See where the Global Engagement Fellows have studied abroad, and read their stories!
See where the Global Engagement Fellows have studied abroad, and read their stories!
Somehow, I always gravitate to the Colombian crowd at the OU Cousins event. This year, I was gonna branch out. Maybe meet some Italians to practice my new language?
But there she was. Sabina Piñeros Torres. Bogotá, Colombia.
I actually met her the semester prior but didn’t realize she’d be staying another year in Oklahoma. We met at the OU Cousins speed dating event, started chatting just to catch up. An hour later, we were the last two people in the room.
“I was just coming here for the food,” she said. “I never had luck with an OU Cousin before.”
“That won’t do. Sabina, will you be my OU Cousin?” I said, promising her I’d be everything a cousin should be. Little did I know she’d be showing me more of her culture than I of my own.
I starred in her student films (her cinematography skills make me look pretty good). We went on monthly coffee dates. A
Day four of Arezzo, and I can’t get enough of it. Waking up bright and early every morning to eat the wonderful breakfast is so refilling. As our day started, we went to work on our project again, and we really put in work. Our group painted a huge room blue, and other groups painted other bedrooms. The creative team really nailed it with their decorations of OU themes on the walls because it really made the children’s center light up with life. The kids were so happy to see us working that they even wanted to help and try to speak to us as best as they could. Some of the girls gave us some Italian treats to show gratitude; it was so sweet.
I tried two really good restaurants today where I ate some great pasta and some good Asian cuisine. The Gelato once again never fails, as I consistently eat it everyday. After hours of working, we finally finished and then I went on a hike with some others. I got to see the local pool where everyone looked like they were having the time of their lives. People were playing soccer, volleyball, swimming, and soaking up the sun. I learned that everyone has to wear a swim cap also to go swimming, which is different. Along our hike I saw so much greenery, the landscape was beautiful and filled with flowers. The houses were so big and beautiful, but one thing about Arezzo is that these hills are no joke! They are very step.
After a long half hour hike, I went back to the hotel to get situated then I went out to eat with some PCS pals, and we just hung out. Today was a very good time to reflect on how grateful I am for being here to serve others. We completed a lot of work today and kept very productive, which made me very happy to see progress. What made me most happy was to see the smiles on the girls faces when they looked in the rooms and saw how they looked. I am so blessed to experience this , and I can’t wait to see what the center looks like when we are done.
Today was the day that I got to take over the OU Snapchat, and I felt so cool! I was very excited to show off what PCS was doing with the service project. Speaking of our service project, we started planning and preparing for what was to come, and I am so excited to see the finishing product of this. As we put masking tape around walls, we danced, got hyped, and sang songs. After we were finished with the project, we went to the markets that they have in Arezzo every Saturday. I got the bet tasting watermelon ever and some sweet oranges. The market was full of vendors and packed, but it was such a warming cultural experience. Afterwards, we met with Kirk to start our first class session.
At Kirk’s lecture we visited the Basilica Di San Francesco Cathedral, and the history behind it was remarkable. I learned how important the cross is to the culture, as it is a common theme of salvation, Christ, and renewal. I learned that Francisca, the artist of the photos, was not a priest but instead he was a dean; therefore, he could not take on tasks of a priest. Moreover; he did come to Arezzo in 1217 and was there to seize demons that swarmed through the city, such as violence, theft, and more. After his miracles, a cross appeared in the sky and the city was now saved of its sins and purified to become this beautiful Arezzo we have today. Francisca’s painting “The Legend of True Cross” has many elements of stories of battles, such as the success of the Constantine battle because of the grace of God, or the story of the beginning of time, to Jesus’ resurrection, to a man named Hereclies having to learn obedience and humility after realizing that life wasn’t about him.
Francisca used the idea of Spatial Decorm to help the audience relate to a piece better. Kirk’s enthusiasm about this subject was incredible because he was very passionate about this topic. This church was very beautiful, and I admired all of the details on the walls. After the beach, we did our reflections about our time here so far, and It really reminded me why I was here: to serve others. Our time to reflect really allowed me to think about what leadership meant and being intentional with relationships. Overall, it made me realize the value of service. To wrap up the night, we went to eat at Osteria Dei Mercanti, and the pizza was great. I also had my first real Italian conversation with a vendor trying to buy my grandma a gift. I felt like a nailed that conversation, and it made me feel a little better about my Italian. Today was such a memorable day because of the time to learn and reflect. I can’t wait for what’s to come.
The second day of Arezzo, and I already call it my home. Waking up in the morning to breakfast was so amazing because it was so different and very good. It was so funny because the water looked like it was in a wine bottle so I didn’t drink it, but then after dehydration kicked in I realized it was water and got something to drink lol. I loved meeting Charlotte because she had so much energy at orientation. I could just tell she was such a good woman. At orientation we learned some useful words when eating out at restaurants. Afterwards, we went on a little tour of Arezzo, and it was actually pretty big. These Italian drivers are crazy because I almost got hit!
