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Ali Herbert

Mrs. Leaver
AP Human Geography
Period- 1
Unit 1: Enduring Understanding Essay

Over the years I have traveled to Macedonia, my mothers homeland. Each time, I
noticed changes in the relatives, citizens, and the country itself. The changes were primarily
related to the economic situation in the country. Everyone complained of poverty and of
losing their young people, who appeared to emigrate to more developed countries en masse.
After graduating dental school, one of my distant cousins obtained a summer work visa and
worked at McDonalds in Maine for the summer so he could make some money. His dentist
girlfriend did the same thing. Other people including medical students, were driving cabs in
the neighboring Greece to earn money. Taking AP Human Geography taught me skills that I
can use to identify and analyze the social, economic and political patterns of Macedonia and
how such patterns affect the livelihood of its citizens. It has also inspired me to think of ways
to solve this economic crisis. To do so, I would put myself in the shoes of an economic
planner to gather data, interpret the information, and come up with a viable plan.
To start, I would organize a survey of the people leaving the country. Since the
country seemed to lack economic resources, I would not expect to have proper funding for
the project. Therefore, I would engage college students in few different sciences, such as
economics, political studies, and computer sciences, and offer them college credits for their
participation. I would request that they ask all the people they know leaving the country a set
of questions. These questions would include the reasons why they are leaving, the highest
degree of education they hold, the specialty they might have, the country they are trying to
emigrate to or have already emigrated to, the type of jobs they are getting abroad, the
compensation they are anticipating or have already received for their work abroad, as well as
what parts of Macedonia they are from, how many family members they are leaving behind,
and do they intend to ever return to live in Macedonia.
The next step would be to organize and interpret this data in a manner that would be
useful to analyze the situation. Here, again, I would have to offer incentives to young college
students in the form of college credits. I think computer science students would be most
helpful for this task. The data would have to be organized in a way that helps us understand
if young people from different parts of Macedonia emigrate at different rate. This would tell
us if certain regions of Macedonia are more developed than others. In addition, it would be
helpful to compare the living cost analysis between Macedonia and the countries to which
the young people are emigrating. If they are getting low paid jobs in a foreign developed
country, would their quality of life be better if they remained in Macedonia with their family. I
would like to know, how long they have been looking for a job in Macedonia, and what were
they willing to compromise to earn a living in Macedonia. I would also like to know if any of
them would be willing to work in agriculture. It would be interesting to know if the young
people were willing to move abroad for consumer service jobs over agriculture jobs in
Macedonia.Knowing the interests of the young people in Macedonia would help me design a
plan to improve the enticements for them to stay in the country. For example, if it appears that
most of them were unwilling to engage in agriculture, which has been a major industry in

Macedonia for the past 60 years, then I would have to figure out how to change direction.
According to the website article in Balkaninsight,, most
young people who leave Macedonia are well educated in the IT field and medical sciences,
causing a brain drain of the region. Most of them feel that their homeland has no value for
human resources. If this is confirmed with the survey that I would conduct, then I would
embrace creative solutions to change that. For example, I could reach out to international
organizations, like the UN, and ask for their assistance in subcontracting our medical school
graduates on various projects around the globe. That way the young people could maintain
their roots in the country, and after completing their projects, return home for a period of
time. This would give them a sense of home, and a substantial amount of income compared
to income earned in Macedonia. It would then create a situation where they would spend
more money in the service industry on leisure services, and it would indirectly boost the
countrys economy. The same could be done with the people in the IT industry. Similar to
India, creating a market for online and telephone support could provide our IT engineers with
the opportunities to work remotely from Macedonia anywhere in the world.
Skills learned in Human Geography can be used to observe patterns and overcome
worldwide obstacles. With respect to Balkan countries like Macedonia, they are compelled
with a sense of urgency to find a solution to their economic situation due to the ongoing
brain drain from their countries. If they have not already performed the aforementioned
studies and analyzed the causes of their challenges, some of which Ive studied in my AP
Human Geography class, they ought to do it immediately. They have wonderful resourceful
examples in India and China. They also have wonderful intelligent human resources in the
form of their young people who want to be valued. It would be sad if next time I visit
Macedonia, my young cousins are absent, and only the parents and grandparents remain.
No country has a future without its youth. It would be nice for an ancient country like
Macedonia, who has thrived through many centuries, to also survive and thrive in this one.

