Thursday 1 October 2015

From Catholic to Jewish

By Maria Camila Franco, undergraduate FIGRI, 6th semester, English through Multimedia elective)

Religion in general is a very controversial topic to talk about around the world, especially because there are many types and their different ideologies are the cause of conflicts today. Colombia is a country in which religion plays a relevant role, focused on strong Catholicism beliefs and customs. However, it is important to highlight how the Catholic Church is losing strength and every year there are thousands of catholic followers that stop practicing the religion’s traditions. This could be a consequence of the new reality, because nowadays, being a more open-minded society, religion is not imposed. It is more of a choice.

Even though the Catholic religion has a big influence in the daily life of Colombian people, sources affirm that this religion has not been able to respond to the different cultural, social, political and economic changes that have occurred through the evolution of society. Besides these changes, migrations are events, which have given place to other religious’ practices, for example, the Jewish religion.

Since 1945, the Jewish community has had an important participation in the country’s development. Even though there are approximately 7,000 Jewish citizens they are considered to have a high educational level, and most of them are recognized as being leaders in the business world.

In comparison to Catholicism and Protestantism, Judaism is the one that puts away religion’s rules and it is very common to hear that they do not believe in “God.” However, usually they want a religious education for their children. In addition, it is well known for being a closed community with strict traditions and faithful followers, which finds it extremely difficult to accept people from other religions because they were not instilled with the same values since they were children.

But what about a person that has decided to change her catholic beliefs and customs that she has been practicing since she was born and because of destiny has decided to change her lifestyle and become Jewish? Well, that is the story of Adriana from Cali, who decided to change her catholic beliefs and started to live as a Jewish woman.

Everything began when Adriana’s friend visited her at work with a man that had just arrived from Israel and that is when Adriana met Saul.

Saul is half-German and half-Israeli. He had left Cali when he was 17 years old and moved to Israel with his family. 10 years later, he came back to Colombia with the purpose of getting his ID document updated, but as soon as Saul and Adriana saw each other, they fell in love. Adriana did not care if he was Jewish.

They started a life together in Cali no matter their families’ opinions, and after a while he proposed to her. After this, she realized that she wanted to spend the rest of her life with this man, and to do this she had to put aside her catholic beliefs, and get converted to the Jewish religion so she and Saul could be together.

They got married in a notary office, and then she started the process of getting into the Jewish religion.

The whole process lasted over 3 years. Weekly, she had a teacher that asked her about the Jewish holidays, food, and prayers and how to bake the special bread for every Friday “Shabbat”. Monthly, she had to meet with Rabbi Alfredo Goldsmith to learn about Jewish history and the role of women in family and society.

She has stated that not everything has been that easy, because after this she realized the secondary role of women in society, besides the fact that she had to stop celebrating important holidays with her family, like Christmas. However, she does not regret it at all and she thinks everything has worked out because of the respect and love found in religion. 

Is technology making us less human?

By Anwar Jalifi Guezlan Lobelo (undergraduate FIGRI student, 7th semester, English through Multimedia elective)

When I see people around with their cell phones, chatting or checking Facebook, ignoring their friends or even worse, ignoring their families, I ask myself: is technology so good that it can replace human contact?

I remember when I was young, that if you liked a girl, you had to do the impossible to meet her. You even had to meet her mom and dad! But now, things have changed… Now you can date a girl without having any physical contact with her! Just add her on Facebook and talk to her until she is convinced that you are a great guy! Nowadays, phone calls have been replaced by chats and text messages. You don’t call the girl or the boy you like, you just send him/her a message and that’s it! It has gotten to a point where you talk to that other person, but in reality you don’t even know how troubled that individual you’re chatting with could be.

Now, I’m not saying that technology is a bad thing. We humans need a way to communicate with others, to have some entertainment and to make our lives easier. However, that is not the problem. The problem here is that we are leaving important things behind, like sharing precious moments with family or friends. For example, when families are having dinner, you can see their children chatting, checking Facebook, and watching videos on YouTube. That is the reason why families don’t talk while they are having dinner. Children don’t tell their parents how school was, or anything that is related to their lives. Additionally, parents feel ignored because they ask questions to their children and the latter don’t answer properly.

The same thing happens with friends: when you party with them, you are often checking your cell phone, viewing your messages or just ignoring your surroundings, missing the possibility of dancing with a pretty girl, or maybe just wasting valuable time. When it’s party time, it’s party time. Other things can wait!

In conclusion, technology is a good way to communicate and keep in touch with others, but it must be used wisely. There is a lot to experience in the world and there is no time to waste. Time is scarce and once used, it can never be replenished.  

Being engaged or being successful… Do I have to choose?

