Sunday, March 1, 2009

Journal Question #6

There are multiple reasons to always remember the CESL program. For me it was awesome to share my points of view about different topics in a multicultural class. “Estrangers” from different countries in the world also taught me interesting things that are not included in the geography books. And of course, the nice contrast and genuine methodology of my instructors taught me that, in this world everything is possible if we just help our students to go beyond their expectancies.

This is my first experience in multicultural class so, to be understood I had to always speak in English. In other words, I was forced to speak in English to transmit my ideas and definitely, I had to speak and pronounce, my English, as best as possible to be understood by everybody in the class. Talking or writing about controversial topics were some of the things that cause controversy to myself. First, because I had to be polite with my classmates, and second because sometimes I disagree their points of view but I have learned that if we want a peaceful atmosphere, you need to respect people’s points of view and try to understand them.

“Estrangers” helped me to learn a little bit more about geography! It was funny for me to ask “where are you from?” without having a single idea about the exact location of Haiti, Korea or Saudi Arabia! I felt so guilty and ignorant, but now I know where those places are located  and of course, some of my classmates were interested in the location of my tiny country, too. So, it was kind of comfortable to know that I was not the only one who was disoriented in the world. Moreover, this interaction was more than knowing the location of a particular place. In here, all my classmates showed me the amazing complexity of our nations and at the same time, the wonderful desire to succeed in life in order to help in the progress of our countries.

The last but not least reason of this unforgettable experience is focused on my instructors. For me, it was nice to see the teachers dressing very comfy! With sandas, tennis, ties as a belt (original, by the way) and T-shirts were just some of the things that I just had seem them in the movies. In my country and in most of the countries in Latin America, a neat appearance is the “most important example that we need to teach to our students”. It would be a complete shock, funny or ridiculous for my students to see me dressing informal clothing. I have done it, but it is uncomfortable to know that everybody is keeping an eye on you as if you are an alien! Anyway, I have always said that what matters is not your dressing, but your professionalism while teaching. Unfortunately, my society cannot conceive this idea, yet. So, in here, professionalism is very well combined with eclectic methods that forced us to use our brains to be critical thinkers.

If I liked CESL you asked? Without any doubt, every single day was completely great!

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Brenda Moreno: Solutions To Overpopulation In India

Brenda Moreno: Solutions To Overpopulation In India

Solutions To Overpopulation In India

Overpopulation has increased during the last three decades in India. In one hand, it is easy to distinguish the difficulties in cultural and religious beliefs, lack of education, crime, and poverty that this country is facing because of its population growth. On the other hand, a particular phenomenon is taking place with professionals and entrepreneurs mostly put into the category called “brain gain” 1 (in the following shortly: ‘Elite Indians’2) that once left their home country to seek better opportunities abroad, and now are reentering their home countries, most of the time, with a profitable amount of money to invest as self-employees (Hunger, 2007). Fortunately, reforms were implemented in the economic system to increase international investment in this nation since the 1990’s (Hunger, 2007). In this respect, it is reasonable to consider that Elite Indians can facilitate a great contribution to the population growth control by keeping a constant dialogue with their political leaders. I have found that overpopulation can be balanced by facilitating education to inhabitants, especially those living in rural areas. Moreover, I want to discuss the commitment Elite Indians need to put into practice to generate balance in overpopulation and its subsequent internal problems.

According to Asher (2008) the most common problems associated with overpopulation, not only in India but also any other LDC in the world, are basically the following: 1) inadequate fresh water for drinking water; 2) increasing levels of air pollution, water pollution, soil contamination and noise pollution; 3) global warming; 4) illegal (and legal) immigration to developed countries; 5) high infant and child mortality caused by poverty 6) starvation and malnutrition; 7) low life expectancy in countries with fastest growing populations; 8) unhygienic living; 9) elevated crime rate due to drug cartels; 10) over-utilization of infrastructure, such as mass transit, highways, and public health systems. Obviously, all the problems mentioned above are the ones that India is facing nowadays. It is their resposability as a nation to get rid of those misconceived problems. How? Very well planned/creative solutions and commitment.

