Crowds of people lined up outside Massachusetts Avenue’s Embassy Row isn’t the usual sight on a Saturday afternoon. But to the SEGL Spring 2015 semester, this was the reality for two consecutive Saturdays!
On these Saturdays, we attended the Around The World and European Union Embassy Tours to explore the culture, food and songs of countries around the globe. The crowds were long, the temperature hot and the excitement contagious.
Last Saturday, May 2nd, various embassies not in the European Union showcased themselves to the public. Walking into the Brazilian Embassy, your eyes turn to the elaborate, luxurious dining rooms and staircase hallways fit for a king. The Cote d’lvoire embassy had music and dancing outside which provided endless laughs and dancing for all of us SEGLettes! We also ran into the Haitian Ambassador to the United States, Paul Altidor. Other embassies we visited include Dominican Republic, Mozambique, and Colombia.
But being the SEGL students we are, we question whether the embassies are inaccurately representing conflict within their nations. For example, Brazil, a country where the majority of the people live below the poverty line, is depicted as a lavish country where wealth is abundant. We recognize these illusions and how they will hopefully increase tourism in their countries.
This past weekend, for our second Saturday Academy, all 24 of us arrived in Dupont Circle to watch a brief video explaining the European Union. We analyzed several questions associated with the European Union’s economy, national sovereignty and relationship with other nations. Afterwards we had several hours to walk up Massachusetts Avenue and travel to Croatia, Ireland, Luxembourg, and Portugal. Some offered traditional food such as Croatian Fritule’s (delicious mini jelly doughnuts dusted with powdered sugar). Others had short videos to show off their country for its wildlife, cuisine and wonderful tourism experiences.
It’s moments like these where we have learned to take in everything DC has to offer…I don’t know any other place where you can visit a country by stepping through a doorframe.