask about that, but if you want a good grade you should make sure that you answer all the assignment asks of you.
You are also to write a personal statement, which will be graded as well. We will work with how to write a personal statement in class, so save that for then.
As we are finishing The Kite Runner, the main character has spent many years both in his homeland and as an immigrant in the US. Through Amir we are introduced to both an Afghanistan before and under Soviet rule, and then finally, we get a glimpse of a devastated country under the Taliban.
How did the descriptions of Afghanistan agree with or differ with the ideas and impressions you already had of this country?
What cultural differences become evident in the parts set in the US?
How easy is it for Afghans to settle and find their place in the US?
Write a ONE paragraph blog post answering these questions.
Having read the first seven chapters of The Kite Runner (2003), you have probably started to get to know some of the important characters. Who is the protagonist? Who is the antagonist? Who is your favorite character and so forth…
A character sketch is a short description of a character based on what the book has told you so far. Remember that you get to know a character not just from descriptions the book makes of him/her, but also through actions, thoughts and conversations this character is shown to have.
Choose a character from The Kite Runner: Amir, Hassan, Baba, Ali, Rahim Khan, Assef, or someone else, and write a character sketch. Find quotations from the book to emphasize your points.
Example of the beginning of a character sketch. Amir is the narrator of the story. He lives in San Fransisco, but grew up in Kabul in the 1970s with his father, Baba, and servants Ali and Hassan. He has a complicated relationship with his father, “He’d close the door, leave me to wonder why it was always grown-ups’ time with him” (p.4). Amir seems lonely, and it seems like his father wants very little to do with him, or takes little interest in him.” … and then it continues
Recommended reading – although it is mostly pictures – a very interesting piece from the New York Times about 18 girls around the world turning 18. What are their lives like – differences, similarities, hopes, dreams etc. Take a few minutes and look at the photos and read the few captions here.