The Countdown

Finals are over and the holidays are here. This means only one thing, less than a month till I start the opportunity of a lifetime to study abroad in Italy! So here’s my official countdown:

Days till winter break: officially 0!

Days till Christmas: 9 days

Days till Decadence in Denver, Colorado: 14 days

Days till New Years: 15 days

Days till I leave for ITALYYY!: 30 days!

It’s crazy to think that six months ago, I had no idea where I wanted to go and now it’s finally here. For those of you getting ready to leave in the Spring, you can relate to how hectic everything is by getting itineraries planned, getting everything ready to pack or still figuring what you’re going to need to bring (or not bring), and learning everything you need to know about the country/countries you want to visit. Anyways, I wish everyone a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Years. Good luck next semester to everyone staying in the states, I hope you can somewhat live vicariously through the other abroad fellows’ blog posts. See you when I’m in Italy  ?

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The Foreign Policies of President Trump

In the early days of November, I attended a discussion panel about the foreign policies of each candidate running for the 2016 election. The next US president will face a vast amount of international issues, including the turmoil throughout the Middle East (especially in Syria, specifically Aleppo), Russia including all the conspiracy theories that affect international security, trade deals with China, and the controversy of the Iran nuclear deal.

ISIS: Each issue has serious outcomes which can greatly affect the future of our great nation. One big challenge would include how to defeat the Islamic State of Iraq (ISIS). However, Trump remains silent on his plan to defeat ISIS and instead wants the element of surprise.

Russia: Trump has the idea of creating an alliance with Russia, which will help ease tensions in Syria. Trump and President Putin have a close relationship and close ties with each others top advisers.

China: The US and China have always had a complicated relationship. Trump believes China is a currency manipular, in which he would crack down on hacking and threaten the Chinese government to rewrite trade agreements or start using steep tariffs on goods. In addition, Trump would add military presence in the South China Sea to deter Chinese territorial claims to different islands in the region. Also, he would make rules stricter against Chinese subsidies to boost exports. Finally he would oppose Trans-pacific Partnership between 12 countries throughout the pacific ocean.

With many Americans worried, any miscalculation on any of the these foreign pressure points could have combustible consequences.

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Arabic Flagship

In the beginning of December, my roommate and our OU Cousin attended the Arabic Flagship Fall Talent Show. I was a very unique experience for all of us since we all don’t know anything about Middle Eastern traditions. Although it was all in Arabic, luckily there was a translator for us to understand. My favorite part about this event had to have been the food. Not every day do you have a traditional Arabic meal, of which included a flavorful rice dish, humus, and some of the best tea I have ever had, which was all delicious. Throughout the night, videos, poems and a range of diverse performances were performed. This night was very enjoyable and it was a great opportunity for my OU cousin to further diversify himself. I can’t wait to partake in this event in the future hopefully with my future cousin!

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OU Cousins

This year, a group of my friends and I signed up for the OU Cousins program and we all got paired with a group of Spaniards. This was probably the best decision because they all somewhat knew each other and we could go in a big group to different events and skip the 1-on-1 awkwardness. Since they were from a country that I’ve grown so fond of, it was a great experience hearing stories and being able to picture and to relate to them since I was there last summer. Also, it gave me a chance to broaden my international connections. Once they found out I was studying abroad next semester in Italy, they all started to make plans for all of us to meet up. I am so thankful for OU Cousins for allowing me to create some of the most valuable friendships.

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Is the World Getting Bigger or Smaller?

Globalization is, though there is no agreed upon definition, the expansion and intensification of social relations and consciousness across world-time and world-space with the increasing velocity of movement that displays global integration. In the past, nations could stand alone and be adequate. Today, all nations are part of an interdependent global order where they rely on each other.

One of the primary forces that drives globalization is technology. Because of advancements in transportation of data and people, goods and service can be easily transferred throughout the world. Global interactions can now occur instantly and do not have to wait days, weeks or even months to communication or exchange items.

Karl Marx predicted globalization over 150 years ago. Marx stated that the need for products creates a constant expanding market where connections would be established everywhere, and in every direction, to make a universal interdependence of nations. To understand the complexity of globalization, we must first consider whether it is making the world bigger or smaller. Marx suggested that the world was getting smaller to the point that old practices were transforming globalized processes. He believed there is a compression in the world where people throughout the world shared similar items. If you have ever traveled abroad, you would have noticed certain products that you would likely to find in the US, such as, Coca-Cola, McDonald’s, Apple products, and many others.

These similarities suggest that global compression is taking place. The world seems smaller because global integration provides a sense of familiarity and sameness no matter where you are in the world.

On the other hand, because of technology many can argue that the world has been opened up to portray the world as even bigger than it has been. We can now travel to nearly every inch of the world and communicate with foreign people and cultures because of advances in transportation and telecommunications.

Although a convincing argument can be made for both positions, it’s crucial that we become aware of the rapid increase of globalization and how this affects the world.

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Spain pt. 2

After my program ended in Seville, I spent the next 8 days traveling Spain. It was one of the best experiences of my life solo traveling. People thought I was crazy for doing it. Was it lonely at times? Sure, of course. But it was so nice being able to do what I want at my own pace and having to step out of my comfort zone to meet new people.