By Édgar Maiguel (undergraduate FIGRI student, 8th semester, English through Multimedia elective)

Once, I read an article written by Ryan Bruderlich. It was called “Why do successful men keep being single?” It may seem to be a superficial idea, but there are a lot of things behind that question. Ryan asked: “Have you ever faced that awkward question: Why are you single?” Society makes you feel that there must be a strong reason to justify the fact you are single. The situation gets worse when the twenties arrive. It is at this time when your life starts to take shape. You become a professional and an independent person, and a partner starts to be seen as a requirement. But, what about a person who has a promising professional life, is a good catch, but is still single? Does that make him less successful in the eyes of others? I don’t think so!

A good catch spends his time and his money on the things that make him a good catch. Being in a relationship requires, besides love and patience, money and time. Usually, a good-looking and intelligent person seems that way because he is dedicated to taking care of his personal image and his responsibilities. For some people, being in a relationship is not a priority and they prefer to devote their resources to improving themselves. In that case, being single is not a nightmare, it is an opportunity to become better.

Another reason why good catches are often single is that the majority of people are scared of heights and when you are on a pedestal you can be hard to reach. When you finish your degree, when you learn another language, when you work out to be in shape you are adding, unconsciously, an extra step to be reached. The person who desires to be with you will be, for sure, scared of reaching your “high” standards. Moreover, some people may avoid approaching you just to escape being rejected. For that reason, a good catch may be seen as stand-offish without meaning it. Furthermore, without even thinking it, you also add filters. If you are a professional, you will certainly be looking for a professional too. If you work out, you probably won’t accept a fat or sedentary person. Then, you are not helping a lot! But don´t worry, you are above the average and justification is not needed.

To summarize, being single should not be seen as a mistake if you are using those resources to become a better you. Additionally, you shouldn’t feel bad for looking too high for some people. The person who really desires to be with you will arrive at your same level. Remember, what is worth having, is worth waiting for. And finally, the next time you face the awkward question “Why are you single?” don´t be afraid to answer because you have plenty of justifications. 

Love in the Time of the Past

By Adriana Victoria Piñeros Clavijo (undergraduate Social Comunication student, level 4 English)

Love is something that makes our heart beat unexpectedly fast, and makes us smile and blush to remember moments of wonder and excitement. The love stories that we see on TV are almost perfect, and I say “almost” because there’s always something or someone that wants to spoil the happiness. For example, in fairy tales, there is always a bad witch that wants separate the happy couple, but in the end, they get the lives they dreamed of.

However, have you asked your parents or grandparents about their love stories? Does this sound like a magical story about princesses? I don’t think so - it looks more like a tragi–comedy, or perhaps just a tragedy.

In the past, love wasn’t as common and possible as it is now. In fact, instead of an evil witch like in the fairy tales, there were the families who were opposed to the happiness of the couple, and this made the romance have some mystery and danger. It was something very tempting, but nevertheless, the consequences were considerable, not because of confronting each family, but because love and passion could be at risk. Sneaking out from your family to be with your beloved was something that made you be cautious and consider the risk that you were running. More than a love movie, it was an action movie.

My grandmother told me that when she met my grandfather, she fell in love with him and her love was requited, but her family was a big obstacle to their love. The truth is though that she did not care much about that. She knew that she wanted him and finally she left home and went to live with him. Obviously it wasn’t easy, and she suffered so much and walked away from her family but she said that she did not regret it because she was very happy to be by his side.

But even if they had risks, romance and conquest were something out of the ordinary. Receiving an anonymous serenade at ten or eleven pm was magical, and getting a simple bouquet of flowers with a note from a secret admirer made the flame grow stronger. Some romantics even waited for hours on the same corner, waiting to see his beloved just for the pleasure of greeting her. These are things that were really worth it!

Maybe those stories aren’t like the fairy tales or the romantic movies that we always watch, but it is because the real stories are more intense and don’t have a happy ending because a lot of these stories are not over yet.

Our God

By Jose Luis Marulanda Pérez (undergraduate Social Communication student, Media Analysis elective)

For decades, humanity has asked about the existence of a Supreme Being, a God who sees and can do everything, the person who has the most power and the creator of all that is in the world. For many people his existence is unquestionable, however, there are unexplained events that cast doubt on the religious beliefs of many. Perhaps this question will torment us throughout our lives, because there are arguments for and against the existence of God. What is certain is that this powerful figure has been responsible for transforming societies through history, because we let him.

Humans need a model to follow, a Supreme Being that we can have as a reference to see if we are doing things right, and, therefore, satisfy that necessity. In other words, we want to achieve peace of mind. This necessity was created by humans since centuries ago; in indigenous cultures there was a necessity to have a being greater than themselves, for this reason, they honored many gods, created by themselves.

Based on this, the societies have evolved by the hand of a God (or more than one in some cases), who took care to stipulate what is right or wrong. Moral judgments are objective, and it is through belief in God (that which draws out people’s more humane and kind side) that we have the criterion to judge between good and bad.

