Japanese Club

After attending the Japanese club banquet, I am very interested in further engaging with the Japanese club. They hold weekly meetings where I can work on my Japanese homework or speak with other Japanese learners. I think that this will be very helpful as I continue my studies. They also organize several special events throughout the year such as the banquet, but also events such as learning about kanji brushstrokes. I am very excited to become a part of this club and participate in these events next semester.


About me

Hey you all, not to long ago my first semester ended so I thought it would be nice to do an about me. My birthday just passed and it was a lot of fun. I’m not 19 looking forward to New experiences and the knowledge I’ll gain from them


Japanese Club Banquet

One of the highlights of this past semester was being able to attend the Japanese club banquet. In the banquet I got to try a lot of new foods, and different styles of foods that I had already had before. There was a lot of food that I didn’t think that I would like, but after trying it, turned out to be pretty good. The banquet was a good opportunity to hear other people speak in Japanese and get tips on how to improve my own speaking. I learned that I have a long way to go in my Japanese studies, but it also gave me motivation to keep studying.


About Me

Hello, my name is Isiah Caldwell and I am a freshman here at OU. I was born in Oklahoma and I’ve lived here my entire life. I’ve traveled to a few places across the country, but never outside of it. I hope to change that while in college. The country I want to travel to the most is Japan, and I’ve started taking Japanese language courses in order to do that. My major is biology, and I will probably also pursue a minor in Japanese. The things that I enjoy most are taking walks in nature, animals, dinosaurs, and being with my friends on campus. On campus I’m involved in the GEF program and OU cousins. Next semester I hope to become involved in the Jurassic Journeyers program and eventually the TFA program.


Christmas in Japan

Christmas in Japan

Given the relatively low number of Christians and European immigrants in Japan, it may be surprising that the country has its own thriving Christmas traditions.  Although Christmas doesn’t have the same religious connotation as it does in other countries, it is quite a popular holiday in modern Japan.

Traditionally Styled NengajoChristmas falls right in between several other national holidays in Japan, namely the current emperor’s birthday (天皇誕生日, Tennō tanjōbi) on December 23 and New Year’s (正月, Shōgatsu), which spans December 31-January 4 and is arguably the most important holiday of the year.  The end of the year in Japan traditionally involves gift exchanges and time with family, as well as a letter called a nengajō (年賀状) similar to a family Christmas card in the US.  Therefore, it was very easy to incorporate some Christmas themes into the traditional Japanese end-of-year celebrations.

Roppongi Christmas Lights: http://wowsabi.co/wp-content/uploads/2014/12/christmas-lights-roppongi-1024x456.jpgFamous staples of the season like Santa Claus, Christmas trees, and holiday lights are popular in Japan.  However, Christmas Eve receives far more attention in Japan: it’s a romantic holiday like Valentine’s Day in America, where couples spend time together, stroll through the decorated public light displays, and have dinner at a fancy restaurant.

Japanese Christmas CakeChristmas Day in Japan famously involves Kentucky Fried Chicken, thanks to a 1974 marketing campaign advertising “Kentucky for Christmas!”  Also popular is Christmas Cake, a strawberry sponge cake known around the world because of its inclusion on the Apple emoji keyboard 🍰.

Overall, Christmas in Japan is one aspect of the festive end-of-year season rather than the major holiday celebrated abroad.  Nevertheless, Japan has a thriving and unique set of holiday traditions not too different from what we see in the US and Europe.


OU Cousins Program

As the semester has come to a conclusion I enjoy looking back on my experience with the OU Cousins organization. The OU Cousins organization is a group on campus that connects students that come from the United States with foreign students. It’s a really interesting organization where you can learn many things about the world from people that have a different perspective on the world. In my experience at OU I have enjoyed speaking with the variety of students present. I’ve found the perspective that they have on the United States to be very interesting, and has helped me to see my place in the world a little bit better. I hope to continue my relationships with these students next semester and throughout my college career.


Hey I applied for the Fulbright!

I did it! I did the thing! Not one day too soon, I submitted my Fulbright application.

I selected the Binational Internship Fulbright Garcia-Robles in Mexico City to apply for. This was an easy choice because Spanish is the language I have studied throughout high school and college, and this program is tailored to business/international business majors (that’s me!).

