International Adventures

This Spring Break I went to Cap Haitian, a city in the North part of Haiti. I went with about 10 other students, some from OU, on a mission trip. We went to a Children’s Home and helped out with random things like teaching English Classes, replacing a roof, and playing soccer with the kids. While we were there we were able to see parts of Haiti and get a grasp on the culture. It seemed to me like it was what I pictured Africa to be like, but Carribean-style. There were people walking down the roads balancing things on their heads and the homes were impoverished with roofs of aluminum. There were goats and pigs just chillin in the trash heaps, which were ubiquitous. Even though there was alot of trash scattered everywhere, it didn’t smell bad at all. The roads were unpaved and the driving was quite thrilling becuase there were no road signs and even if there were nobody wouldv’e followed them. There were definately beautiful parts of the country too, mostly outside of the crowded town. We hiked along the coast and got some pretty nice views. We stumbled along some voodoo caves as well. Voodoo is still prevelant in the Haitian society. We found a couple of cloth dolls tied to trees and a basket of goat hooves hanging from a tree as well. Some of the caves still had candles lit in them! It was fascinating but a little unnerving.

The people of Haiti were very nice and it is customary to greet everyone with a Bon Jou or a Bon Swa. They speak Kreyol there, which is a sort of simplified spinoff of french. It was fun to learn, and I can now sing ‘head, shoulders, knees, and toes’ in Kreyol.  The climate was humid and pretty warm.  We had to sleep with mosquito nets. most of the country does not have running water in their homes, but we were fortunate to have some in our compound. All the girls in our group had to wear past-knee length skirts, as it is more common for the Haitian women to wear skirts.

The trip was great! Haiti was definately the most different country I have been too. I made Haitian friends and will miss the kids at the Childrens Home. I really enjoyed how it wasn’t touristy at all- so you know you got the real idea of how things were there.

Uncategorized

Latino Flavour

Latino Floavour is an annual event put on by HASA that happens in the ballroom of the Union. Last year I was a volunteer, but this year I just attended the event.  The food was really good and free, which is always a plus.  We were given 6 tickets to spend on 6 servings of food which we got to choose from. I loooved the rice they had, as well as some of the meat. I tried the most foreign-sounding things, but I think I liked the traditional rice and beans the best.

There were hundreds of people who attended the event, it was crowded but well worthwhile. There were performances going on, which was nice to see. Also, there was a llama cut-out. Performers wore traditional costumes and danced on stage. I ended up eating 3 plates because other people had leftover tickets. There were also llamas in the South Oval. I really enjoy seeing llamas becuase it reminds me of Ecuador, the country I visit every 3 or 4 years becuase I have family there. Latino Flavour celebrated not only the countries in South and Central America but also Spain. There was Paella, which is like seafood rice common in Spain. It was overall a very enjoyable event.

Uncategorized

State Department Internships

On a rainy day in late February, Diplomat in Residence at OU, Rob Andrew, hosted at State Department internship information session. For about ten years, he traveled to embassies in Sweden, Costa Rica, Mexico, and Russia as an employee of the State Department and has numerous interesting and exciting stories to recount to anyone interested in life abroad.

With broad shoulders and a hard mouth, Mr. Andrew was intimidating at first, but he delivered an clear and concise presentation that inspired everyone in the room to explore further the opportunities the State Department offers.

Three of the internships Mr. Andrew shared with us grabbed my attention. The first one is a virtual internship, and while I wouldn’t get to travel anywhere beyond my laptop, I would also not have to to take a semester off from school as some of the other internships require. The second is the most common student internship the State Department offers. It is unpaid and occurs during the fall or spring semesters, or in the summer. This internship takes place at your choosing of one of many cities throughout the world, and while I would not be able to attend school at the time, I would receive the study abroad credit required by the Global Engagement Fellowship and would gain invaluable experience working in an embassy at such a young age. The third internship opportunity I found myself interested in during the presentation was very similar to the second one I mentioned except it is paid. Sounds like a dream come true for any globetrotter right? Right. Except this internship specifically targets diverse and minority groups whether that is in the sense of socioeconomic background, racial background, gender, ability, and many other aspects I am forgetting to name. I consider myself fairly privileged so while I will apply, I believe I have the smallest chance of being awarded this specific internship out of the three.

What I got most out of Mr. Andrew’s presentation was that there are many unique methods for study abroad I had never considered before. While the traditional path of attending an educational institute abroad is a great option (and the one that I will most likely pursue), there are other ways that I will be sure to consult my study abroad advisor on. The purpose of study abroad, in my opinion, is to discover a new culture and a new perspective on life, and if that is accomplished, whether through working, volunteering, or studying beyond the borders of your home country, then you have achieved your goal.

Uncategorized

A Roman Holiday

I can’t believe that spring break is already over. I feel like my time here has absolutely just flown by, and I’m starting to dread going home.