Putting this in our social context, and without the necessity to question the existence of God, we can see that many young people have left vandalism, vice or simply bad ways of life, thanks to their faith in God. Although they not see or feel him, they take a new direction in their lives, and his influence completely changes them.

In conclusion, the faith of human beings is what fuels the existence of God, and surely if there wasn’t that faith, God wouldn't exist. We ourselves have created the need for God in our lives. Like many needs we have, if we didn’t know that it existed, we wouldn't need it. For example, if we hadn't found the light, we wouldn't have to see or use our eyes, because we wouldn't know that such a thing exists. Therefore, the simple fact that we ask ourselves if God exists means that the answer is yes. If not, there would be no necessity to question it.

The Centennial Copa America

By Diego Alejandro Vargas Otalora (undergraduate Social Communication student, level 4 English)

In 2016, teams from all over the Americas will meet in the USA to compete in the oldest tournament in the world, the Copa America. This will be a special edition of this tournament to celebrate the centenary of the competition.

The Copa America was created in 1916 in Argentina with only four teams: Argentina, Uruguay, Brazil and Chile – the founders of the Conmebol. Since then, the other countries from South American have been added. In 2015, the last cup included twelve teams – ten from South America (Argentina, Brazil, Bolivia, Chile, Colombia, Ecuador, Paraguay, Peru, Uruguay and Venezuela), and two from the Concacaf (Jamaica and Mexico). Chile is the reigning champion.

In the centennial Copa America, however, the tournament will include 16 teams – ten from Conmebol and six from Concacaf – divided into four groups, each with four teams. Only the top two from each group will progress to the quarter-finals. The matches will be played in different stadiums around the USA, that is to say Stanford, Washington, Houston, Orlando, Miami and East Rutherford.

The hardest tournament selections in the world can become the best staging for Colombia, which is one of the favourites for the title because of its performance in the 2014 World Cup. Other favourites are Chile, the reigning champion, Argentina, the runner-up in the 2014 World Cup, Brazil because of its history, and Uruguay because of its “garra charrúa”. The idea is that the cup stays in South America; in other words, the winner has to be South American because the cup is from South America and a North American team has never won it, although in football, anything can happen!

Black Friday Now in Colombia

By Andrea Martinez (undergraduate Social Communication student, level 4 English)

This day is so anticipated by traders and consumers. It has its origin in the United States, but today it is celebrated in several countries like Colombia, Mexico, Spain and others. Black Friday is the Friday following Thanksgiving Day in the United States (the fourth Thursday of November).

Last year I went to Atlanta with my dad and we arrived two days before Black Friday, so we were able to experience all the excitement of people in this day for shopping. People were making very long lines to buy appliances in shops like Walmart.

The malls were very crowded and we almost could not walk. We went to many shops and bought what we liked at once. We bought a lot of clothes, shoes and different things very cheap.

It was an interesting experience to see how this day is in the United States and how that culture of consumerism has come to our country.

On this day, there are products with discounts that can take off even 90% of the original price. After this day of shopping, there is a day dedicated to Cyber Monday – shopping online – which is held on the Monday after Thanksgiving.

Since two years ago, local merchants in Colombia have been creating strategies to get more consumers. In Colombia more than 100 shopping malls in 19 cities across the country have joined Black Friday, offering discounts of up to 70% on various products.

Cyber Monday has also become popular in Colombia. The Camara de Comercio Electronico of Colombia created, which is a website where Colombians can register to receive offers for the days November 30 and December 1 on all digital platforms.

Now we don’t have to travel to the United States to have good deals!

Dot-Com Personalities

By Paula Tabares Anzola (8th semester undergraduate FIGRI student, English through Multimedia elective)

While surfing around social networks we can find many kinds of people, and when you log into Facebook you can realize how different people are. This is not a matter of real-life personalities; it is more the alter ego of every person that is only visible through the computer screen, and yet is completely public. I’ve called this kind of phenomenon “Dot-Com Personalities”.

Dot-Com Personalities are standard for today’s generation; the people that were born and live in a world defined as globalized. Real-life people can be introverted or extroverted, but that does not imply that their social network profiles are the same. In fact, some people end up being the exact opposite of the people they are when they interact with others. Even though this could be the object of scientific research or psychological investigation, I would rather talk about the funny side of this situation.

How many times have we been surprised, amused and also annoyed by other people’s posts: sometimes because their behaviour does not match their real-life self, or sometimes because it is intensified. Now, there are a lot of “Dot-Com Personalities” to examine. For instance, there is always a person in your Facebook that is constantly showing you how happy he/she is in love, uploading photos with his/her partner in front of different landscapes and writing on each other’s walls like they do not even talk when they are together. These people fill your Facebook page with a pink aura full of “darlings”, “honeys”, “loves”, “sugars” and so on, and end up being too intense.

