A new Cold War may be brewing. International tensions are rising, and the U.S. relationship with Russia is more tense than ever. Among election rigging allegations and the 2014 Crimea incident there has been a new proposition for a pact banning intermediate-range cruise missiles. This could be coming straight out of a history book. Deals and sanctions against Russia will not deescalate any existing situation. Russia’s response to these allegations and sanctions were that they were “laughable”.
Whether or not these allegations are true or false, the sanctions imposed on Russia certainly are not phasing them. There needs to be alternative methods of punishment, and actual indisputable evidence. The last thing this world needs is another Cold War between two superpowers. There are plenty of other viable options to take action against.
President Donald Trump has recently announced that he will begin recognizing Jerusalem as the capital of Israel instead of Tel Aviv. Because of this, the U.S. State Department has issued a “Worldwide Caution” warning to United State citizens traveling abroad. This means that if you’re abroad be aware of mass political unrest.
Trumps move has obviously upset a major part of the international community, so I would like to know his reason behind doing this. Israel has a history of being a tumultuous place of conflict, and it has appeared that Trump has escalated this. His reasoning is that nothing has been done to promote more peace in the region, so he is blindly trying something new on the off chance that something will prevail out of it. According the the United Nations, this action is seen as a threat to preserving peace in the middle east.
Declaring Jerusalem as the capital also makes it apparent which side the U.S. is on. Historically, the U.S. has maintained a neutral stance, but now that is not so. Allegedly, there has been progress, regarding this decision, behind the scenes, and for the people of Israel I hope this is true.
One day, whilst walking down the south oval, I stumbled upon what looked like an Asian food festival. After further investigation it became apparent that it was a gathering of various Asian student organizations. The main attraction of the festival was the food tents that were set up. The intoxicating aroma of fried rice, pork belly, and glazed chicken was overwhelmingly attractive to hungry college students. Herds of students lined up for a chance to indulge in the delicacies. In my opinion, the glazed chicken was the best item, and the pork belly could have been better. It may have been the correct way to serve it, but the pork had a thick, undesired layer of fat attached to it.
Food may have been the main part, but there was also an assortment of activities. It looked like there was one table for crafts, and there were a few people playing some sort of game that I have never seen before. As a whole, it was nice to see stressed out college students taking a load off while unknowingly becoming aware of another culture.
Since I completed my first study abroad, I have been shopping around for my next. The University of Oklahoma has many different programs to choose from, but one that has caught my eye is Puebla, Mexico. OU has a study center in Puebla, so I believe it would be roughly the same sort of experience that I had in Arezzo. Another reason that I have been looking into Puebla is because I would be able to apply my foreign language skills that I have acquired over the last three semesters. I believe that Puebla would be a wonderful place for me to develop more skills academically and culturally.
Although, I do have some reservations about Puebla. One main attraction for studying abroad in Europe is the ability to travel around safely. Puebla itself is safe, but Mexico as a whole is not too safe. I would have to meticulously plan trips out of the city to maintain my safety. This is my only reservation. I would like to travel abroad somewhere that I would be free to roam. Maybe Spain would be a better option?
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.