My mom and dad came to visit me for their spring break, so we went on a tour through Italy that included Rome, Florence, Orvieto, Arezzo, Cinque Terre, Naples, and Pompeii. We got to see things such as the David, the Colusseum, the ruins of Pompeii and Mount Vesuvius, and the Mediterranean Sea. I’ll post some pictures below of the highlights of the trip!

Processed with VSCOcam with hb1 preset
the birth of venus by boticelli

 

Processed with VSCOcam with p5 preset
a view of firenze at sunset

 

Processed with VSCOcam with hb2 preset
angelic landscape by dali

 

IMG_9574
the colosseum

 

Processed with VSCOcam with c1 preset
veni vidi vici

 

Processed with VSCOcam with hb2 preset
pompeii

 

Processed with VSCOcam with c1 preset
hiking through cinque terre

 

Processed with VSCOcam with hb2 preset
a seafood lunch

 

IMG_9437
the pantheon

 

Processed with VSCOcam with c1 preset
in the mediterranean sea !!!

 

Processed with VSCOcam with hb2 preset
the david (with a modesty screen)

 

IMG_9172
da vinci’s annunciation

 

Processed with VSCOcam with g3 preset
the trevi fountain

 

Threats from North Korea

Since telling people that I have decided to travel to South Korea this summer, they are excited for me but also ask me how I feel about the recent events concerning North Korea. For those that are unaware, North Korea has been testing short-range missiles and has already fired 5 into the Sea of Japan.

Naturally, people would be worried about the affects it would have on South Korea, as the two nations are not on good terms. However, the people of South Korea are not scared of the threats made by their neighbor because it is something that happens frequently. I watched a video explaining what the people of South Korea think about the conflict with North Korea, and it is quite interesting. Although this video was made in 2013, I think it is still relevant today. This is a good video to watch if you are worried about how the conflict with North Korea affects South Korea. This video definitely eased my worries about going abroad and being thrown into war.

 

Uncategorized

Eugene Onegin the Opera

So a couple weeks ago I went to see the opera Eugene Onegin with my mom. I really loved the show, it was so much better than I expected. My mom and I had never been to the opera before and my birthday was just a couple days later so we celebrated my birthday by going to the opera.

OU has an excellent theatre and dance program! I was taken away by the performers’ voices and the dancers’ dancing.

I don’t want to spoil the show so I won’t give any of it away but if you ever get the chance to see Eugene Onegin, well I highly recommend it for everyone to see.

I really enjoyed it because I felt as if I was transported back to that time in Russia and as if I was a country girl singing about love.

For my first time at the opera it wasn’t bad at all and my mom loved it too!

Uncategorized

Originality, Primaries, y Hablando en Voz Alta

Cute little fact: I’m the first GEF to maintain a consistently bilingual blog.

Terrifying realization: People are actually reading this.

I really, really enjoy blogging now. Even though I haven’t even studied abroad yet, the Global Engagement Fellowship is already giving me invaluable things: the ability to voice my opinion and validation that it does, in fact, count.

I’ve been a pretty quiet person since middle school, and I tend to be overpowered by my loud relatives from both sides of my family (I love them). School has taught me to fear being incorrect with intimidating red F’s looming in the part of my brain dedicated to worrying anxiously about uncertainty, so I learned to unquestionably follow whatever was spoon-fed to me. Consequently, it’s difficult for me to make my point in conversation.

But here is different.

I have ample time to collect my thoughts, form my opinions, and come up with something original. There are no loud voices drowning me out or forcing me to submit to their own opinion.

Speaking of loud voices, have you voted for Trump yet?

IMG_0643[1]
But did not do laundry
I did my civic duty and drove back to Edmond on Super Tuesday to vote in the presidential primaries! I probably wouldn’t have gone if it weren’t for my friend Rachel pestering me endlessly to participate. So when I finally went, I wasn’t aware that they had voters separate into two lines of republicans and democrats including independents (apparently the others didn’t know as well). I got in line and began chatting with this super cute little old lady, and that’s when the lady volunteering at the desk said that the lines were separated. A total of 4 of us separated from the line to move to the other. La ancianita looked at me as if I had stabbed her in the back. Sorry miss, you were chatting up a democrat.
I must say that I’m very surprised and proud of Oklahoma for choosing Bernie Sanders and not Donald Trump!

IMG_0633[1]
As seen in Nashville, TN
Maybe I shouldn’t be too surprised, considering that during my vacation over spring break, I saw a lot more Trump supporters and advertisements in Kentucky, Tennessee, and Indiana than in OK.

I’ve heard many different predictions about the possible consequences of such a man being the president.

Only possibility is that he will polarize the republican party beyond the political glue which binds them.

Personally, I believe that foreign relations will be hit hardest as a consequence of him winning. Our president must actually visit other politically close countries such as Germany and be taken seriously. I hope beyond hope that this is still just a publicity stunt for the man.

En el mismo tema, a mi me gustaría hablar sobre platicar en voz alta. Es BASTANTE difícil para mi, entonces trato de practicar con mi amigo uruguayo se llama Ignacio. Sin embargo, es tan molesto cuando no puedo comprender la oración entera porque las palabras distintas se mezclan.