On the other hand, we have the self-analysing people: the ones that are usually writing about their feelings and updating their emotional status all the time. These people are aware of everything that surrounds them and want us to be too. Everything in their lives deserves a full post, from their family to their everyday experience, and that is why sometimes we can find a picture of a road that comes with a caption that goes something like this: “Oh my God, today I saw this road and I realised how lucky we are. This road has been here for almost a hundred years and we are now walking on it. A lot of people don’t have roads but we do; it’s such a beautiful thing...” and the funniest part of it is that we read it all, always, and we ask ourselves if it’s because we are not deep enough that we find this boring.

There are also the controversial people: the ones that write about abortion, equality, religion, politics or anything that involves an unstoppable discussion. These people are always writing about their positions on the issues, but what they do not know is that they are opening Pandora’s Box of opinions, which fills your whole Facebook page and in the end –most of the time- finishes with people agreeing to disagree.

There is also the extremely deep person whose photos are anything but deep: this person whose photos are normal bedroom selfies and who come up with a really deep quote of something not even relatable to what we see. We can see this in the girl that is showing half her boobs and her happy duck face and who quotes Mandela with a sentence on peace; this is funny but also a bit worrying. Also, to continue talking about photos, there is another kind of person, the hashtag-aholic. We know hashtags are used to find opinions, articles, or photos about a common topic but there are people that cannot handle this kind of responsibility and upload a picture of their shoes and write something like this: “#shoes #uggs #winter #girl #girlwithshoes #girlwithuggs #uggsareshoes #girlinwinter #beautiful #fashion #love #beautifullovefashion #fashionlove #loveforuggs #uggsarefashion #beautifuluggs #beautifulgirl… #STOP IT! This is not just annoying, it’s also stupid!

Finally, and even if there are a lot more of these personalities, there is the GPS person: the person that is always traveling and sharing how they stop in every airport, city, or mall. This person shares too much! The GPS person is worse when he/she shares his/her location everyday inside the same city; they show you they are going to work, to study, to the theatre, to the park, and even to walk – for god’s sake! Most of the time it’s not interesting at all, and it can be unsafe.

To sum up, people are not what they seem to be on their Facebook profiles or maybe that is really what they are, but they just sometimes express themselves too much. It is not bad to have a bit of these personalities inside you when they are well-balanced, but if you suffer from this problem, you know what I’m talking about.


By Sergio Almanza Gonzalez
(1st semester undergraduate Social Communication student, level 4 English)

I know that Netflix is very mainstream nowadays but I want to talk about this series that I think is the best thing that I have watched in a long time. Sense8 is great in every way: the series is science-fiction, and it was written by the Wachowski brothers with the help of Michael Straczynski. This series was filmed in so many countries like the USA, England, Germany, Mexico, etc. The stars of the show are 8 great actors called Aml Ameen, Bae Doona, Jamie Clayton, Tena Desae, Tuppence Middleton, Max Riemelt, Miguel Ángel Silvestre and Brian J. Smith.

The main characters are all the “sense 8”: these people have skills: one, for example, is being able to speak with people on the other side of the world only using the mind. The characters have problems in their lives with their families, money, etc, and this makes the plot more interesting. I think that the two most important people are Will and Riley because they have a love story together and together they are the protagonists of the last episode of season one.

The plot is excellent because it tells the story of all the characters very well, and changes perfectly between the different countries, so you won’t get lost ever. I know some series maybe have such complicated stories but this is easy to understand and has some funny parts. The bad part of the plot is that there is a bad guy that has the same power but he wants to catch the others and use them to do bad things. The group has the help of Jonas, who is a guy that belonged to another group and who now wants to protect the new 8.

In my personal opinion I can say that it is the best series on Netflix, because it has all the themes that a series can have, like comedy, science-fiction, romance and suspense. You connect with the characters because the plot describes them all very well and you love them all without exception. I love the German character because he has a really hard life but he is a good person. He helps his friend in the hospital and avenges this same friend. The series talks about a very important topic, which is homosexuality and I can see that in other countries this is very natural but in Colombia it’s still a taboo. I give this series 5 stars and I recommend it so much. I hope you can see it!

King of the Jungle: a Friend of Mankind

By Viviana Andrea Lozada Rodríguez (8th semester undergraduate FIGRI student, English through Multimedia elective)

Humans have always felt curious about wildlife, while lions are the most magnificent creatures of the wild. They have a special connection with human beings.

Despite the popular belief that lions are just wild animals that can kill you with a single bite, a lot of humans have dared to establish a strong friendship with them.

The story of Christian the lion is a good example of this friendship. Australians John Rendall and Anthony Bourke purchased Christian from Harrods Department Store of London, England. In 1969 this popular store used to have its own zoo where the customers could buy any animal.

They took care of Christian for years, until he became so big that the cost of having him in their apartment was too high. For that reason, Christian was reintegrated into the wild. He was sent to Kora National Reserve in Kenya. However, because of the strong relationship that had developed between the lion and his owners, John and Anthony couldn't help travelling to Africa to meet him again. Here comes the most shocking part of the story. After one year living in the wild, Christian recognised them and played with them as if they had never been apart. Nobody could have imagined previously that a lion could develop affection for human beings.

