Earlier this semester I attended the OklaHOME session. This is a chance for everyone who studied abroad to gather together and talk about their experiences, and their integration back into normality. It was very interesting to hear where everyone traveled. People experienced everywhere from Germany to South Korea. For me, I had the privilege to travel to OU in Arezzo.
My experience went relatively smoothly. I did not experience much culture shock, rather, I found myself missing the creature comforts that the U.S. had to offer. Things such as hot water, powerful air conditioning, and my comfortable bed, but the point of studying abroad is to experience new things. I believe other people missed those things also, but the people that went to destinations with less students from OU seemed to miss people from the same culture. It is fun and exciting to travel to somewhere new in the beginning, but after a while people begin to notice what they are missing. Although, after they cross that threshold everything runs smoothly, but once things begin to run smoothly it is time to leave.
When I arrived home I was beyond excited, but everything felt different. I was used to how things were in Italy, and was a little shocked by how out of it I was when I got home. After a while, I began getting back in the groove of things. This is the same experience as what happens abroad, but it is called reverse culture shock. Other people were saddened by leaving the adventurous fast paced lifestyle, but relax into their everyday life sooner or later. Studying abroad is a rewarding experience, but it comes with its fair share of hardships.
It’s over. My first study abroad is over. As soon as it began, it ended. It felt like it lasted 100 years, and it felt like it lasted 1 day. This is truly my most memorable journey, but I hope to someday top it. For now, what I really need is some rest.
I have walked away from this experience a better person. I have learned to manage stress better, be more patient, and to think on my toes. Most of all, I have learned to relax, and let things run their course. Going abroad for the first time entails a flurry of every emotion imaginable at the same time. It is an experience like no other, and I am beyond grateful that I was able to be a part of something this life changing.
My classes are over, but my time abroad is not. I will be gallivanting across France and Ireland until July 6th, and I am ready to take what I have learned and apply myself. Another chapter of my life has been opened, and I am more than ready to begin it.
Wish me luck.
So far, my experience with Italy is unmatched by anything before it. I had little idea what I was getting myself into, and I still don’t know what I have gotten myself into. Let’s just say that this trip is one big opportunity to learn. That is the main reason I am here.
I have been overwhelmed, to say the least. The scenery, the food, the people, and even the coursework have all been overwhelming; both good and bad, but mainly good. There has been so much to see and do. I have been to Venice, Florence, Arezzo, and Rapallo. That is a lot of traveling in such a short amount of time, and I have loved every second of it. The architecture of Venice, the art of Florence, the scenery of Rapallo, and the homieness of Arezzo has made the fast pace worth it.
Although, I find myself beginning to miss home. I am not homesick in the traditional sense. I would only like to go home for a day to recharge my batteries, and to come right back the next. There has not been a single moment of this trip that I have been alone, and I like my alone time, but I am more than happy to give up that luxury for the experiences that I have been a part of.
The trip is winding down to the end, but there is still much more to do and much more to see.
The Kite Runner was shown at the last meeting held for Foreign Film Club. The Kite Runner is based off of a novel written by Khaled Hosseini. The movie tells the story of how a young boy, Amir, is devastated by abandoning his friend, Hassan. The setting takes place in San Francisco in the year 2000, Kabul Afghanistan in the late 1970’s, and Fremont, California in 1988.
In the beginning, the movie takes place in San Francisco with a grown up Amir. He receives a call from one of his fathers old friends that lives in Pakistan. Then the movie flashes back to his childhood in Kabul. Amir participates in a sport called kite fighting, and is accompanied by his friend Hassan who is his kite runner (the person who retrieves the fallen kites). One day, Amir gave Hassan a sling shot for his birthday, and Hassan pledged his undying companionship to Amir. Amir and Hassan are victims to an older bully, and during a kite fighting contest they got into an altercation with one another. In the end, Hassan is thoroughly roughed up, and Amir does nothing about and does not acknowledge it after it happened. Eventually, Amir redeems himself when he rescues a poor orphan from the Taliban.
The movie was foreign, but the concept was not. No matter where you are in the world everyone experiences the same emotions and hardships. Redemption is a common theme in movies produced in the United States, so I was able to relate to this one really well. If I was to rate the movie I would put it at a 7/10 (would recommend).
I attended the Eve of Nations at the Lloyd Noble Center, and it was one of the most interesting experiences I have had at the University of Oklahoma. The Eve of Nations is a gathering of all of the international student organizations, so they can showcase their culture. I had no idea about the range of international student organizations that the University of Oklahoma had to offer. They covered most of South America, Europe, Asia, Africa, and the Pacific Islands. What struck me was that Native American associations were also showcased. I would not have thought that Native Americans would be a part of an international event, but they contributed just as much.
The organizations showcased an array of talents, but my favorite part was the fashion show. I am enamored by the diverse clothing from around the world. This was no ordinary fashion show. The participants always came out elated, and full of energy (some of which were dancing). They were proud to show-off their culture, and be the ones representing it.
The fashion show began with people dressed in cowboy boots and cowboy hats while “Sweet Home Alabama” was playing in the background (this also threw me off), but after that it moved to the different nations from around the world. If I was judging for the best colored attire I would choose the Native American and Middle Eastern countries, and if I was judging for the most energetic and best dancing the winner would go the Congo. I was moved by how proud these people were of their different cultures and countries, and it only makes me want to visit all of these places.
The other day I attended a session for Global Engagement Day where five Global Fellows produced and presented digital stories regarding their experience studying abroad. A digital story is roughly three minutes long, and showcases a theme for their experience. One of the most prevalent themes was people. Each story had (at least) small segment devoted to the people they encountered on their study abroad.
