International Event #1— Theta India Night

For my first international event, I went to Theta India Night at my sorority. Theta India Night was aimed to educate people about Indian culture. One of my favorite parts about Theta India Night was the food. There was a chicken and meat sauce to eat with rice, which was served on pita bread, and there was also fried spinach! I love to try new foods, and Indian food is now one of my favorites! I actually had thirds during dinner! Also during Theta India Night, people could get henna tattoos! There are many talented artists in my sorority, and those girls volunteered to be the henna tattoo artists. Many people received henna tattoos on their hands and arms that were intricate flower designs.

Anyone was allowed to attend Theta India Night, so some international OU Indian students came! We ate dinner with them (they approved of the food), and after dinner we went outside to listen to Indian music and dance! The Indian students wore their traditional Indian clothes and they taught us how to dance to certain Indian songs! I am a horribly uncoordinated dancer, but Richa, one of the Indian students, taught me how to dance the easy dances! My favorite dance was a dance where everyone gathered in a circle and did the same motions, but at different times. I’m sure we were not doing the dance the right way, but it still looked really cool, and it was so much fun. Richa explained how that dance is beautiful when all of the dancers are perfectly in sync together. The Greek system at OU has a program where international students can be paired with a sorority/fraternity. The international students that were paired with my sorority also came to Theta India Night, and they really enjoyed the dancing as well!
I thought that Theta India Night was a really fun event to just learn about Indian culture. I actually helped to plan this event. One of the main reasons I became interested in helping to plan Theta India Night is because I have learned so much about different areas of the world in one of my classes. I am currently enrolled in the Global Engagement Fellowships class at OU, and this class has helped me to see the world outside of the United States. I have always been interested in learning about other cultures and countries, but this class has shown me that I have the desire and interest to learn more about other countries and cultures; I want to become more involved with international events/groups on campus and with my sorority.
There are many events that I hope to attend in the future. Specifically, there is an India event that is hosted by the India students that came to Theta India Night. I am not sure when this event will take place, but the students promised to let me know! I am also hoping to attend events that relate to Latin America because I would like to learn more about Latin American countries and culture!

Theta India Night!
Theta India Night!
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Reflection #6

Hello again!  This is the prompt for Reflection #6:

What was your experience with the “Outsiders” in-class activity? What impact did it have on your thinking? Did any of your perspectives or plans moving forward change as a result? Why or why not?

I thought the Outsiders in-class activity was very eye opening. It was eye opening because it demonstrated how people from different countries and cultures can have a huge disconnect. For example, in class, the volunteers were very confused to why the people of the imaginary country would respond “yes yes yes” or “no no no.” They would ask similar questions, but then they would get completely different answers. The response to a question was solely based on the person’s attitude and facial expressions while they asked the question. This activity actually brings up a funny story that my dad told me when he lived in Germany for about 8 months. My dad had an internship in Germany, and his family decided to visit. My dad and my grandpa went to a gas station to fill up the car with gas. My grandpa went to pay for the gas, and the attendant asked him what pump number they had used. My grandpa responded that they used pump number nine. The issue is that the word “nine” in German means “no.” So, as you can imagine, both the attendant and my grandpa were frustrated with each other. This went on for a few minutes until my dad walked up to the attendant and my grandpa to see why it was taking so long to pay for the gas. The attendant told my dad that my grandpa kept responding “no” when he asked what pump number was used. My dad then realized why they were both so irritated! This is a perfect example of the disconnect that can happen in different countries, as the Outsiders in-class activity demonstrated. I learned that when I go to study abroad, I must be aware that incidents like these are going to happen. Differences in languages and cultures are present, and I need to find as many of these differences before studying abroad to avoid situations like these. While studying abroad, I also need to keep in mind to not take the little things like this personally because in most cases, it will be a small miscommunication.