Elite Indians can facilitate a great contribution to the population growth control by keeping a constant dialogue with their political leaders. Fortunately, the way to get a rapid economic growth in India was conceived by political leaders who decided to make reforms in the economic system to generate international confidence among future investors as it was mentioned before. In his ‘brain gain” hypothesis, Hunger (2002) considered that professionals and entrepreneurs that once lived in MDCs “are able to play an important role in the development process of their home country through return migration and/or transnational networks” Of course, this particular group of people is now helping to improve the economy of their nation because they got experience in developed countries where higher quality standards are implemented in any job. Fortunately, Elite Indians started to believe in the incentives that the government promised to them (Hunger, 2002 p. 2). Nowadays, those incentives have flourished, and India is now working hard to get a better ranking in the world’s economy. It was not an easy task, but if the Elite Indians and the rest of inhabitants in this country keep on searching for agreements with the political parties, they could get better results by fighting against the 60% of poor people that are observing the prosperity of the middle and high class (BBC News, 2007).

Elite Indians should look for leading roles in the political parties. In this country, people are conscious about the shameless corruption in which they are immersed. In a survey related to this topic “Some three out of four Indian respondents, on the question of the degree to which their government is fighting corruption. The
answers gathered stated that the government was either "not effective," "does not fight at all" or "actually encourages" corruption.” Obviously, this social problem harms the possible advances in the country. For this reason, Indians who have had the opportunity to lived and studied in developed countries need to raise their voices to clean the corruption by actively participating in the decision-making process of their nation. Complex? Of course! but if they do not participate in the construction of a better nation... who else is going to do it for them?

In my country, El Salvador, the civil war ended up with the peace agreement signed in Mexico on January 16, 1992. Countries like Costa Rica, Brazil, France, and the United States contributed as witnesses to establish transparency in those agreements. Of course, we are still struggling with our own social problems but I can assure that nowadays the rate of corruption has been declined substantially, and our people have the power to participate in a democratic atmosphere. So, by keeping that particular example in mind , it is the time for Elite Indians to also look for international help in order to truly heal their nation of corruption in order to pay better attention to poverty, and as a consequence, its rapid population growth.

I have found that overpopulation can be balanced by facilitating education to inhabitants, especially those living in rural areas. D.Smith(2005) stated that “without education there is no hope”. UNESCO claimed that 7.2 million children are “out of school” in India (InfoChange India News, 2008). This number is going to be the equivalent of illiterates that are going to maintain a chain of ignorance. There will be no hope for better citizens and inevitable overpopulated land that sooner or later is going to collapse. In this concern, Elite Indians need to give suggestions on how to make reforms in their education system. A close review needs to be implemented for the current programs that governmental schools are using to identify the weaknesses and in this way, they can start working on reforms to improve the entire education system. The international community can also facilitate or share an important contribution in this process. Of course, this is an investment that needs to be discussed not only with the people involved in this important area, but also with the “Elite Indians” who once were immersed in MDC’s academic systems. They now are conscious of the huge differences and the benefits of having education with the updated trends in pedagogy, the helpful technology in the classrooms, and the great possibility of making students becoming critical thinkers through appropriate instruction. “Elite Indians” should facilitate contributions from their own experiences while studying abroad. Unfortunately, LDC’s are not familiar with critical thinking instruction. If this model is implemented in India, clear results are going to be perceived soon.

It is known that education is the key to solve any social problem in the world. If “Elite Indians” once doubted about the help of the government to start their investments, now it is the time to ask their political parties to invest more money in education (only 3% of their annual investment (Satya, 2008)) and believe that sooner or later, immediate alternatives to improve their education system are going to be perceived.

There are different alternatives to improving education. One of those alternatives was implemented in Bangladesh. A similar project like the one called "Village Computer and Internet Program (VCIP)” (Alam, 2000), could reduce overpopulation in rural areas. The VCIP project intends to reduce the isolation and ignorance of villages that are immersed in poverty by facilitating “communication services that promote and support peoples including producers, researchers, educators, planners, students, designers, news media, social activists and entrepreneurs for improving their knowledge and lives by accessing to the national and global information” (Alam, 2000). This “dream” project will allow inhabitants to look for alternatives and hope to improve the ordinary way of living. Definitely, this project requires, time, money and commitment, but that alternative is just one out of thousand projects that can easily be designed by “Elite Indians”. In addition, rural areas in India are generally full of people that have never seen a computer, or simply have troubles to go to school. In this concern, A. Shah (2007, para. 2) stated that:

Spatial inequality is one of the important features of poverty in India. Not only that there are significant inter-regional variations, but a large number of spatial poverty traps are either remote, low potential or marginal, less favored or weakly integrated. In fact, these characteristics often overlay each other. The multiple and mutually reinforcing disadvantages or deprivation faced by most people in these areas lead to poverty and the reproduction of that poverty. This is manifested by the persistently high poverty incidence in these regions both in absolute and comparative levels.