I spent the first four days in Madrid Spain. It was so hard to fit all the things I wanted to do in only four days, however I made it work pretty well. I started off by doing a walking tour of the city. This was by far the best decision I did. I got a lay of the land and I felt comfortable in a giant city like Madrid. I highly recommend it! Over the next 3 days I visited the Prado, The Cathedral of Madrid, the Royal Palace, and toured the Santiago Bernabéu. Oh and I ate some bomb food!

 

 

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The final four days in Spain I spent in Barcelona! The breathtaking city of Barcelona was filled with Paella, tourism, and the BEACHH! I visited the famous park guell and la sagrada familia. It wasn’t until my final day in Barcelona that I finally was finally done sightseeing and had time to relax on Barceloneta Beach. I also visited the Montjuic, the olympic mountain which is where the 1992 summer olympic games were held! The last few days I spent eating the best Paella in Barcelona. And yes I had it every night along with a glass of tinto verano!

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One good thing about flying internationally is you get to pick cool layovers. Although it was unintentional to go to England and get delayed and end up having to stay the night in London, it was so worth it.

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I am so thankful for the opportunity to study abroad. I can’t wait to continue my adventures abroad and further my global perspective!

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Spain pt. 1

This summer I spent a life-changing six weeks in Seville, Spain. Yes, I know it’s late to post this, but better late than never! There’s so much to tell, so let’s start from the beginning! On May 27, I left America and headed for Spain. After a long and unproductive nine hour flight, my classmates and I arrived in Madrid, Spain. Leaving around 2 pm and arriving at 9 am meant a lot of loss sleep! Soon after we were on a 2 hour train ride to the unbelievable city of Sevilla. For the first couple of days we toured the city and met our host mothers. Julia was, by far, one of the sweetest, most sincere women I have ever met. She was just like a grandma to me.

The first week was when I noticed most of the culture shock to hit. It was frustrating being in a new country and not speaking the language. Luckily I was taking a Spanish class to further my Spanish and started to pick it up much faster! After that week, however, things flew by. I adapted to the change of pace and the language barrier, and everything started to feel like home.

The first traveling weekend we had, the whole class (including our awesome teacher Jennifer) and I went to Granada and Córdoba. Granada was one of my favorite cities in Spain. It is set in the Sierra Nevada’s (not the ones in the west coast) and is a Moorish city. We visited the Alhambra and the Cathedral of Granada. The Alhambra is an Arabic palace which is stunning. IMG_9120

The Cathedral was my favorite cathedral in all of Andalusia.

The Second week we all attended a bull fight. It was a unique experience to be a part of such a famous Spanish tradition. Over the course of the final 3 weeks in the course, I visited many cities across Andalusia. Also, I got the opportunity to spend 3 days in Lagos, Portugal which was a beautiful town on the Atlantic Ocean. Oh and here are some more pictures of my adventures.

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Stay tuned for more of Spain!

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Impact on the World

You read about the current immigration crisis in Europe all the time. The refugee crisis poses a serious threat both to the welfare of the refugee and the different societies in Europe. In 2015, more than 1.5 million people have moved across Europe from the Syrian region. Many of these people face the inability to obtain aid, asylum, and integration. Providing these refugees would cause political instability. These refugees have been fleeing Syria since 2011 and there has yet to be a viable solution to help and achieve solidarity.

First and most importantly would be finding a way to secure the Syria/Turkey border. This is leading a gateway straight to Europe. If you secure the border, the refugees that are fleeing the war will have a right for complete asylum. Next would be to find a place for the 160,000 refugees in Italy and Greece. But that means there needs to be a faster asylum process to relocate them. Finally, Europe needs to find a way to contain the unsafe and unstable Eastern Europe. There is no reason for these immigrants to make an unsafe and hazardous journey to Central and Western Europe just to escape the unbearable conditions in their own country.

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Intro to the Epitome of Evil

Eric Sundby gave an insightful presentation over “the rise of the third reich”. The Third Reich, also known as Nazi Germany, is what Germany was called from 1933-1945 under the control of Adolf Hitler and the Nazi Party. This presentation was about how Germany rose to power after the economy was in decline after World War I.

After World War I, every country blamed Germany for the war and they soon started to go into serious debt. In 1932, 30% of the population of Germany was unemployed. Hitler then developed a plan to be a part of Soviet Russia. Since the people were in despair and most of Germany was under poverty, they liked the idea. This led to Hitler being appointed Chancellor. After the President of Germany died, Hitler then combined both the chancellor and president and became the ruler of Germany. Once he began to rule, he convinced the Reichstag, which is Germany’s Congress, that when Germany is threatened, they would transfer all the powers to him. Hitler had seized absolute power. This ultimately ended up causing World War II and the Holocaust.

This presentation was very interesting. Being a World War II fanatic, it was insightful learning new history and recent evidence into the Third Reich and how Hitler gained absolute power.

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Global Engagement Day

This years GEF day was a success. It allowed for questions that I was curious about to get answered from different perspectives. Attending the “stand out abroad” seminar was very interesting. It included a female who went to Tanzania and ended up getting proposed to multiple times. In contrary, another girl who was part hispanic went to Italy and said she felt even less of a minority than in the United States. To hear about all the experiences of being abroad was very insightful and eye opening.

What impressed me the most, was learning about other student’s encounters while abroad. Even if two students were in the same country, they still had different experiences. For the most part, most of the people had normal abroad encounters but it was intriguing when things — didn’t go as planned. It was nice to hear about their adventures and apply their tips for a better study abroad experience.

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