Unit 2 Enduring and Understandings Essay

Migration is caused by social, demographic, political, and economic factors. Different regions
have different characteristics that can be considered push or pull factors, depending on the
individual context. The qualities that shaped a city to form its overall character are conveyed by
the people living in it. The type of people can change over time, which also changes the makeup
and functions of the city. There are many causes and consequences that can occur due to a
change in demographic characteristics. Its all interconnected so if one thing changes,
everything is affected.
Two factors that seem to be more closely related are the social and demographic aspects.
People want to move where they will fit in and be able to piece themselves into the community.
A family of four would not want to move to New York City, because the community would not fit
the needs that family requires. The population majority of suburban areas consists of parents
and children. Another reason is land availability. In big cities, there is limited space, resulting in
cramped living quarters that can not sustain a family with children. In the suburbs however, one

can buy more land for the same amount of money as a city apartment. This allows a more
comfortable and convenient lifestyle. On the contrary, a young single businessman/woman
would need to be in close proximity to the city for their jobs. The small apartments are
advantageous because are located in a central business district and they can relocate if their
job requires it.
The other factors are economic and political. As mentioned before, one action creates a
chain reaction. If one person moves, more people will move, thus increasing an areas need for
services and housing. This creates more job opportunities while churning the wheels of the
economy. I have personally observed the Texas city of Austin change for the better. It started
with the gentrification of a few areas, which brought in more people. As more families got drawn
in, more businesses opened and the area became quite lively. Being such a fast growing city, it
attracted attention and investment from businesses. Younger people started flowing in and
Austin rapidly turned into a major regional hub for innovation. With the university campus
located right in town, it also fills the population with younger people just entering the business
world. A key differentiating factor between Austin and other cities, is its unique acceptance of
social and cultural diversity. People wear keep Austin weird shirts for a reason; Austin is full of
weird people and communities! Thats why it is one of the fastest growing and most beloved
cities in America. It is also known as the main domain of liberal politics. When there was a
crucial party realignment in the 1970s, central Austin became a main region for the democratic
party. This became quite apparent when I observed the numerous liberal stickers on every
passing car. This could be either a push or pull factor, which nonetheless shapes the city into
the place it is today.
Cities and towns all have unique characteristics that give it a certain identity. Different
areas have different personalities the way different foods have different flavors. The main
factors that cause migration are social, demographic, economic and political aspects. The world
is ever changing and so are the people. As if in a cycle process, cities affect migration as much
as migration shapes the city itself.

Unit 3: Enduring Understanding Essay

The commonly accepted way of life changes according to where you are. People like to
conglomerate together, usually due to similar beliefs, customs, or interests. This strengthens the
overall identity of a region, creating a uniqueness of a culture specific to that area. Neighboring
regions also share commonalities, which are often attributed to interregional migration. People
also move between countries and carry along the characteristics of their own culture. Yet, even
neighboring countries manage to preserve its distinct characteristics and identity. For example,
China and Japan are in close proximity to each other, yet, their cultures are uniquely distinct.
This is instantly noticeable by the use of different language and differences in the culinary
aspects of each country.
The Japanese language is not very closely related to Chinese (Mandarin), even though
they have borrowed many characters from them. The writing system of a language has no
bearing on whether a language is related to another. Another example of this is Latin. Many

different languages in Europe use Latin alphabet, yet they are not related to Latin. Therefore, a
Chinese speaker may not be able to easily read Japanese Kanji, adapted Chinese characters
by the Japanese. The characters have different meaning in different languages. The similarity is
certainly a proof of the movement between the two countries over a long period of time, which
some say started by exchange of official documents, coins, and trade, and continued by
migration of people from one country to another.
In addition to language, the two countries have different culinary dishes. The Japanese
are known for their sushi, a typical Japanese dish that no one would associate with China. Fish
is the main staple of the Japanese. Pork and chicken are the main staple of the Chinese food.
Chinese dishes are typically heavier due to the thicker and richer sauces. While the Japanese
food focuses on simplicity, and lightness of flavor. However, they share rice as their main starch.
They also share the similarity of utensils; chopsticks. Rice was introduced to Japan by the
Chinese during the Jomon period. Japan than put its own twist on it, and uses it far less than
the Chinese, as one would notice by observing a sushi roll. Typically, a small amount of rice is
topped by raw and fresh fish. Whereas in China, rice is served in large quantities along side with
meat and vegetables.
Both language and culinary practices show the affect of the migration of people across
different regions and countries. These migrations introduce new customs while the overall
original culture is preserved. People seem to hold on to their regional identity and take what
they like to make it their own. Therefore, they enrich their culture, and expand their
perspectives. The similarities they share bring people from uniquely distinct cultures closer
together while maintaining their own individuality.