Nowadays, people are not only aware of the special connection that they can create with lions, but they also understand that these animals are an endangered species. That’s why the death of Cecil, a lion that was killed by Walter Palmer, an American dentist who is a fan of hunting animals as sport, got everybody’s attention.

Non-profit organizations such as Black Jaguar-White Tiger have emerged with the mission to “eradicate the idea that a living being can be reduced to a simple object for the purpose of possession. Moreover, (the NGO exists) to raise awareness about how each animal is sentimental, intelligent, and unique.”

This initiative came to be when the founder, a Mexican with a good heart, decided to help an orphaned black jaguar cub that was in the hands of someone with bad intentions. This person was planning to drug the jaguar cub in order to allow people to take photos next to it and make money.
At that moment, Eduardo knew that he had to continue to help animals that were in danger. Up to now, the organization has rescued more than fifteen felines, including African lions, from the hands of irresponsible and heartless people who just want to take advantage of them and make money.

These inspiring stories of true love, awareness and friendship are just an invitation to reflect about the preservation of life. Plenty of animals are endangered species. Fewer than 20,000 lions survive in the wild. It’s time to start supporting initiatives that promote animal care.

Give Pole Dancing a Try!

By Alejandra Santos Andrade (2nd semester Social Communication & Journalism student, level 4 English)

What is the first thing that you think of when you hear “pole dancing”?

Exactly, the most common answer is: Strip clubs.

But pole dancing is more than this. In 1135 AD, Indian athletes started to use a vertical post to do different stunts, so, they could improve strength and flexibility. This activity was called Mallakhamb.

Another alternative perspective is that, after the Great Depression, different carnivals presented their performances, and one of the shows was erotic dancing. These dancers didn’t have space to move, so they decided to incorporate the tubes that held up the tents into their dance routines, and that´s why pole dancing is related with those activities.

However, in 1994, Fawnia Dietrich, a fitness model, opened a studio where she taught pole dancing as a sport, and she called it pole fitness. Since this moment, many academies have become dedicated to the teaching of pole dancing and have opened their doors around the world. Although it’s been difficult to have pole dancing considered as a sport, it has gained popularity, and it has managed, in many countries, to separate the image that associates it with erotic activities. The first pole dancing championship was in Amsterdam, in 2005.

Now, you can think differently about pole dancing. It´s a fantastic way to exercise your body, so why don´t you try it?

Please don’t be discouraged if you think you are too old to practice it - pole dancing doesn´t have age limits. You only need the willingness to learn and also perseverance, because it is not an easy sport. However, if you have discipline and you enjoy it, you will get awesome results. Each session of this sport can help you burn up to 800 calories, and also, it’s the perfect activity to build your self-esteem.

It’s no excuse to say that pole dancing is a taboo because it’s the most fantastic way for you to feel good about yourself.

Bogotá is being invaded by pole dance academies, and you can find one of these in each important city area. The disadvantages to pole dancing disadvantage is that it’s an expensive sport. Four classes can cost 120,000 COP and if you buy an unlimited plan, you have to pay 500,000 COP. However, DON’T WORRY! It’s so easy to get deals and discounts.

Also, last June Bogota pole dancing celebrated “Urban Pole Dance Day,” which consists of walking in the streets and using lamp posts, traffic lights and bus stops as poles.  It was a successful day!

How to win over a girl’s heart through dancing and music

By Mateo Jaramillo Vargas (3rd semester undergraduate Social Communication student, English through Multimedia elective)

I will begin by telling you about my personal experience with dancing, which was really embarrassing. It happened last year when I attended my prom, which was celebrated at my school. It was all going well at the party until I realized that I had to dance with my prom date, which I confess was hard, since I don’t really know how to dance and really suck at it. Anyway, I danced with my prom date but it was really awkward since I resembled a statue and my prom date was starting to get bored and she yawned from time to time.

You’d think a normal person would sign up for dancing classes after that but I don’t have any interest in dancing whatsoever and felt really annoyed at parties where everyone was dancing and absolutely no one talked. I know it sounds crazy but sometimes I prefer talking rather than dancing, and throughout my life I have been fooling myself into thinking that I’m fine with that although honestly I’m not. I want to dance and I want to know people through dancing, connect with them and learn new things.

I’m not really an expert in what people call dancing or winning over a girl’s heart, but I can tell you that dancing is one of the best ways to get to a girl’s heart.

You may ask, “Why is that?” Well, I don`t know the answer but I can assure you that women fall easily for guys that are great at dancing.

The skills, techniques and joy that guys bring to dancing can surely make a girl enjoy herself and have a great time at a prom, party or even a dancing contest.