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Reflection #5

Hello again! Here are the questions for Reflection #5:

After spending some time looking closely at different study abroad possibilities, what do you want to do and why? Has your mind changed since you applied for this program? How and why (or why not)?

After researching all of the study abroad possibilities that OU offers, I have decided that I would like to go on the Journey Program to Peru! One reason I want to do the Journey program is that I have never been abroad without my family. The Journey Programs are very structured, and many younger students go on these trips. For my first study abroad experience, I want to have other OU students and professors close by so I’m not completely by myself in a foreign country! When I applied to be a Global Engagement Fellow, I had no idea where I wanted to study abroad, so my mind has not changed since I’ve applied for this program.
Another reason I would like to study abroad in Peru is that there will be a local service project with an early childhood center. I really like this idea because establishing relationships with people from Peru is very important to me. This will help me better understand the culture and language. I also love little kids, so it is a perfect match.
One of the things that really grabbed my attention about Peru is that they will be going to Machu Picchu. I have always dreamed of getting to hike Machu Picchu! All throughout my Spanish classes in middle school and high school, I remember seeing pictures of Machu Picchu in the textbooks. One of my teachers from high school even went to Machu Picchu and showed us pictures; she said if we ever get the chance to go, we must go! I am a very outdoorsy person, so going to Peru is right up my alley! Since I enjoy the outdoors so much, staying in Amazon Rainforest for a few days also sounds so much fun! I can only imagine the wildlife that I will get to see there! Peru is definitely the place I would like to study abroad to, but studying abroad anywhere would make me happy!

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Reflection #4

Here is the prompt for my fourth reflection:

How did you react to the perspectives on the United States that you encountered this week? What stood out the most to you? Why? How will that influence your thoughts or actions in the future – either here or abroad?

There are many differences between the United States and other countries that I was not aware of that were presented in class last week. For example, I did not realize that it is “normal” not to smile to other people in France. I am so thankful that we learned about this before I go to France (if I ever do), because I would’ve smiled at everyone! I smile at everyone that walks past me! It is the little things like this example that matter when we study abroad—many everyday gestures that happen in the United States do not happen in other countries, or they can be interpreted in another way. A side story to go along with smiling to strangers in another country that I learned about in class is that my professor, Jaci, smiled to a cute old man like anyone would in the United States. I mean who doesn’t love cute old men? They are so sweet! However, when Jaci smiled to this old man, he immediately came to her and wanted to kiss her cheek! So, as stated before, gestures can be the OPPOSITE of what you think in another country! I found this story particularly funny, but it is also a great example that these little things must be researched before you visit another country.
Another lesson I learned in class last week is that we need to be aware of other countries’ cultures/ways of living/etc. There was a speaker in class who was from Africa and she was explaining how people have asked her ridiculous questions. The questions that she has been asked before show how uneducated they are about Africa. A similar question would be if someone asked me, being from Oklahoma, if I live in a teepee or ride my horse to school. Questions like these can not only be very offensive, but they show a lack of knowledge which can be translated to not caring about someone’s culture or country. It is very important to be well educated about different countries’ traditions, cultures, etc., before you ask questions that could be considered offensive.

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Reflection #3

Hello again friends!  This is my third reflection post!  Here is the question:

What international group(s) are you most interested in becoming involved with? Why?

What are you most looking for in an international group – language practice? Cultural exposure? Foreign friends? American friends who share your interests? Career preparation? Networking opportunities? Service opportunities? Something else?

Do you think you’ll be able to find what you’re looking for at OU? Why or why not? If not, what will you do about it?