Unit 4: Enduring Understanding Essay

The world is in a continuous shifting and changing motion. Political and geological
events have altered the boundaries and identities of many countries. Most countries went
through multiple, violent, historical events, or destructive natural disasters, that transformed
them into what they appear to be now on the world map. One of those countries is Macedonia.
After 500 years under the Turkish Ottoman Empire, and the ravaging of the two World Wars,
Macedonians finally existed peacefully for nearly 50 years as part of the Yugoslavian
Federation. However, in 1991 Yugoslavia entered a civil war, which resulted in the break up of
its republics. Macedonia entered a new era of independence and tried to gain the long-soughtafter recognition of the western world.
The borders of Macedonia shifted through the centuries based on political influence from
neighboring countries and historical events in the region. Prior to the two world wars, Macedonia
spanned over a large territory which included parts of modern day Greece, Bulgaria and
Albania. After World War II, Macedonia was offered to join as an independent republic within the
Federation of Yugoslavia, under the condition to give away parts of its territory to the
neighboring countries. It was a result of the political and economic influence that Greece had in
the region at the time, based on its close ties to England and the United States. Nearly fifty
years later, in 1991, Yugoslavia entered a civil war. The result was the emergence of new

Macedonia as an independent country. My mother who immigrated to the United States prior to
1991, used to hold a dual citizenship between the United States and Yugoslavia. When
Macedonia became independent, her Yugoslavian passport was no longer valid.
The new Macedonia had no army, and no political or economic influence in the region. It
was vulnerable to neighboring countries aggressions, which came in the form of dispute over its
name. Greece had long-lasting aspirations towards Macedonia and its territory, claiming that
Macedonians were actually Greeks. When Yugoslavia fell apart, Greece blocked the
acceptance of Macedonia in the European Union and demanded that Macedonia ceased to use
the name Republic of Macedonia. The application for accession to the European Union was
submitted by Macedonia in 2004, and it has yet to be approved. Due to the blockade by Greece,
the EU addresses Macedonia by the name of Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia
(FYROM) instead of its constitutional name, Republic of Macedonia. My family traveled to
Macedonia in 2010, and at the crossing of the Macedonian-Greek border, the Greek customs
officer placed a flier in my mothers US passport, and ordered her not to remove it while in
Greece. The note was a typed statement that the holder of the note was born in FYROM, and
not Macedonia, Greece. It demonstrated just one of unpleasantries brought upon many people
that were born in Macedonia.
In conclusion, the world is in a continuous dynamic movement, like the lava of a volcano
that had spilled out of its crater. Greece nowadays is undergoing its own transformation as a
result of its economic and political internal struggles and failures. Finding itself no longer stable
and strong, the regional bully is changing its attitude. More Macedonians travel freely to
Greece, and many Greeks find better deals on the Macedonian markets. Once again,we see
potential for shifting borders and territories. Should Macedonia become accepted by the EU,
then the borders will have diminishing importance, much like the borders of different states in
the United States. If, however, a new force changes the structure of the EU, then this will not be
possible. That new force, according to some, is the migratory movement of the Syrian refuges
into western Europe.

Unit 5: Enduring Understanding Essay

The agricultural activity of a region is greatly affected by its physical geography and market. For
example, the reason the ranching industry in Texas is very successful is because of the
proximity to the suitability of land and strong market demand for its products . Living in a suburb
in Texas has allowed me to observe many factors that contribute to the prosperity of the
ranching industry. Texas is a large area of arid, flat open terrain; this supports cattle ranchers
because those are the ideal characteristics required to raise cows. Also, most ranching land is
connected to large cities in Texas, allowing for low transport costs. Dallas, Houston, and Austin
are the three most important cities in Texas that play roles in supporting the cattle industry given
its strong economic centers and large market consumption given its strong economic centers
and large market consumption.
The physical aspects greatly impact the agricultural productivity. Texas is known for having few
topographic challenges; there are no mountains, and a small coastal area. The grounds are

