Today was the annual day of the dead street festival at the University of Oklahoma. A fellow global engagement fellow, Eva Sparks, and I attended the event and we were both surprised to see the size and popularity of the event. There were a plethora of food trucks, carnival rides, and vendors of all kinds outside of Llyod Noble participating. We saw everything from the Innovation Hub, to IBC students, to a mariachi band playing Bruno Mars and other covers. After taking Spanish as my language at OU for 3 semesters, it was rewarding and exciting to see El Dia de Los Muertos celebrated right in front of me. It is something that I have learned about from my hispanic relatives and from my classes, but never truly experienced for myself. It was a great time and seeing a different part of the OU and Norman community at this event was such an enriching and rewarding experience. This is something I look forward to participating again in the future and bringing more friends to!
The OU cousins pairing ceremony was a new event for me this year, and it was one of my favorite things I have been a part of this semester. This event acted as a giant mixer for international students and OU students seeking OU cousins for the fall semester. During this event, we shared stories and experiences, had the chance to meet a large group of international students, eat ice cream, and finally pick our OU cousin! It was such an exciting experience that was only shortened by the immense amount of homework my new cousin and collectively had to finish that night. I am excited to spend time with Ziya and see where our friendship grows during this semester.
Ou cousins is such a unique program that the University of Oklahoma offers for our students from the United States to bond with the international community. This year is the first year they have permitted co-ed pairings for OU cousins, which is very different and equally exciting. It opens up new avenues to know the International community and it is truly an honor and privilege to be an OU cousin. This semester, my OU cousin is Ziya Arat, an international student studying MIS at OU for a semester from Turkey. Ziya is incredibly funny and loves life in America, and at OU. I am so excited to be his OU cousin this semester and walk with him through his OU experience.
Italy week at OU in Norman is always such a fun week full of international events- and this year, it involved my favorite dessert! Tiramisu is a dessert I have been making with my Grandmother for as long as I can remember, and it has even more sentiment attached to it after I had the opportunity to travel to Italy through OU this summer. The event was held in the Farzeneh hall kitchen, and involved students watching a tutorial of how the dessert is made and getting to try it! I always love attending these events because it allows me to interact with a wide array of students- this year, many international students attended this tutorial, and it was such a fun experience to share alongside them. I cannot wait to make tiramisu with my family over the holidays soon.
I had the opportunity to take Global Activism, Art and Leadership at the OU Arezzo campus over the course of 3 weeks this summer, and I will be forever changed by the time I spent abroad through OU. I completely altered my expectation of the classroom experience, challenged how I thought and processed education and learning, and changed the way I travel.
Going and meeting Italian activist organizations was one of the most memorable and unique parts of my study abroad experience. Going with my friends who have leadership experience at OU added a dynamic to the experience that was different than going alone because they were all active participants in the conversations facilitated by the organizations we had the opportunity to converse and engage with. We met with Libera, an Anti-Mafia activist group, as well as Oxfam and others. These groups are active in the current refugee crisis along with other issues in Italy. They work to find solutions and raise awareness for the issues that matter to them, and genuinely wanted our help to raise awareness for the problems at hand.
Seeing firsthand the art and historical artifacts in Italy was just incredible. From touring Pompeii with Dr. DuCleaux to seeing the Vatican, Colosseum, and museums like the Uffizi and Duomo, my perception of the Roman and Italian world changed immensely, as well as my perception of history and our active involvement with it. I can truly say after being abroad that I returned as a student ready to participate in hands-on learning experiences, face challenges and problem-solve on campus, and engage with a move diverse population of students on OU’s campus.
Corey Disler, 56
- “I agree with all the freedoms because it is important for citizens to have a voice in democracy and the direction of our nation. ”
- “I support all of these freedoms. I think that they are fundamental in what America is and why we are the nation that is so globally respected. ”
- “I do recognize these laws as those of the First Amendment.”
Riley Vann, 19
- “I agree with these freedoms, I think they are pretty basic and promised to us in the constitution.”
- “I agree with the freedom of speech, but I simultaneously feel as though that should not include hate speech. Especially when it comes to marginalized populations.”