But let’s be serious. For those of us who suck at dancing, I can only recommend one thing, and that is to sign up at a dance academy where they can teach you to dance salsa, reggaeton, or merengue, among other danceable music genres.

You can also refuse to learn and use the perfect excuse which is: “I don`t really care about dancing.” This suggests you may have a bad time at every party, prom or wedding because you will remain seated throughout the whole thing while you enviously watch your friends dancing with their girlfriends or female friends, thinking to yourself, “that could be me, but I don`t really care about dancing, so it’s ok.”

Let’s face it though; we all know it is really important to learn how to dance because it will help you to become more sociable and outgoing with people, especially girls. It will also provide an excuse to attend parties or almost any social event that includes dancing.

So that’s my experience with dancing. I hope the readers can identify with my experience or at least laugh at my poor dancing skills, which was my main objective. 

Bourgeois Feminism?


By Aliénor Godefroy and Laura Camila Ruiz (exchange & 4th semester undergraduate FIGRI student, Media Analysis elective)

As Emma Watson, the famous actress from the Harry Potter films, said in her UN Women’s speech “If you believe in equality, you might be one of those inadvertent feminists that I spoke of earlier”. The beginning of the feminist movement is considered to be in the 19th and 20th centuries with the political movement of suffrage: those women who were fighting for their right to vote. Feminism has also had other important periods, for example in the 60s when women were fighting for their sexual freedom.  All of these liberation movements tried to fight against masculine domination (which does not mean being anti-men) and give us the equality that we deserve.

Even though her reasons were right for us because she talked about how she felt as it reopened the feminist debate in many countries, many people criticized Watson’s speech because of her “bourgeois” comments. To speak about the fact that you have to stop playing sport because of the fear that you’ll become too muscly seems a little ironic when you think about all the women who are not, for religious, economic or other reasons, free to practice any sport. When you’re French and you come here to speak about feminism, you may feel that your French feminist problems are light in comparison to those here. Nevertheless, it does not mean that the issues that French feminists have to face are superficial issues. It is only that every society has to face its own issues. There are issues that only concern some countries, like access to education for girls in developing countries, or all countries, like the gap between the average male and female salaries.

Living in a country where, even if you work more than men, your salary will be 20 percent less is not the only machismo problem that we have. We are raising women to believe in Disney World lifestyle goals. Nowadays, many girls want to find their ideal prince instead of finding themselves as successful businesswomen. We are forgetting our women’s history. Not all women have received the same rights but people keep thinking that being feminist is “too strong” and “too anti-men.”

We are not trying to make you change the way you think and the way you live your life. It is okay to expect to have the same job opportunities. It is okay to decide with whom you will have sex. It is okay to try to make your life better as women and expand the possibilities (for men as well). Feel free to speak out when somebody is violating your rights and feel free to express your opinion. Remember, feminism is about equality for both genders. This is about freedom.

Citizens of the World

By Alejandra Holguin Madriñan (7th semester undergraduate FIGRI student, English through Multimedia elective)

I always wondered why, if I have the right to free movement, I can’t calmly go to another country without having to fill out so much paperwork, pay for all the things I have to do to get a visa and all the other formalities.

If you go back in history you can realize that humans and animals were always in movement. They migrated and traveled great distances, and the weather, the food and natural events kept them moving constantly. However, today the causes of migration have evolved and it is not that easy to move to another territory whenever you want. Our ancestors would be very surprised to be limited by a visa, a passport and the paperwork to cross from here to there.

The development of the many obstacles for migrants began in the early twentieth century with the wave of immigrants coming from Europe to the United States and other countries in America. This period was epic because of the thousands of people moving from one country to another and the United States was the country receiving most of these immigrants. There were more and more people in pursuit of the American Dream. Laws and controls of every kind represented the beginning of the obstacles for these dreamers to enter the United States. Many other countries around the world also started to apply these measures.

Borders became a major topic on the agenda of the states within the international system. I think that the situations that exist today with the border between Colombia and Venezuela and the one between the United States and Mexico are outrageous. They are very different situations but they are based on the same issue: people are constantly crossing the borders between countries whether legally or illegally. We are not analyzing this problem at its source, we are just trying to “stop it” by closing borders, imposing obstacles, being violent and building walls to divide each other.

Why, if we have the right to free movement, should we have a passport or a visa to travel? Should we even have a passport or a visa? Why can’t we just be citizens of the world?

Hunger or Well-being?

By Andrea Estupiñan (4th semester undergraduate Tourism & Hotel Management student, English through Multimedia elective)

Do you remember what your breakfast was today? Or what you ate yesterday? I don’t know what you had, but I am sure that your meals included grains, fruit, vegetables, meat, chicken or fish; and maybe you could be thinking that it’s obvious that those foods were included in your diet and it makes no sense to ask that, so I have new questions for you. What kind of food are you eating? What is that doing or not doing to your body? How is it being produced? Where does all that come from?

