Iranian Student Association Welcome Event (International Event)

Back toward the beginning of the semester, I attended the first event of OU’s Iranian Student Assocation with my Persian-American friend.

 

It consisted of a mixer to break the ice and a Persian meal. Afterwards there was some Persian dancing but I unfortunately had to leave early. The mixer put me with a group of international students and their significant others. It became clear to me that most Persian students on the OU campus come from Iran to get a degree in petroleum engineering. Even though I wasn’t Persian and I didn’t speak Farsi, everyone was talkative and friendly with me.

The meal was delicious, and the company was great as well! This event left a wonderful impression about Iranian hospitality.

Serving the Persian meal

 

To fit with today’s post, here’s an Iranian pop song:

Shadmehr Aghili – Rabeteh

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Making friends in French

I was enjoying a venti sweetened soy iced coffee while poring over Arabic verbs when I heard it. People were conversing in French. I make it a habit to expand my circle of francophone friends and acquaintances by approaching almost everyone I hear speaking French. (I’m nowhere near strong enough in Arabic yet to start doing this. Plus, the issue of dialect complicates this practice immensely.) The question was how I should approach them. Two young people, university students I presumed, were seated at a table next to me studying, chatting, and drinking coffee. I noticed the girl had an Arabic book. Boom. That was my in. Anyone crazy enough to also take Arabic had to be pretty cool. “You’re taking Arabic?” I said in French. I’ve noticed that French people are generally confused when you approach them in French. They seem to think they’re incognito- as if they weren’t just speaking a foreign language and don’t have an indescribable European air about them. We spoke in French and she told me she’s from Clermont and that she attends Blaise-Pascal University- which is where I hope to study abroad next year! The girl about which I am speaking is Fanny. She was incredibly complimentary about my French, which was nice of her because my brain has been in Arabic mode for the past week. We exchanged Facebook information and then she left to meet her friend. As I sat at my table and stared at my study materials reflecting on the encounter I felt glad that I approached her. I have trouble approaching strangers and my language skills deteriorate when I’m nervous; however, I just had a wonderful chance experience with a French girl who is also learning Arabic from the city I plan to visit, all because I decided to talk to her.