Currently I am sitting outside and in the distance I can hear cars’ horns blaring. Which is common in Mexico but today it means something else. Today there is a march going on outside the front entrance of UPAEP. Because of this march, traffic is building up and all the drivers honk their horns. Blare their horns.
I am sitting outside unable to participate in the march because it is illegal to protest in Mexico and my director advised me not to. But I want to. Because this march is protesting femicide. A young woman (who was a fellow student at UPAEP) was raped and murdered a few weeks ago. There have been 80+ cases of femicide this year in the city of Puebla alone. A few weeks ago a couple of girls were assaulted near the UPAEP campus. This march is protesting against femicide and to change the missing persons law so that a family doesn’t have to wait 72 hours to being their search for their loved one.
I am sitting outside because my class was cancelled because my professor felt obligated to participate in this march.
I am sitting outside thinking about the fact that I didn’t even recognize or know the word femicide until today. Until today I lived in a world where femicide wasn’t a word. And now I don’t. I know that to be a women is to be unsafe. It means to be cautious. It means I can’t walk home alone at night and sometimes even during the day.
I’m sitting outside in Puebla, Mexico- the safest city in Mexico- and I don’t feel safe enough to walk home alone during the day.
I’m sitting outside and for once it’s quiet. Everyone has left to join in on the march.
So I took a free salsa dancing class yesterday and man am I sore!
Who knew dancing was such an intense workout? Some of the steps were easy however some I just couldn’t get. I’m writing a post about my salsa class because I feel that dance and music is a big part of any culture especially the Mexican culture. I am excited to learn all of the easy and complex dance moves that make up the Mexican culture.
Hopefully by the end of the semester I will be a pro at salsa!
I will say my time in Mexico has been amazing. I’m starting to understand my way around the city better and little by little (very little) my spanish is improving.
So I have started my next study abroad journey. This time I am in the magical city/state of Puebla, Mexico. And I will stay here for the next five months. My first week in Puebla has been full of amazing sights and new experiences. Puebla isn’t like anything I imagined. It’s a place where city and nature has come together. It’s vibrant and full of life and I am excited for the months ahead of me.
It’s interesting being here in Puebla, not only as an OU student but as an exchange student at the partner university UPAEP. It’s been fascinating having the perspective of an exchange student. I feel that this new perspective has given me insight on what it’s like for exchange students back home at OU.
Hopefully at the end of this journey I will be at least semi fluent in Spanish. I think that’s what I am most excited for; to learn a new language and embrace another culture.
I can only learn and gain insight from what Mexico has to offer.
Today was my last day and I am currently in an airport after many hours of traveling (and many hours still ahead to go).
Today I am reflecting on my journey that was Scotland.
What did I learn?
The most valuable lesson: you make human connections wherever you go. The connections you make are much more important than the places you go.
One of my favorite places I went to in Scotland was the Highlands. We had an amazing bus tour (thanks to our driver Stuart!) The scenery was beautiful and I gained respect for the Scottish culture. I learned that Scots are prideful. Strong, proud, kind and brave. That’s how I would describe the history and culture of Scotland.
After the first two weeks of being in Scotland my body finally got used to all the walking. I got to know the city of Edinburgh very well in that short month. And I had just finally got down the currency right when it was time to leave.
My favorite days in Scotland where when it was pouring rain. One day it poured all day long. Never stopping and never letting up.
Scotland was remarkable and I plan to go back someday to finish my journey that ended too soon. (ONE MONTH IS NOT ENOUGH)
I also went to London which taught me that I’m pretty good with a map and can get to places all by myself. I love their Underground transport system.
There’s so much that happened that I can’t put it all in one post.
However I’ll never forget this trip to Scotland. Studying abroad exposes you to different lifestyles and gives you the chance to see the world from an entirely new perspective.
This was my second year attending the OU Cousins’ BBQ. I really had a great time with my OU Cousin! The food and music was great. I had a blast dancing to Copperhead Road.
However I did take the time to see how influential American culture can be. How influential any culture can be. Especially in America which is just one big melting pot of culture. I think in this time of our lives we really need to take note and appreciate the differences and similarities between cultures. To take the time to understand the people we live with. I think if we can do that we can take a step towards living in a positive society (which we need now more than ever).
Oh and here is a cute pic of me and some horses that were at the BBQ.
So I was only able to attend the Fulbright Scholar Panel for Global Engagement Day. I found what the panelists had to say was very enlightening.
I didn’t really have an understanding of how the Fulbright Scholar Program worked but after going to this panel I have a clearer image of it.
I liked how the panelists mentioned what it took to find a sponsor and how you need to utilize every resource you have. And even if that resource doesn’t pan out it could point you in the direction of another resource. Some of the panelists were in the Fulbright program just to complete or work toward their graduate program however some of them were in it to teach English.
Another useful tip I learned was that when applying to try and mention how what you learn from your experience abroad can be taken and applied and taught when you return to the United States.
The panel was very informative and I am glad that I was able to attend!!
Today is International Women’s Day and I attended “The Forgotten” a panel discussion. One of the panel speakers really stood out to me. Dr. Rochelle Goldberg Ruthchild who presented “Uncovering Hidden and Forbidden Histories: Research in the Soviet and Post-Soviet Space.”
I found her fascinating because she was able to uncover monumental artifacts of the women’s suffrage march in Russia and on Poliksena N. Shishkina-Iavein who was a leading member of the pre-revolutionary Russian feminist movement. I think it’s cool that she was able to discover these lost gems and help show how much of an impact that women have on the world. It was interesting to hear about her search, it reminded me as if she were a detective trying to solve a case. She was able to find the newsreel of the 1917 Petrograd March for Women’s Suffrage which is shown in the video below. What’s even cooler is how she found Poliksena N. Shishkina-Iavein granddaughter who generously allowed pictures of historical women’s rights events to be scanned as digital copies and accessible to the public.
So a couple weeks ago I watched the movie Kite Runner with the University of Oklahoma’s Foreign Film Club. The movie is based off of the book by Khaled Hosseini.
This movie really tugs on your heartstrings. Although it was hard for me to sympathize with the main character Amir. I don’t want to give the movie away but Amir had a lot to make up for in life. And in a way this movie shows how Amir tries to make up for the mistakes he made. I liked how it showed how life used to be in Afghanistan when Amir was a kid to how it is now. Even Amir was shocked on how different everything was. War, invaders, and political conflict can definitely change a country. This movie is graphic but it was a worthwhile watch.
Also I recommend everyone to check out OU’s Foreign Film Club. So far it’s been pretty fun being able to go to the movies they put on. I look forward to the next event.
Last semester I was unable to find a math at the OU Cousins matching party. Yet somehow this semester I was able to find two!
I’m really excited to be able to get to know my two wonderful cousins. One is from Germany and the other is from Saudi Arabia. I hope I can become fast friends with my new cousins and that our friendships stand the test of time.
I really like being a part of OU Cousins because it is a great way to learn about different cultures and creating new friendships.