Ashlen, a student who hosted a Chinese exchange student, raved about her experience with her new “sister” Esther. Margaret, who spent a semester in the United Kingdom, longingly recalled her memories with a variety of people that she became friends with. Brooke enlightened us with her riveting story of when she got lost and hurt, but was helped by a random Brazilian man. Emily’s stance was more broad. She created more of a promotional video about studying abroad, but hit the key points she needed to (ie. food, music, people). Finally, Moriah, Who spent a semester in Ecuador, told us the story of how her study abroad turned into her second home, but it all seems like a dream now that it is over.
The things I took most out of these stories is that the people you meet make the trip, differences bring people together, and that studying abroad is an amazing experience that you will never want to give up. I am studying abroad in Arezzo, Italy this summer, and these stories have made me more eager and excited than ever.
I recently attended the Arabic Talent Show. It was put on by the Arabic Flagship Program, and it exceeded all of my expectations. The food they served was authentic and plentiful. It consisted of rice, chicken, meatballs, grilled vegetables, and hummus. It was better than anything I’ve had from a restaurant. We had time to eat then the event started.
My favorite part of the night was the very first show. It was a dance from the Belly-dancing Club (which I didn’t know we had). It was smooth and rhythmic, but it was really intricate. I know my body could never move like that so I commend them. The rest of the night consisted of songs, videos, stories, and poems. Another thing that stuck out to me was a presentation on how to tame a raccoon to be your pet (in Arabic, of course).
If I knew Arabic my experience would have been more encompassing. A lot of the time I just sat there and smiled while everyone else was speaking a language I did not know. Some people translated their video or story a second time for people like me, and it was very appreciated.
Regardless of my confusion, I thoroughly enjoyed the talent show. I ate food that I have never tried before, heard a language I have not been introduced to, and seen talents I didn’t know existed. This University has so much diversity and hidden talent; I just need to get out and look for it.
“About Me’s” are the most ambiguous and tedious posts to construct, but I will try my absolute best to humor you with a brief reconciliation of who I am.
I live a very privileged upper middle-class life within the southern suburbs of Tulsa, Oklahoma, but recently, relatively speaking, I fled the nest to further my education at the University of Oklahoma. I plan to graduate with a degree in accounting due to its stability and perspective job growth, but I am also considering a master’s in Business Administration. I intend to engage in the global market, so I am considering double majoring in International Business. I am just a meager freshman, so I have time to figure out my life. I am also a member of the Global Fellowship and the Presidents Leadership Class.
Now that my scholastic formalities are out of the way I’ll get on to me. I am a dynamic and inquisitive individual with a BMI that is lower than most in my weight class. At a young age, I learned to question; whether it was a simple issue, authority, or the laws of physics. I find it to be the best way to learn. I have gathered invaluable experience, wisdom, and two broken collar bones. I have a passion for people, but it is unmatched by my enthusiasm for nature. I have two yellow labs, a coin collection, and a knack for wooing the elderly. I am musically inept, but I have rhythm rivaled only by Chuck Berry. My biggest weakness is my crippeling fear of heights and ending paragraphs.
To a degree, I am a very interesting person (with the worlds most average name), but I blend in with the crowd.
The Global Fellowship serves as a guide into the international community. As a freshman, I am still weighing my options for my major and future careers, but I do know that I would like to either engage in the global market or serve in the state department. As of now, I am an accounting major, but I am close to double majoring in accounting and international business.
I am currently enrolled in the Introduction to Becoming Globally Engaged course so I can get a better idea of what it is like to be a “Global Fellow” and to study abroad. So far, it has taught me the benefits of understanding a variety of cultures along with how to efficiently study, and survive, abroad. When I do go abroad, I will have been taught to properly handle prospective situations and to make sure I get the most out of my trip.
The Global Fellowship will teach me to be accepting of the global community which will serve me well in either the global marketplace or as a Foreign Service Officer. Being culturally aware is crucial to either of those professions, and I want to be as prepared as I can for whatever job I take.
I believe international professions are one of the fastest growing, and being globally aware is necessary for a well-rounded lifestyle and career. There is so much to offer outside of the United States, and I want to take advantage of all of the opportunity I can.
In 250-500 words, please tell us how you plan to integrate this experience into your academic, personal and career development.
This Summer I have the opportunity to Study Abroad in Puebla, Mexico with PLC. Although I will not take the traditional route to Arezzo, Italy, I believe I will benefit just as much. The PLC study abroad trip is the most recommended trip that I have heard of, and I would love the chance to be a part of something so highly acclaimed.
Although my experience would be different since this portion of the trip is going to Mexico, I believe that the experience is directed by the people you travel with. Both destinations are filled with endless opportunity and countless learning experiences, but traveling with a group as close knit as PLC would enhance the experience no matter where it is.
As a member of the Global Fellowship, I have an interest in the global community and cultures throughout the world. I have only traveled abroad once before to China during middle school. The trip was enlightening and life changing, but I feel that I would benefit more from a trip now because I know what I am looking for abroad. Specifically, I am looking for differences in our cultures socially and academically. I hope to recognize these differences and try to find a way to integrate them in my life.
My Uncle is a Foreign Service Officer for the State Department, and it has been a dream of mine to become one. It seems to be one of the most rewarding and interesting jobs I have heard of. Foreign Service officers must be highly adaptable since they move to random posts every four years, and the more knowledgeable I am about the world, the easier it will be to adapt. I will not be able to immerse myself in every culture, but experiencing the transition would be invaluable. Learning to acclimate to different situations swiftly and efficiently is a skill that few people have, but is highly sought after.
Studying abroad would leave me hungry for more. This kind of learning experience is not one that I would take for granted. I hope to take away as much from this trip as I can.