What's in a Region?

Updated: Oct 6, 2018

From kindergarten to graduate school, one of the school projects that has stuck with me the longest came from my study abroad. On the first day of my "Regions of the European Union" course, the professor put us into groups of five students and handed each group maps of the United States, along with several markers

"Together, use the markers to draw around each of the regions in the Lower 48 states," he told us. Seemed easy enough. But alas, the arguments that ensued were large and inconclusive. Everybody disagreed on what states constituted the South, the Midwest, the West, and whether or not the "Plains" region even existed. When my group was done, none of us were happy with the end result. None of the groups' maps were the same, nor did they represent even a single student's thoughts on American regions. Our professor simply looked at us and asked what this meant for the EU to try and divide funds by regions. Mind. Blown.

I struggled with how to organize this blog. In the end, I decided that the easiest way would indeed be to divide places into regions. Thus, where states and countries end up in my sub-pages are where I imagine them to be. But it is quite possible that you will have a different view than I. Maybe you consider Kentucky to be in the Midwest rather than the South, or you think Austria is a central European country rather than a western one. Let me know in the comments of those specific blogs whether or not you agree with my placement! As regions are connected to various cultural behaviors, I would be interested to hear other perspectives. What about your experiences in Istanbul made it so that you would call it a European rather than MENA city like I do? These are the types of travel conversations I most appreciate, as they bring up and connect different facets of a single place.