Lucho took us to the most beautiful park ever where we can see most of the city of Arezzo on a hill side. We walked over to where the Joust was being constructed, and Lucho talked about the history of the Joust, the winning and losing houses, and how the Joust will look. I am so excited for that because it’ll be like the movies on TV. It was such an incredible experience to be in the moment with all of the beautiful landscapes and culture. Next, we went to a restaurant called Antica Osteria, and boy let me tell you how great it was! I got a pasta with boar, and roasted potatoes and it was the best food ever. I loved the atmosphere of the restaurant and our server because everyone was so friendly.
After some free time of walking around and shopping, it was time for the BBQ at Kirk’s house. His house was so beautiful and the chef nailed it with the hamburgers and sausages. It was so fun because it felt like an American family reunion with s’mores, dodgeball, and a new game that the kids taught me “Chicken.” I loved Chicken because it was very scary and so unexpected. I felt so loved at the cookout because everyone gave off positive energy. I am so blessed to be in PCS with such incredible people. As the night winded down, majority of us went to MyWay to Karaoke night and boy did PCS kill it. Overall, I had an amazing night and can’t wait to take over Snapchat tomorrow while starting our service project. Buonanotte!
As soon as I got off the plane in Rome, I realized that this was real and it wasn’t a dream now. As I heard many people speaking Italian, it made me feel even more excited and interested in Italy. Everything I saw I couldn’t help but keep saying wow, the trees, the language, the landscape, Wow! What was even better was coming to my hotel and figuring out I had a single room, ya know I really like my own space; however, it can get lonely lol. Arezzo was so beautiful and boy, let’s talk about the food. THREE COURSES?!!! So, I guess it’s about to be another freshman 15 for me, but with all this walking I think I can lose about 7Ibs haha! The nightlife was so exciting because everyone was so chill just living their lives. Oh man, that Gelato! The skys were clear, and the air was so fresh! Boy, I know this is going to be one awesome trip. Chao!
So, I have taken five semesters of Spanish and let me tell you speaking to Spanish speaker outside of a classroom is so hard. When I went to Peru I was so lost, everyone spoke so fast and I found out that words I was told were universal were in fact not so universal at all. So I enjoyed the crash course on travel Spanish. I though the speaker was very funny and the phases he went over were very useful. There were even some that I wish I had known before I went abroad it would have made talking to local merchants an easier process. I think it is very important to at least know some common phases of the country you are vising especially if the language is not one you are fluent in.
This was a very informative talk. I enjoyed listening to Dr. Fishel and appreciated his insight on the topic at hand. The most I knew about the cold war was that it was between the United States and Russia. However, neither country ever actual fought each other they just had other countries fight and supplied the opposing sides with weaponry. My memory on what happened once this war ended is a little fuzzy though. But thanks to Dr. Fishel discussion this seemed to feel in the gaps. During this part of the lecture series he discussed peace keeping the ismalist threat, North Korea and the next competitor china.All in all I enjoyed the lecture and look forward to learning more about the cold war hopefully they have more discussion on this next semester.
This is by far one of the best talent shows I have ever been to I really enjoyed myself. The food was amazing especially the desert. However, it was cool to see the different class performances. My favorite was the video that discussed what would happen if there were no Arabic classes at the University. They were so funny. I also enjoyed the two performances were the class sung a song. The Disney song was my favorite, but I enjoyed the other one as well. I also like the video that talked about the break up, it was funny as well. The Arabic flagship community was very friendly and I really enjoyed their performances can not wait for next semester.
8 borders in 8 days was such a good film. I had no idea what was going on in Syria. I mean of course I knew things had gotten bad however I feel that when you her about it on the news for me at least the severity of what is occurring does not hit home. However, when watching this film, it defiantly hit home. I even teared up at one moment, I could not imagine ever going through that. So, the movie is about a woman who is travelling with her two kids, she shows us the results of the United States closing our doors on families fleeing war. Since Sham’s application for resettlement was placed on hold she feels that her only way out is in the hands of a smugglers. Sham and her two kids camp outside, walk long ways to places to get a ride to the next border all in the span of eight days. This film is really important it shows us the consequences people are facing in a war that they did not start and want no part of. It is truly sad how we have turned our back on people who are just trying to keep their family safe and together.
So I have been on this journey of trying to learn Spanish for a while. Recently I have started to explore Spanish music. My two current favorite genres are Reggaetón and Bachata. I love the way it sounds. As far as Bachata goes I really enjoy listening to Romeo Santos and Prince Royce. Prior to this last Tuesday Spanish club meeting I have not listened to a lot of Sharika. And boy have I been missing out. We listen and read along to two of her songs. They were nice we also listen to two other artists however even after we broke apart their songs I still could not get into them, oh well I am now a fan of Shakira though. I fine that listening to Spanish music helps me improve my listening skills. All in all I had a good time at the Spanish club meeting and can not wait until the next one.