Steven, a small group of IA students, and I all went to see an Austrian film called The Dark at the Gateway theater on the 28th of November to fulfill my non IA requirement. While the movie was an Austrian film, it was in English. It was based on a girl who was raped by her mother’s boyfriend and then brutalized so she wouldn’t tell. The boyfriend buried her alive in a shallow grave. However, she did not stay dead. For some reason in which the movie did not touch on, the girl survived as an undead being. From there, she returns home and kills her mother in vengeance for being a drunkard and bring the boyfriend back into their lives. As time goes on, the house falls into a dilapidated state and the girl sets traps to preserve her solitude in the forest. When an older man intrudes her forest, she hunts him down and kills him, and is later shown eating his entrails. What she did not know was that there was a blind boy that was reliant on the older man.
On a whim, the girl decides not to kill the boy and instead assists him by providing new clothes. An unlikely alliance is then formed between the two as they assist each other by killing various people that threaten them along the way to find a working phone for the boy to use. After her home becomes the murder scene of a police officer, they abandon it and find a lone house in a field. They break in and are then confronted by an elderly woman with a gun. The boy kills her to protect the girl and they then eat the lady’s soup and sleep in her bed. While the boy is sleeping, the girl drags the body to a nearby shed and tries to eat from it. However, she faces major conflict and can’t seem to do it. During this time, the boy is taken from the home and put into the elder lady’s family’s truck. The girl runs after them and causes the truck to crash. The boy sustains critical wounds and struggles to hold on to life. When the ambulance arrives, she leaves him and retreats back to her home. She takes some belongings and drawing materials, leaves the ax, and heads out to the forest. The last scene of the movie is the girl walking alongside the road and eventually getting into a passing car and driving away; the girl is completely human again.
While the movie does not go into anything really international besides it being made in another country. It does discuss, however, deep trauma that occurs with abuse. For instance, the girl’s undead condition could be a physical representation of her loss of humanity. Waking up undead after years of neglect from her mother, and her rape and brutalization caused by her mother’s boyfriend. Traumatized, it would make sense for the girl to return home. However, seeing her mother, the girl was obviously overwhelmed by rage and she ends up killing her mother. Her decision to take care of the blind boy actually saves her. This can later be backed up as she becomes more human throughout the movie as the boy teaches her how to trust again and have compassion towards others. The boy also has had his fair share of emotional and physical abuse by the older man shown at the beginning of the film. The boy has horrific burn scars over his eyes, causing him to be blind. It is later revealed in the movie that the older man caused them in a fit of rage. The boy’s blindness also forced him to rely on the older man for everything. While both abuse stories were different, the boy and girl both learned how to heal by relying on each other, especially in times of crisis. The boy eventually ends up back with his loving mother and the girl becomes human again. What she does with her newly found humanity, we will never know.
Being an International Affairs Scholars student allows me to experience many types of interactions and learn about different global perspectives. For my academic requirement, I attended the On the Other Side presentation. It was shown by the CARE head, Sean McClare. The presentation focused on cultural perspectives and how one must look at actions or events in different lights based on what is considered normal for a specific culture. Mr. McClare spoke about his personal experience overseas in China where he lived for all of high school and for a couple of years in college. After college, he went back and worked as a Hotel Ambassador for foreign diplomats for 5 years. He was in charge of planning events between different country delegations and making sure that each party was comfortable. This went from providing certain foods, informing his diplomats of certain customs, and making sure each party was safe. He talked a lot about his failed business endeavor where he lost out on a $500,000 business duty simply because of a misjudgment on his part. Today he works in OSU as the International Students Program Coordinator where he helps international students adjust to Americanized student life.
One of the most important parts of his presentation was a short video. It showed a woman with a shawl on her shoulders, wearing no shoes, and feeding a man sitting in a chair. The woman would bow three times before a table of food before selecting a piece, walking to the side of the man’s chair, feeding him the piece, getting on her knees, and then bowing again with the man’s hand on her back. This was repeated many times. Looking at this from the American perspective, we would see a male-dominated society where the women had to serve the men and had to walk and kneel on the dirty ground. However, from their culture, the woman is in power and the man cannot touch the ground or anything that came from it because he is not holy. The woman may walk barefoot because she is holy. It is within her power to not feed the man and leave him hungry. This misinterpretation greatly alters the ceremony from a religious event to one of oppression. These different perspectives greatly show how different an event can be perceived.
In the globalized world of today, we still struggle with understanding other people’s cultures. This leads to feuds, war, and even pity. This has brought around something called ethnocentrism, or the belief that your culture is the best and correct culture. This has always been a problem in the world. It dates back with the Romans control over the Jews, the colonization of the Americans, and even the Imperialization of Africa. Even today in The United State, we still struggle to understand other cultures even when we are surrounded every day with a multitude. There needs to be more focus, in schools and the government, to bridge these gaps and bring about thoughtfulness and respect for others and their beliefs.
For my community service requirement for the International Affairs Scholars Program, I participated in The Ohio State University’s biggest community service event called Community Commitment on August 25th, 2018. We all were gathered into one of the large ballrooms on the second floor and sat with my assigned group. From there, my group was told that we were going to be helping at a Goodwill store. We then left the ballroom, hopped on a bus, and left for the Goodwill.
When we arrived at the store, the manager welcomed us with open arms and led us to her office to discuss what we were going to be helping with. We were sectioned in groups that either helped price and tag halloween decor, makeup, and costumes or helped some of the staff with tagging and racking clothes for the shelves. I ended up in the halloween group where we put price stickers on all the donated items. This didn’t come without difficulty however. Within the whole store, there was only one working price gun. This meant that we had to slowly go through hundreds of items, many with different prices, and mark them one by one.This made me think about how underfunded second hand stores like Goodwill are. They do so much good to help provide struggling people with furniture, clothes, and other necessities when they, too, are struggling as well.
After about two hours, our group leader called a snack break for fifteen to thirty minutes. This kind of confused me because we were only going to be volunteering for around three hours and thought it would be a waste to stop so I hopped on over to the clothing section of the back organization rooms and helped this really nice lady named Dolores. As we were sorting our clothes and hanging them up, she told me all about herself. She had four children and she raised them all as a single mother. She talked about her love for cooking and we compared many different family recipes within that hour of talking. She was also a very sassy woman, in the best kind of way, and she told me all about her dislike for Justin Bieber; we also shared the same opinion on him as well. When that last hour ended, she gave me the best hug and said I made her day. When I asked her why, she replied,”Because you talked to me.”
Leaving Goodwill should have been a happy occasion for me. I mean volunteering, contributing to society; that should have made me feel good. However, it kind of made me upset. Things like clothes and furniture, and even decent conversations come easily in my life. I forgot that some people struggle to have clean, usable clothing, or bed to sleep in at night. It was not pity I was feeling, because pity never allows understanding and learning. It was more of a check. It put me in my place and made me look at what I had and what opportunities I was given compared to others. It reaffirmed that I cannot waste the opportunities I have been given and makes me even more motivated to accomplish my goals.
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