I am excited and interested in becoming involved in many international groups that OU has to offer. I am most excited in becoming involved in OU Cousins; I even knew about OU cousins before I came to OU. OU Cousins appeals to me because I want to be able learn about other cultures and countries. One reason I became interested and aware of the world outside of the United States is because of my friend Lillian. She is originally from China and came to my high school for all four years. She didn’t know English very well at all in the beginning, and I had to help her in school a lot when it came to English and history because it was hard for her to translate some phrases. I became really close to her throughout high school and I am hoping to find someone like Lillian through OU Cousins. I would like to have someone from somewhere other than China because I know so much about China from Lillian! I want to know about other cultures; I think the best way is to have someone your age to compare cultures and note the differences. I definitely think I will find what I’m looking for in OU Cousins. I am so excited to have someone like Lillian, but at OU!

Another group I am interested in joining is the Spanish Club. I think joining the Spanish Club will help broaden my understanding of Spanish speaking countries and it will help me learn the culture better. One of my life goals is to be fluent in Spanish (being a Global Engagement Fellow will help) and joining the Spanish Club will definitely help me accomplish that! I know that the Spanish Club will also help me with speaking/understanding Spanish, which is very important to me. I will also make friends that have the same interests as me and they will help push me to achieve my goals.

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Reflection #2

Hello again!  Here is my second reflection for the Global Engagement Fellow Class.  This prompt is a great way to get excited to be a part of the Global Engagement Fellow program!  Here is the question:

“What are you most excited about during your time at OU and as a Global Engagement Fellow? What are you most nervous or unsure about? What is the best advice you’ve received so far, and how do you plan to act on it?”

As a Global Engagement Fellow, I am most excited about joining OU Cousins and studying abroad. I hope to study abroad soon in the summer for three weeks. However, I do not know where I want to go yet! I am excited to study abroad because I am very interested in finding out about other cultures and countries. I am especially excited to try all new kinds of food! I am excited to be a part of OU cousins because I think it will really give me an opportunity to ask questions about the country that my cousin is from. A bunch of my friends are participating in OU Cousins, so that makes it even more fun!
I am nervous about a few things when I study abroad. First off, I am scared that I might get lost in a foreign country! I will make sure that I know the basic phrases of whichever country I study abroad in. Another thing I am scared for is that I will not know anyone from OU when I study abroad. I would like to go with at least one person I know when I visit a foreign country. The best advice I have heard about studying abroad so far is to leave a week before classes start or to stay a week after classes end to explore the country. I have also heard that it is a good idea to visit neighboring countries so you can get the most out of your study abroad experience. I will probably end up doing that! One last piece of helpful advice that I have heard is to tell your family when you study abroad so they can possibly visit you for a few days. That would be so much fun!

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Reflection #1

Welcome to my first post! This post is my response to the first reflection question.  The question is, “Do you feel like you’ve been limited in the number or range of “stories” you’ve been exposed to? Do you feel that the rest of the world is limited in its “stories” about the United States? Why? What will you do about it?”

I do feel like I have been limited in the number and range of “stories” that I have been exposed to. I have grown up in Tulsa, Oklahoma, and I have gone through the same private Catholic school system since I was three years old. This is a problem because the majority of the kids in my class are white. I am not saying that being white is bad, but there has been no/very little diversity in my school system. I feel that I especially have been limited in the number and range of stories that other kids my age may have been exposed to. However, coming to OU has already been a huge eye opening experience for me. There are thousands of kids everywhere, and the student population is very diverse. I want to make an effort in my life to learn about different cultures, people, and countries. In order to do this, I will make an effort to attend different culture events that the University of Oklahoma offers. I also want to study abroad to Italy especially, but I would be happy to study abroad anywhere in the world. This class, Becoming Globally Engaged, has already taught me so much and helped me to see life outside of the United States. I am more interested in global events that are happening because I have heard about them in class.
I feel that the rest of the world is not nearly as limited in its “stories” about the United States. I feel that other countries know more about the United States because the United States has been a dominant country for so many years. The United States is also one of the wealthier countries, so people in other countries know and have heard about what happens in the United States. I also feel that the rest of the world is not limited in its stories about the Untied States because the USA is an English speaking country, so many other countries know our language and culture because learning English is a requirement in their school systems.

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