It is important to take into account the factors already mentioned because there are situations that have been changing nutrition. I am talking about transgenic elements: food that comes from genetically modified (GM) seeds modified by Monsanto, the company that has this monopoly in its hands.

GM foods have been made to satisfy an increased demand for things to eat. It means that the modifications make seeds have a greater resistance to pests, ecosystem conditions and climatic conditions. They also become resistant to herbicides, take less time to grow, last longer and have more attractive physical characteristics although everything cannot be good. The production of GM foods brings with it the implementation of new practices such as the use of fertilizers and pesticides that are toxic to our health; the human body is not capable of removing these chemical toxins by itself and this exposure affects and deteriorates the body, due to internal biomass accumulation.

If you are thinking that you don’t eat these fertilizers or pesticides, think about how much of it could fall onto the ground where the plants grow. Think about how, when we consume protein, the animals have been fed with GM grain.

This form of agriculture is killing the other plants around GM crops. Insects are dying, and this is imminently affecting the food chain and the environment.

If this kills nature and living beings, won’t it kill us, too?

Be the voice of those that don’t have one

Article and photo by Francy Lorena Gamba Martínez
(6th semester undergraduate Social Communication & Journalism student, Media Analysis elective)

We´ve seen them on the streets looking for food, or running from danger. Some of them may have known about the idea of a home and a human family, who in the end just threw them out because they grew up, while others are just used to being on the streets and not trusting anyone.

In Latin America the statistics about the number of homeless animals are really worrying. Just in Mexico, there are 1,200,000 homeless animals. Just imagine what the figure could be for the whole Latin American continent.

However, the saddest part of this reality is the government legislation and the lack of strong laws regarding this. There are mass culls, where the suffering of animals is often not important, and scheduled hunts, which in some places have become a kind of sport where the pain of the hunted animals is the most important aspect and these creatures are indiscriminately poisoned.

Those heartless methods show that there is little awareness about animal protection in this part of the world. Nevertheless, the eyes and ears of some people are opening bit by bit. With the access to information that came with the internet and cyberspace, there was a rise in the number of people that stopped saying “poor baby” and began to do something more. In Colombia, there are around 100 official organizations that work for animal rights in every area, every day. That is without taking into account those people who work by themselves recovering animals and giving them away in responsible adoption.

There are two sides to this coin, and everyone is playing their part in this situation. They are not just our pets or the closest animals that human beings have ever been related with. They are our habitat partners and, if we are indifferent to their pain, if we support their abuse, then what can we expect of our future in this world?

Milan Kundera, the author of The Unbearable Lightness of Being, said once that “humanity's true moral test, its fundamental test…consists of its attitude towards those who are at its mercy: animals.”  If we support and even participate in these kinds of terrible acts, how can we define our humanity? 

The End of a Cruel Spectacle

By Juan Sebastián Basto Hernández (2nd semester undergraduate FIGRI student, level 4 English)

The bull, symbol of courage and tenacity, is subjected to a degrading and painful spectacle. The animal is prepared: vaseline is rubbed into his eyes and needles are stuck into his genitals, with the final purpose of getting him into the bullring weak and disoriented, facilitating the "slaughter" of the matador. Once the bullfight starts, the “picador”, knocks lances into the bull’s back, in order to cause intense pain in the neck of the animal that prevents it from looking up. Then the assistant matadors introduce the “banderillas” into the wound. Every movement of the bull is a martyrdom. Finally, the bull bleeds to death. The animal falls to the ground and the matador thrusts a “puntilla”, a wound that does not kill him, but leaves him conscious even if paralyzed. The bull is dragged out of the arena, and the audience stands and applauds. The work of art that they came to witness has finished.

The most outrageous thing of all is that Colombia is the scene of this cruel spectacle, disguised under the name of art and culture. Our country is one of the eight countries in the world that allows bullfighting and other practices that harm animals. This is because violence is part of our culture. We need to change that, because culture cannot be more important than animal rights, and we have to make people aware that they are watching a barbaric act and not a cultural one. This can be achieved through campaigns against animal violence.

As Ricardo Fajardo and Alexandra Cárdenas express in their book Animal Rights: “In Colombia, justice has been defined by the set of existing roles of human relationships throughout history. Unfortunately, the base of this history has been subordination. This started with black people, when the Spaniards colonized our territory, and continued with women and ethnic minorities. While this process has seen continuous fights for equality and recognition of rights, man has forgotten his closest cousin: the animal.”

To get an idea about animal rights in Colombia, just consult our constitution, where these rights are not even named or recognized. This contrasts with the constitution of other countries such as Germany, in which the state has the obligation to ensure the rights and protection of animals.

The mistreatment of bulls in Colombia is legitimized through Article 7 of Act 84 of 1989 corresponding to the National Statute of Protection of Animals. In this article, numerous behaviors that harm animals are authorized, and these behaviors are considered to be cultural and artistic expressions that identify us as Colombians, which makes the suffering of these living beings tolerable.