Tengo una conversación con una pareja de Colombia en unas horas, así ojala que pueda entenderla.

Aunque trataré de hacer lo mejor posible, acepto que hay una posibilidad de no recibir un A en esa clase. Tengo que darme cuenta que las notas no son lo más importante. Con tal de que yo aprenda el lenguaje enteramente, estoy contento.

No vale la pena para siempre preocuparse sobre que los demás piensan o que notas se recibe, solo que se logre la felicidad.

 

Uncategorized

GEF Posts Fall 2016

1. I’m still in awe that something so awful took place in and around Paris yesterday. Almost a year and a half ago, I was fortunate enough to have had the opportunity to attend a concert at the Stade de France in Saint-Denis, the stadium outside of which multiple explosions took place. For one part of the multi-faceted attack to have taken place there yesterday is hard to believe, you know? While having a certain level of precaution will always be important, I believe that it’s also important that we continue to choose not to live in fear. May we pray for peace, not only in Paris, but for peace in the hearts of all global citizens that empathize with the victims of tragic events such as these.

 

2. After reading “If It Happened There … America’s Annual Festival Pilgrimage Begins”, it got me thinking about how different American society differs so greatly from that of other countries. For example, Americans in general are stupidly idealistic regarding the power that the United States holds over the rest of the world. Instead of understanding that the U.S. is lacking in many valuable areas, like quality of education, and that it is one of the highest in other areas, like incarceration rates, plenty of Americans are still quick to say, “America is the best country in the world!”

Similarly, it is clear through this article that even American media can regard countries besides the U.S. as inferior. This is a major problem, especially as other economies continue to surpass America’s. Ultimately, it highlights that all Americans have a responsibility to be aware of international events.

 

3. “The World Is As Big Or As Small As You Make It”, a short film published by the Sundance Film Institute, highlights the fact that technology can bring the world together. By using electronic devices, students from all over the world can connect with kids close to their age that live in another country. Despite the boundaries that one might think would keep hese kids from relating to each other, they are able to relate culturally, socially, and through mutual curiosity. By sharing each other’s cultures and surroundings, programs such as these help make the world seem quite small after all.

 

4. The European migrant crisis is dire. Surely that has been drilled into our brains following the barrage of graphic images in the media and the broad coverage of the crisis overall, but it is so interesting that, after such sympathy was shown for those who died trying to make a better life for themselves, Americans are drawn to look away. After the rise in Islamic State-related attacks internationally, it has become nearly impossible for any refugee to enter the United States without scrutiny or controversy. I believe that, although the possibility of a terrorist emerging from a group of refugees is high, the likelihood of a terrorist emerging from the roots of America is higher. If not before, the denial of refugees plays into the hands of the enemy, and against the odds of triumph over terrorism.

 

5. At the “Night the Buzz Stole Christmas” show in Kansas City, Missouri, I saw multiple acts, all of which originated in the United Kingdom. The first of the bands to perform was a four-piece that goes by the name of Swim Deep, the second, Grammy-nominated indie-rock outfit Wolf Alice, and lastly, an ‘80s-inspired band called The 1975. After their performances, I was able to talk to a few of the band members a bit about the differences between touring in America and in the UK. Ellie Rowsell of Wolf Alice commented that the hotel swimming pools here look kind of like car parks while Theo Ellis (of the same band) remarked that the seafood is a bit subpar in the Midwest compared to back home. Additionally, many of the members agreed that American crowds are more verbal and interactive than European audiences in general.

Lost in Translation

I don’t know about other majors, but engineering majors are highly encouraged to pursue internships during their summers. It’s almost a requirement! So I’ve been working on getting my summer together. Unfortunately, I was only able to apply for one internship; applying from thousands of miles away is harder than you’d think! But it was one that I really wanted. Eight weeks working for the Oklahoma Medical Research Foundation as part of their Fleming Scholars Program. Anyway, I fretted over my application until it was as perfect as I could make it, and I submitted it. And I waited. About a month later got the good news that I had been selected as one of 25 applicants who were invited for an interview! WHOO!!! But, since I happen to be in a different country, the interview would be conducted via Skype. It was one of the most nerve wracking things I’ve ever done. Some of it was like a normal interview. I picked out my most professional outfit (I didn’t have a ton to work with, so that was interesting), made sure I was up to date on the company, and I had plenty of questions. But I also had to make sure the Internet was working properly, make sure I wasn’t backlit so they could see my face, make sure my room was clean, make sure my flat mates would be quiet, etc. there’s definitely a lot more to consider when you sign up for a Skype interview. But, for better or for worse, the day of my interview finally came. Everything went fine (once we got past some technical difficulties on their end) except that it was kind of hard to hear them. I would advise using head phones with a built in mic for your interview. Unfortunately I couldn’t get my hands on any. I got an email from them yesterday notifying me that I was selected as an alternate(!!!) and I should know yea or nae for sure on March 25th. So the take away here is that skype interviews suck. I did learn a lot about how I interview from it, but I sincerely hope I never have to do it again.