level and undisturbed. It has a vast network of roads and railroads that connect the main cities
spread throughout the state. This allows for easy and quick transport of products, which keeps
the cost for the consumers relatively low. Texas is known for having few topographic challenges;
there are no mountains, and a small coastal area. The grounds are level and undisturbed. It has
a vast network of roads and railroads that connect the main cities spread throughout the state.
This allows for easy and quick transport of products, which keeps the cost for the consumers
relatively low. For example, the Dallas suburb of McKinney, Texas is surrounded by vast land
that is occupied by ranchers. One of these ranches, The Backbone Ranch, is sustaining its
success partially due to its physical geography. The ranchs natural characteristics and wide
open space allows the cattle to graze freely with no chemical additives in their feed, which is a
key component of their marketing efforts.
In addition, agriculture as a primary industry contributes greatly to the local and regional
economy. With the earlier example of The Backbone Ranch, another key component of their
success is their situation in proximity to their customer base. As consumption evolves, people
have come to demand healthier options over genetically modified and processed foods. The
proximity of the ranch to its restaurant customers build trust and transparency between producer
and buyer and allows consumers to feel more confident in their product choice as healthier,
fresher and more natural. It is mutually beneficial and supports the local economy, allowing
residents to feel pride in supporting their local ranchers.
In conclusion, it is evident that here in Texas, ranching is a major agricultural activity that
benefits from Texass physical geography as well as local market demand for beef. The site and
situation of local ranchers greatly contribute to not only the quality of their products, but also to
the local and regional economies. The vast grazing prairies of Texas and the easily reachable
markets of the urban areas have supported the cattle industry for many years.

Unit 7: Enduring Understanding Essay

Development over space and time is impacted by both local diversity and
globalization. Diversity in geography can impact a region's politics, economics and culture.
Globalization can unite and bring people together despite all of their differences. This argument
can be reflected in my own personal experience traveling in my mothers homeland, Macedonia,
in 2008 and 2011. As an LDC, Macedonia is a prime example of how development changes
over space and time in a political, social and economic context. Politically, Macedonia came out
of the former socialist government to a democratic government and struggled to gain admission
into the EU, thereby limiting its ability to open up its doors to trade. Socially, Macedonia suffered
from brain drain due to its youth migrating to other countries for better opportunities after
graduating from school. Economically, Macedonia has suffered from a high unemployment rate
and low investment. Its geographical isolation further contributed to its slow rate of process and
limited interaction with other countries. These key factors set the stage for the initial state of
Macedonias development following its transition to democracy and subsequent progress over
The first time I ever visited Macedonia was in 2008, and it was as if I had gone back in
time. There were very few cars, if any. It was seldom to find someone who owned a cell phone,

and the only phones I saw were the sizes of bricks. All the technology was about a decade
behind the U.S in their development. Still, the stone tiled roads and old fashioned town were
mesmerizing. Everyone there was aware of social media, but no one dared to stay on the
internet longer than a minute so as not to spend too much money. There was an overall general
knowledge of the American lifestyle, but everyone was content with their own culture. Their lack
of development did not puzzle me. Being that they are landlocked, they dont easily receive
shipments or new products. They have little contact with the world, partly because of their
limited technology availability. However, when I visited again three years later, in 2011, there
was a noticeable difference. Everyone had an Apple or Android cell phone! Although most
models were a year or two old, it was a vast improvement compared to the previous blocks of
plastic they referred to as phones. The globalization of big name companies had impacted their
adoption of technology. This opened up many doors culturally, technically, and economically for
Macedonia. Now that access to the internet was more common, people were able to see trends
and social customs of people on the other side of the world. People changed from wearing a
sweater woven by a relative, to jeans and a t-shirt. There was even a linguistic diffusion
occurring. I noticed many words from the English-American vocabulary slipping into sentences
used by Macedonians. For example, my god-sister asked to take a selfie with me. Later on
she posted it and used the caption duck face. Because of the exposure to other MDCs, the
people of Macedonia were able to interact with different cultures.
This shows the importance of globalization. There are many things I can contrast and
compare from my two visits to Macedonia. The economy, although not in a particularly good
state, definitely improved. It was eye-opening to see how in three years it went from not being
able to go on the internet, to having multiple social media accounts and casually browsing the
web. One of the things that has been detrimental to their economy is the lack of youth. After
young adults graduate school, they leave to get higher pay jobs in different countries. This
leaves Macedonia with a population majority of the elderly. More people leaving results in fewer
taxes being paid. It is a viscous cycle that continues to slow their development. As mentioned
earlier, Greece did not allow Macedonia to join the EU because of a controversy involving the
partial ownership of Macedonia by Greece. This closed many doors to trade, reduced exposure
to highly developed countries, and reduced developmental assistance. However, Greece did
provide the Macedonian people better opportunities for technology and internet access in order
to bridge the digital divide. The second time I visited, there were multiple festivals and fairs,
many new markets had opened, and the economy seemed to be slowly progressing.
In conclusion, this shows how the world around us is always changing, and the only
thing we can do is embrace it. Different places change at different paces, and that is what
creates diversity. Currently, globalization gives us ways to unite and interact with people all over
the world. The diffusion of culture and technology contributes to humanity by making each place
unique, while still being able to bring people together. This leaves our world divided yet united.