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Two Dragons welcome the sunrise with an improvised dance atop the Andes. Photo by Ryan Gasper.

Hi again!

  1. Hi everyone! I got too excited and posted a short intro back in July but heres a second, more thorough, one! I am Emmy from Carmel Valley California. I go to school at Quest University in Squamish British Columbia Canada (Where I will be returning in January). I originally applied for this program as a senior in high school, eager to take a break from traditional academics and see a different part of the world. However, I was soo excited to go to Quest that I postponed my Dragons program until this year. I like to think of myself as a happy person who is open to new ideas and experiences. Things that I love include people, cooking, photography/filmmaking, working out, good music, and dancing. I’m not the hugest fan of tomatoes, but other than that there’s not much I don’t like. Some interesting facts about me are :
  • Part of my child hood was spent at an alternative school in the mountains of SantaCruz which doubled as a world renowned Hindu retreat. Every year the community would perform a musical rendition of the epic Indian poem The Ramayana.
  • Cheese and cookies are my favorite foods (Gouda cheese and chewy cookies if we’re getting specific)
  • The worst thing I’ve ever done (or at least the thing I feel the most guilt over) was attempting to sneak into the Canterbury Cathedral without paying.
  • My favorite songs are written by my brother.
  • The smartest person I know is my grandfather who I call Abu.
  1. From what I understand, while Individualist culture prioritizes the needs and achievements of the individual (even at the expense of others), collectivist culture prioritizes the needs and achievements of larger groups (such as the family or even society as a whole) over that of the individual.
  2. I believe that the culture I live in today is largely individualistic. In the United states, people are judged based on how “successful” they are. Success is defined in terms of personal wealth, social status, and level of education. These are all qualities which pertain to the individual as opposed to the group.
  3. From the minimal research I have done; in Bolivian culture the term “family” refers to bilateral kin groups which can often stretch to the third cousin range. This contrasts greatly with my own culture, where family means only my immediate family; my mother father and brother. The idea of stretching family to encompass as many people as possible shows the value that is put on connection within larger groups. This is a trait of a collectivist society.
  4. In the Andean society described, collectivist values do indeed extend to the natural world. The hills and mountains themselves are said to be considered “like elders in Sonqo’s family of places (pg.43)” (Sonqo being a town) and individuals often establish special ties to certain landmarks. In Andean society “all matter is in some sense alive and conversely all life has a material base.(pg. 62)” The earth is believed to nurture everyone and everything. This belief shows the importance of connection and interdependence(characteristics of a collectivist culture).
  5. Ethnocentrism is defined by Wikipedia as the “evaluation of other cultures according to preconceptions originating in the standards and customs of one’s own culture.” To approach a new culture without these preconceptions seems nearly impossible as most of the ideas one has about the world are based on the culture they were raised in. I am no different, and I know that I will have to be aware of the subconscious judgments I make as I explore this new part of the world.