Above all, this law completely contradicts the Universal Declaration of Animal Rights, which provides basic and logical principles of animal protection in its articles 10 and 11: "No animal should be used for entertainment. Animal exhibitions and shows that use animals are incompatible with animals’ dignity. Every action that causes the unnecessary death of an animal is a crime against life."

Bullfighting is a grotesque and violent spectacle in which people feel satisfaction witnessing the death of an animal. Unfortunately, Colombia is the scene of this slaughter and the law protects it, considering it to be a cultural and artistic expression that identifies us as Colombians. It is clear that the only way to eradicate this violence is to reform the law, something that would not only constitute a benefit for the animals, which are the ones really affected by this practice, but would also be progress for the Colombian nation. As Thomas A. Edison said, “until we stop harming all other living beings, we are still savages."

Have a Good Beginning to Have a Good Ending

By Santiago Ortiz (10th semester FIGRI student)

I believe every start in our lives can be difficult, sometimes because nobody tells us what to do or how to be in some particular situations, and other times just because of the way we are. However, there are two special beginnings in our lives at university and at work, which I would like to mention because they are important for almost everybody. I want to give you some advice to make those situations less traumatic, based on my own experience.

Firstly, when you begin studying at university, there are some tips you should take into account to make this start easier. The people who you will find at university are very different from the people you used to be with at school, and for that reason you should be open-minded and make many friends, without caring about what they look like. There is nothing more traumatic than being alone, because your fear will not let you be. If you have a good group of friends, you will feel confident and you can figure out the new and weird problems you will face. In addition, a good group of friends will help you study for hard exams, because I am sure that the last year of your school wasn´t as difficult.

Another piece of advice I would like to give you is to be very organized because you will have a lot of homework and projects, and if you do not have a good method, you will not use your time well. In my own experience, I found support in a female friend. Usually, girls are more responsible and organized than men, and she helped me to remember important dates and study for exams.

It is not only a good idea to be more responsible, but also to build strong relationships with others. I would like to give you other little tips for your university life. You have to think you are going to be at least five years with your classmates, so it will be better if you build a good relationship with them. You must not lie about yourself, about your economic situation, or try to be someone different, because your classmates will have enough time to know everything about you. Likewise, the relationship with your teachers is also very important because a lot of them are very well-known, intelligent and experienced people. Not only can they help you at university, but they can help you in the future to get a good job or to advise you in your personal projects. Don’t be afraid of speaking with your teachers because they are regular people and most of them are very paternal and pleasant. If you follow this advice, you will have a great time at university.      

Moving on, below there are some pieces of advice for your first job that I have learnt myself. These are handy tips that everyone should know and make use of. I wish somebody had told me these before I started working, because this way, I would not have learnt them the hard way, and I would not have made so many awful mistakes. The following advice is not only applicable for work, but also for life.
Be humble. If you are one of those guys that graduated Suma Cum Laude and think you know everything, and you want to improve the way they do things in the office, I’ve got some advice for you. Forget about everything! What you are going to learn at work comes from experience rather than academia. It is the way things work in real life; it is not like in the classroom. Although knowledge should always be valued, don’t close your mind, so you can be easily be taught the new things that will complement you. There is nothing as annoying as a new person that wants to show off by correcting a current employee! I found out this when my colleague Andrés, the new intern, was hired.
Work hard, especially if your boss is a generation older than you. Bosses tend to dedicate a great part of their lives and goals to the company. They do not expect you to be a regular person, but a working machine that only has one focus: to generate profits for the company. Note that this happens more with older bosses. The older they are, the more their lives revolve around the company, and the more they want you to be totally dedicated to work and less to your personal life.

Be a unique, valuable asset. We all are good at something and we all have different skills. Your goal is to find out how you can apply those skills in your daily work. The important thing to have in mind is that you do not want to try to change the core of these things; just basic, slight improvements. Sometimes you will need to ask your boss or your colleague before making a change, so be aware of this. You can also express your ideas in workgroup conversations. Just use your wisdom and prudence before making a change and you will be fine. I hope these tips will be of great help in your life, because if you have a good beginning, you will have a good ending. 

A Healthy Snack!

By Laura Sofía Grueso (4th semester undergraduate Social Communication student, level 4 English)

There are some people who think that eating healthily is unpleasant and tasteless, but that isn’t true! 

There are many delicious and healthy recipes that give us nutrients and benefit our bodies.

I want to show you how to make a super healthy dessert without sugar or flour.

All you need is yogurt, a mango, stevia and lemon juice. Blend all the ingredients then put the mixture into the freezer. After two hours, you can enjoy a delicious ice cream, one hundred percent natural!

This dessert goes well with peanut butter, which you can make yourself. All you need are peanuts and olive oil. Put these ingredients into a blender until you have a smooth consistency, then put some of this mixture onto the dessert.

I hope you enjoy it!