- “Yeah they are the First Amendment.”
Reece Henry, 18
- “I agree with those rights, the First Amendment… do people not agree with the First Amendment?”
- “Are people saying no to these questions? Yes I agree with all portions of the first amendment. I want to be a constitutional lawyer.”
- “ They are the rights provided in the First Amendment.”
Terri Disler, 53
- I agree with the rights because without them our country would not be a working democracy.
- I support the freedom of press because it allows all opinions to be printed without government censorship. If this was not our right, we would never be fully informed.
- “These are rights guaranteed by the first amendment.”
Brenna Hibbs, 18
- “I would agree with these freedoms.”
- “I do not think any of them are excessive, I think it is how people use them that determines if people see them as too excessive or not.”
- “Yes, I recognized them as the first amendment.”
Everyone I talked to agreed with the freedoms of the first amendment. I think that everyone also agreed that it depends on your interpretation of the constitution and how people choose to use them on a day to day basis that determines what it means for them to be excessive or not. Overall, I think people agree it is a sufficient amendment and provides rights as well as security through the United States.
The people I interviewed were in support of the first amendment because it provides us with basic freedoms they saw as fundamental to their rights. it is important to note that all my interviewers are citizens of America and knew the constitution and their rights given to them in the First Amendment.
My interviewees saw the freedoms established in the First Amendment as necessary and proper, which was the goal of the Bill of Rights in the first place. I think that it is pretty incredible that all this time later, we as a nation can still agree that these are fundamental human rights and deserve to be protected as such. however, having grown up with the First Amendment and knowing it, I was expecting agreement on these rights.
I am so excited for the chance to study abroad to Italy with the 57th PLC class this summer for 3 weeks. We will be leaving the 13th of May and we are so excited! we will be travelling all around Italy, which will be such a fun experience. I will be taking a political activism course from Dr. Rebecca Cruise and she is so wise, I cannot wait to be under her instruction. I think that this experience will be life changing and an incredible end to my freshman year at the University of Oklahoma. Overall, I am excited to see Europe, experience the culture, eat delicious food, and gain a greater understanding of the world and the people in it. I think that being a globalized individual is very important, and I am excited to take a step into becoming more well rounded as a student, citizen, peer, and future employee.
This year I had the privilege to be in PLC. It was such an honor and an incredible experience. Seeing how it has shaped the course of my freshman year has been so special, and I will be forever grateful for the connections I have made through this organization. It is sad to now be an alum of PLC following our final meeting Tuesday, however I think that it is sweet to finally be in a transition phase of moving out of freshman year. Now lets get us to Itlay!!
One of my favorite activities I attended as a peer mentor this semester was international game night. It was such a cool experience getting to talk to students from all different parts of the world during their first weeks of class at OU. They all have such unique stories and playing board games is a fun way to interact with them. For my group, we played the game scattegories, which was interesting because they are using their second language to play against us as native english speakers at a game that requires knowledge of the language. I learn so much from them and I am so grateful to have served as a peer mentor this semester. The experience has been so cool and I have thoroughly appreciated the opportunity to meet and interact with the OU international studies department and international students at OU.
One of the most daunting tasks that one can do throughout their time in college is going in to the enrollment office to switch your major. Whether it be switching from psychology to sociology or business to Pre-med, a change in direction is a big decision and one that for most is not made lightly. I always thought I would be the person to enter college and know exactly what I was going to do from day 1 and not change. That thought, however, could not have been further from the truth as I soon found out. I started as an international business major, and switched during my first enrollment day to psychology with a double minor in Spanish and Non Profit organizational studies. I loved my psychology class, but had no idea what I would do for a career. Therefore, I went in to my advisor and changed for a third time to Public Relations with a double minor in psychology and non-profit organizational studies. Following Winter break, I arrived back on campus and immediately changed again to Business Management with a double minor in marketing and professional writing. While I have not officially changed. I am sticking with (for now) business management, marketing and changing professional writing to Non-Profit. While it is a lot of changes, it is better to end up where you are happy than stay and be silent.