By keeping that description in mind, it is possible to perceive the lack of enthusiasm these inhabitants would have while trying to learn new things. As a consequence, creative and innovative efforts should be considered to avoid withdrawals. According to the BBC News (2007) Indians are gaining prestigious job positions in hi-tech industries because of their outstanding academic preparation and skills. Unfortunately, these excellent people represent just a low percentage of the whole population. However, with this potential human resource, projects like the one mentioned above could contribute to slowing down population growth. In other word, more educated people equal less ignorance and less poverty. If there is less poverty, there will be more conscious people to think about the number of children that they need to bear and the population growth will decrease. In the end, what is the best solution?

Undoubtedly, the commitment of “Elite Indians” could provide important contributions to slowing down population growth and its subsequent internal problems. Fortunately, India has gained a reputation all over the world because of its experts in technology. Unfortunately, that knowledge is concentrated in working for international enterprises only. In this respect, there must be a transition in which the tag of “low labor costs” (Hunger, 2002) would be changed into an “MDC”. If a real commitment is put into practice, India would have, at least, an equal opportunity to succeed. Also, all these professionals could greatly contribute in this nation by lecturing at conferences concerning overpopulation in order to let the population be conscious about the problem, to start thinking about practical solutions, and to work on significant results.

It is difficult to think about practical solutions by considering the commitment of "Elite Indians" and inhabitants of a nation. In the case of India, internal problems like corruption, poverty, hunger, crime, illiteracy (all of them closely related to overpopulation) seem to have no end. However, it is important to consider the Great Depression in 1929 to determine why these countries now have stability in their economies? In this perspective, we need to pay close attention to the reaction and courage of their inhabitants, because in the end, commitment is the only the key to solving problems that seem to be impossible to solve at the moment, but with persistence everything can be solved no matter its complexity.

Moreover, alliances with NGOs should be considered to create practical workshops to train teachers, farmers, and adults in rural areas. This strategy would let inhabitants to be connected and conscious about their important roles they need to assume in their society.

Finally, it is amazing how India in gaining economic prosperity. However, this rapid economic growth is being obscured by the multiple social problems. I believe “Elite Indians” need to create a revolution of opportunities for everybody. Otherwise, this nation will always be immersed in poverty, illiteracy, corruption, etc. and of course explosion in its population growth.


Alam, T. (2000) Village Computer and Internet Program: Grameen Communications. Retrieved February 20th, 2009 from

Asher (2008). What are consequences of over population in India? Retrieved February 25th,
2009 from

BBC NEWS (2007, January). Key facts: India rising. Retrieved on January 29th, 2009, from

Brown, B (2008). Will Growth Slow Corruption In India? Retrieved February 25th, 2009 from

Hunger, U. (2002). The “Brain Gain” Hypothesis: Third-World Elites in Industrialized Countries and Socioeconomic Development in their Home Country. The Center for Comparative Immigration Studies. University of California, San Diego.

Satya (2008). Education in India. Retrieved February 25th, 2009 from

Shah, A. (2007). Patterns, processes of reproduction, and Policy Imperatives for Poverty in Remote Rural Areas: A Case Study Southern Orissa in India. Retrieved February 23rd, 2009 from

Smith, D. (2005). 'Without education there's no hope. Without books there's no education'. Retrieved February 20th, 2009 from

Monday, February 23, 2009


I have been in the USA for one month. All these days, I have noticed that people in this town, Carbondale IL, are very well familiar with Facebook which is “a social networking website… open to anyone 13 years of age or older. Facebook users can create and customize their own profiles with photos, videos, and information about themselves. Friends can browse the profiles of other friends and write messages on their pages.” (Tech Terms Computer Dictionary, 2005) When I go to parties, international meetings or classes there is always someone asking me if I have a Facebook account. Although almost everybody is familiar with Facebook, I know there are two better ‘places’ to have cyber friends.