After draft after draft of my personal statement, I finally was ready to submit for the campus deadline of September 15th. Shortly afterwards, I had my campus interview. It fell on a busy week of class, of course, but I wasn’t stressed– until I had to stay up late the night before and got very little sleep. I learned quickly when I got into the interview that no sleep + nerves means that Holly forgets how to speak Spanish entirely, in spite of years of study. I walked out of that interview feeling about two inches tall.

Thankfully, that interview was a practice for the real thing, and I know now that I need to sleep the night before, should I advance that far in the competition. I won’t know until January, and if I am selected, I won’t find that out until April. That timeline makes next year pretty hard to plan around, but I’m living life as if I’ll be moving to Houston next fall knowing there’s a slim chance I’ll be deferring my job offer to spend some time in Mexico City!



This month, I am participating in Dressember, which is a global campaign to raise awareness and funds to fight human trafficking. By wearing a dress every day, I am constantly reminded that upwards of 30 million people around the world are denied their freedom. Many times I am asked why I look nice that day, which is a great opportunity to bring up what I am doing and why.

The funds raised through Dressember go to three organizations: The A21 Campaign, International Justice Mission, and McMahon/Ryan Child Advocacy Center. Each of these organizations works tirelessly to prevent trafficking, release victims, convict traffickers, and support local governments and law enforcement in eradicating human trafficking.

Even though I have known about human trafficking for many years, I am still learning of the ways in which I unconsciously have supported it over the years. For a disheartening look at just how prevalent child and forced labor is in our goods, check out this publication. I’m trying to be better, by avoiding stores that are known to use sweat shop labor and not buying natural diamonds (surpise! I got engaged!). Still, I am discouraged by the prevalence of this issue and know I have a long ways to go before I am able to say I don’t support human trafficking in any way.

Please check out my Dressember page here, and if you pray, I would love to have you join us in praying for the oppressed around the world!


Diplomacy Lab – Fall 2017

This fall, I was part of the Diplomacy Lab project through the Department of Entrepreneurship. The Diplomacy Lab is a public-private partnership through the U.S. State Department to utilize university students and courses to increase innovation in solving foreign policy challenges. The State Department will post the project proposal, and university professors can apply to host the project.

Two professors from Entrepreneurship applied and were selected to supervise a project this semester, and it immediately piqued my interest when I learned of the topic. The objective was investigating how the State Department can increase employment in Pakistan’s Punjab region through entrepreneurship. I applied and became one of seven students working on the project.

We began the research by splitting into two teams and building entrepreneurial ecosystem canvases of the U.S. and of Pakistan to see if there were resources we had here that we could export. From there, we began benchmarking and forming our recommendations, and we spent the last two weeks typing a large document and building a website that shared our findings.

Entrepreneurship is not seen as a career option for many in Pakistan, as they want the prestige and security that comes from having a job with a regular paycheck and more stability. This is true of many in the U.S. as well, although our history of successful entrepreneurs does inspire many young people to follow that track.

The group of researchers were a blast to work with, and I tremendously enjoyed getting to know a couple more professors in my department at the same time! I learned a lot about entrepreneurship and consulting throughout this project, and I know it will benefit me as I go on to be a consultant in my future.

International Student Day of Prayer

I am a part of InterVarsity Christian Fellowship at OU, which is a campus ministry under the larger umbrella of the International Fellowship of Evangelical Students. IFES has chapters in 160 countries, reaching over half a million students worldwide. To celebrate the work God is doing all over the world through IFES and to show our chapter how we can join them in prayer, we take part in International Student Day of Prayer each year.

This event begins on a Thursday night for us, during the time when we normally would meet for our Large Group Bible Study in Zarrow Hall. Instead, we have a carry-in potluck, where people bring dishes from all over the world. This is especially fun for many of our international students who get to bring something from home to share! We begin with the meal and fellowship, which is always a great time.

Afterwards, groups of students begin presenting on the IFES region that they researched. They share information about what countries have chapters, the culture of the country, and what the chapters’ specific prayer requests are. Some groups are able to bring in items from those countries, if they or someone they know has been. One of our InterVarsity chapters at OU focuses specifically on South Asian students, so they typically prepare a dance to perform at the event.

Overall, this event is a great time and a wonderful way to be reminded of God’s presence around the world!