Hello, we are Sushmita and Aaron, two students at Stanford University in the Global Communication writing and rhetoric class, and we are very excited to talk to you!
Sushmita: I am a second year student at Stanford, studying biology. Unlike a lot of students at Stanford, I live very close by to school, which makes, I suppose, for an atypical college experience. Outside of class (which consists mostly of biology and chemistry courses), I am a violinist in the school mariachi band, which plays traditional Mexican music. Not being Hispanic or knowing Spanish that well, it is interesting for me to see what Latin American culture is like and how their music is integrated into their lives.
I found it interesting that many students commented on how the weather is often a topic of conversation in Sweden. I would be tempted to say that people in the U.S. are also fond of talking about the weather, especially when there is a lull in the conversation or if the people talking are from different parts of the country. Most people when coming to Stanford for school always accuse California of having no seasons, but being a native Californian, I find that to be a very simplified view. Granted, the seasonal changes are much subtler, but you can always tell the seasons apart by the fruits (and vegetables) that are available: apples, persimmons and pears in the fall; oranges (and more apples) in the winter; strawberries and cherries in the spring; and peaches, plums, nectarines, berries and melons in the summer. I can’t wait to hear and discuss cultural differences between Sweden and the U.S. with you!
Aaron: I am also a second-year student at Stanford, which makes me 20 years old. At Stanford I am currently studying Computer Science: some of the homework assignments I have had this month include coding Tetris and coding a Sudoku solver.
I was born and raised in Honolulu, Hawaii. The weather in Hawaii is just as amazing as is advertised: it is always warm and sunny. From Wikipedia: “Winter day temperatures are usually around 28 °C, and (at low elevation) seldom dipping below 18 °C at night.” (Of course, here in the U.S. we are accustomed to Fahrenheit temperatures and non-metric measurements, even though our system is not logical.) This warm weather in Hawaii contrasts with the current weather at Stanford, which is currently a cool 16 °C in the afternoon.
I am also a member of the Native Hawaiian race, which consists of the indigenous Pacific Islander people who settled Hawaii before Westerners discovered Hawaii in the 1700s. As such, I was taught in a native Hawaiian school which emphasized Hawaiian culture, history, and language. One of our annual traditions at that school was a song contest, where each class sang a-capella songs in Hawaiian and competed against each other on the basis of musical performance and accuracy in language. There are many stereotypes associated with the people of Hawaii, and the United States as a whole, and I look forward to discussing these with you on Wednesday.