In El Salvador, my close friends are attached to Hi5, our nice cyberspace to make friends. When I first got an invitation, I simply deleted it because I did not want to waste my time with silly things. However, when you have more than ten people sending you invitations… you have to surrender, right? Now, I am kind of familiar with Hi5 and it is nice to see my family and friends, and friends of my friends, high school pals (who I almost forgot), etc. One day, a journalist friend sent a message to all his friends in Hi5 telling us that he was going to move to Facebook. I do not know if he got answers about that decision, but I just simply say in my mind: “what?! That place is so isolated, insecure, simple, and it does not have nice gadgets! Well, up to you guy, see you around…” Two to three months later, apparently nobody followed him because he was in Hi5 again!

The best cyberspace site that I accidentally discovered is called It is very good because it has almost everything you need to forget about multiple accounts to keep in touch with people. Blogs, polls, photos, videos, music, events, birthday reminders, agendas, and other things are packed in just ONE site. In my case it is very functional because last semester I wanted my students to work on a blog. Nobody had an idea about that term, but as soon as they got familiar with, they had a new option to communicate in a private way, learn, and have fun. I do not know if Facebook would give me the ‘spaces’ to teach a class, send some private pictures to my co-workers, or simply hide the pop and romantic music that I like (with a space to paste the lyrics to improve my English). If all those things could be used in Facebook, I will definitely love it!

All the people that are very well familiar with Facebook, especially in the USA (Hempel, 2009) definitely found the best spot to have close contact with the people they like (or dislike). That is the place where almost everybody is, right? So, if I want to keep in touch with my friends in the USA, I am forced to start using Facebook as well as switching to Hi5 to take a look at my salvadorean pals. On the other hand, I know for sure that there is always a moment in your life in which you need your own space. If that is your case, you definitely need to look for other alternatives to communicate with people. If the cyberspaces you are using right now are functional to you, keep on working with them, but remember in this world everybody is competing to give us better options and it is our work to choose which one is best, in this case, to always keep in touch worldwide.

Cyberspace (2005). Tech Terms Computer Dictionary. Retrieved on February
18, 2009 from
Hempel, J. (2009, February). How Facebook is taking over our lives.
Fortune, Retrieved February 18, 2009, from

Journal Question #5

I guess one of the most difficult moments of experiencing nervousness took place in my first job as a teacher. I was just 19 years old when one of my high school teachers asked me to work part-time in her private school. I told her that I had no idea on how to work with kinder garden students, but she was optimistic in teaching me basic things to manage a class. I started my job and I clearly remember I was so nervous that I couldn’t even speak properly in front of 4 years- old kids! One day, the principle (my high school teacher) asked me to call the attendance. My hands were shaking and I was stuttering! Obviously, I was not prepared for that job so, I felt very insecure. Now, I have experience in teaching and I do not have those kind of troubles while talking in front of people no matter their age.

I am not an expert in improvising things and when nervousness attack me, I usually sweat and shake a lot! ;). For that reason, I have to always be prepared in order to avoid mistakes. Moreover, I am always nervous when I have to face new things, but I am always encouraging myself (in my mind) to keep the calm. However, I have been in circumstances in which my feelings do not help at all. This is something that I need to work out to avoid bad impressions of myself.

What should you do to express yourself without hesitation?? I have read that when you keep you self confidence, your message or what you want to express is very well transmitted. Once, I read that when you are very nervous, you need to “forget about” your audience. If that strategy does not work, it is useful to just watch people’s foreheads. These are just some of the most common strategies to avoid nervousness, but I know for sure that maybe my strategies are not going to be helpful for someone else. So, I guess it is important to identify what makes you feel nervous and find alternatives to contra rest that undesired feeling. Fortunately, now I have more confident and I do not feel terribly shy to make mistakes in front of people. In the end, human beings are not perfect and it is nice to constantly have feedbacks to control our nervousness, and as a result, never give up.

Monday, February 16, 2009

Journal Question #4

Different Types Of Love

Love, a wonderful and irresistible feeling in life. I have felt deeply in love twice. I experienced butterflies in my stomach with my first boyfriend, and I had really great moments with my last boyfriend (2 years ago). The last one, ay! the last one… as Nazareth, the Scottish rock band, says:
“Love hurts, love scars,
Love wounds, and marks,
Any heart, not tough,
Or strong, enough
To take a lot of pain,
Take a lot of pain
Love is like a cloud
Holds a lot of rain
Love hurts, ooh ooh love hurts…”

Of course, there are different types of love and you can perceive the difference among those loves. The love you feel about your parents, the love for your siblings and wonderful love you share with your close friends.
The love you feel about your parents depends on different circumstances. When you are a teenager, you have the silly feeling like if “nobody likes you”, but little by little you realized that your parents are always supporting you. Definitely, that unconditional love they feel about their children makes the difference in our life. Some people are not lucky to experience this kind of love, but as soon as they become parents, it is awesome to see them sharing a lot of love and patience to their own babies.

