My understanding of globalisation has come a long way from the days of Year 9 Geography in high school. How wrong I was to think that all it was was countries having treaties with one another or transnational corporations like McDonalds or Coke dominating the world. While what I learnt was not incorrect it wasn’t the whole picture. Since then I have experienced the world and the world’s cultures within Australia and have realised that globalisation has a much broader and yet more specific spectrum to it.
The global communication environment is media saturated and offers information overload and access to a virtual global community. With media technologies and especially the internet being such an integral part of everyday life nowadays, meaningful interpersonal communication and traditional communities, languages and values may seem to be losing their importance. Like me, I am sure everybody is guilty of this at some stage, like texting Mum who is only in the other room to please bring me in a glass of water when she comes in. Instantaneous messaging has made us somewhat lazy, however, it enables communication regardless of proximity.
In 2012 I travelled to America by myself to work at an American Summer camp for 3 months. The experience completely opened my eyes to the world and its cultures as girls came from places such as New Zealand, England, Germany, Turkey, Iceland, Sweden and of course America. While the notion that “globalisation could lead to the homogenisation of the world’s cultures” (O’Shaughnessy and Stadler, p.458) was prevalent to an extent, each person had their own beliefs, values, language and individuality which could never be changed. While all of us were aware of the dominance of Western culture upon our own, when I said “thongs”, Americans said “flip flops” or someone from New Zealand referring to them as “jandals”, something as simple as that opened up our minds to the everlasting differences in cultures which cannot be affected or influenced by the increasingly globalised world.
Globalisation also offers a sense of interconnectedness and media platforms like Skype and Viber facilitate in the formation and encouragement of relationships and communities across geographic, racial, religious and cultural barriers. It is incredible to think that my family in Australia was able to speak to and see me via Skype whilst I was in America some 16000km away. Globalisation has made possible this kind of instantaneous and interconnectedness of communities.