The love you experience with your siblings is weird sometimes, especially if you do not ‘understand’ them. But, most of the time you realized you love your siblings when you maybe they are experimenting a difficult situation, when they are badly sick or simply because you are far away from them. Most of the time, people that have been an only child in their families used to have a lot of babies because they say they were always ‘alone’ Thanks God, that was not my case.

The last but not least, is the love related to your friends. Wow! That kind of love is wonderful! I met my first girlfriend when I was in first grade. It was nice to share what we had in our lunch boxes and to work together in the same table; that was the most pure and innocent relation to me. My second friend was really wonderful, too. I met her in the Scouts Association (the one that burned the underwear, remembered?) We had unforgettable moments until we started studying different fields of study in college. Now, I am lucky to have a nice, crazy, and wonderful friend that loves me like her sister. Nelly is the person that I miss the most in this country. Of course, there is a moment in which you miss those great moments with your friends ☹. You would like to go back in time to once again, have fun with your lovely friends. Unfortunately, traveling to past is not possible. For this reason, you need to live your life as if it is going to be the last second, minute or day of your life.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Keeping An Eye On India

The BBC News stated that India “is now in a process of rapid economic development, but it faces complex and enduring internal problems”(2007, para. 5). As in almost all the less developed countries (LDCs), it is easy to distinguish the most common struggles that are strictly related with overpopulation (i.e.: cultural and religious beliefs, crime, and poor economy). But, what makes the difference in India versus the rest of LDCs in the world? In this respect, population growth control, “Brain gain”, and diversity are key parameters to perceive the “overpopulation boom” in India.

Population growth control has been established since 1952 in India. This decision took place because “in 1950, women in India averaged about six children each in their lifetimes” (Nanda and Haub, 2007, para 1) The government applied drastic decisions to reduce its population in the 1970s by implementing sterilizations to men under the police authorities, and penalties for families with more than three children were common at that time. Nowadays, this birth control is implemented without violence and this strategy has been helpful to slow overpopulation growth. However, demographic trends are estimating 2 billion people for the year 2101. In other words, no matter the control they have been implementing during the last 38 years, this populous country is eminently going to overtake China during the following 21 years.

Fortunately, “Brain Gain”—or the decision most Indian students make to go back to their countries when they finished college abroad, is helping to increase the progress in this nation. On the contrary, most of the people that immigrate from LDCs to MDCs usually do not go back to their countries, because they have lost the idea of having a better life in their own lands. This particular phenomenon in India is giving them an advantage because foreign investors are interested in having their business in a place where people are prepared and the salary is not high. Nowadays, a lot of call centers and factories are helping some inhabitants to reach a middle class stability. However, this positive aspect is not good enough to eradicate the 60% of poverty in this nation.

Definitely, diversity is a positive and at the same time, negative aspect in a society. It is positive because, no matter the difference, you are not judged by your own beliefs or language; on the contrary, without diversity you simply lose your human rights. With sixteen official languages, a great number of English speakers, different dialects, and heterogeneous cities, India is considered one of the most diverse countries in the world. It is said that in this country there are orthodox castes that are against modernity. In this respect, if a country wants to be part of a global world, flexibility needs to flourish to succeed.

Today, India is reaching an important position as an economic power in the world. Positive aspects like brain gain are going to help, in a way, to overcome their social problems. At the moment, the world is going to be observing and waiting for their complex advances. But the big question still remains, is India going to be ready to feed 2 billion?

BBC NEWS (2007, January). Key facts: India rising. Retrieved on January 29th, 2009, from

BBC Religion & Ethics (2005, October 03) Contraception Mass birth-control programmes. Retrieved February 05, 2009, from

Nanda, A. and Haub, C. (2007, August) The Population of India, A long-range Demographic View. (pp. 3-7) Population Foundation of India and Population Reference Bureau