¡Hola! Though the title of the blog post here speaks for itself pretty well, I’ve recently joined the Spanish Club here at OU! This will provide a wonderful opportunity to practice my speaking skills (I’m a decent enough writer and reader but my speaking no es tan bueno) with someone other than my roommate Emilio–something he’ll probably be thankful for.
From my understanding, I might even get a chance to help out with the Día de los Muertos celebrations held every year at Lloyd Noble. I’ve always enjoyed cooking and I would love to be able to help prepare the some of the food that’s served during the festivities–prepping some delicious food and learning about some fantastic traditions sounds like a great way to get involved on campus.
Hi, I’m Spencer–a first semester Global Engagement Fellow here at OU. I’m a student in Gaylord and I’m working on a dual major between Journalism and Creative Media Production. Ideally, once I’m out of school I’d like to get involved with the production side of the film industry–all those names you see in the credits after the Clooneys and Pitts and Portmans have scrolled past? That’s where I hope to be; handling the logistics of the film and helping it all to come together. I’m also planning to specialize in Broadcast Journalism during my time in Norman; if a moving picture is involved, I’m all in.
Students in Gaylord are required to choose a minor outside of the college and, thanks to my GEF ties at the University, Spanish fits this role como un guante. Think about it: the opportunity to immerse myself in global cultures, learn to communicate effectively in another language and utilize my major to tell stories and share my experiences abroad with others? Sign me up.
Ultimately, that’s what I hope to do during my time as a Global Engagement Fellow: tell stories. I want to be able to write and photograph and share and immerse other people in what I’ve experienced. I want to use what I learn at OU and apply it to what I soak in abroad to create something that can be shared.
Tonight marked the first all-college dinner party hosted in the Dunham Residential Dining Hall and boy, was it something. Despite being the most recent addition to the list of student residences, the Residential Colleges already boast the highest proportion of international students of any of the lodgings on campus. I live on the fourth floor with my roommate Emilio who is also an international student. Suffice it to say that Emilio’s resume abroad would make even the most seasoned traveler jealous: born in León, Mexico, he spent eight years studying at a boarding school in Germany (UWC, an institution that many other international Sooners claim as their alma mater) and has spent time in Italy, France, Belgium and–so it seems–practically everywhere else.
The majority of Floor 4 is also comprised of international students, so the dinner’s constituents were nothing if not a melting pot. I met students from around the world–Kazunori from Japan, Anna from Norway, Chenxin from China–all of whom shared stories and experiences from home and gave me entirely new points of view over a family-style plate of barbecue chicken. Afterwards, Emilio even showed me some of the basic steps of Bachata, a traditional style of dance in Hispanic culture and, while I’m not a pro by any means, I am considering going out for the Latin Dance Club next week.
I’m sitting in a dorm room nearly six hours from my home in Kansas City and, for the first few weeks here, that thought had been weighing pretty heavily on my mind. I felt alienated, a state away from my family and two from my best friend. It’s hard to throw that same pity party for yourself when you’re sitting at a table full of students who are separated from their loved ones by an ocean or a continent. Suddenly, your six-hour drive home over break becomes enviable to the girl who’s staying in Norman over Christmas because the plane ticket home is too expensive. I don’t mean to end this post on a somber note because it shouldn’t. Meeting these international students has been a boon for this homesick freshman. Sure, getting Baked Bear with a guy from Sudan won’t change the distance to KCMO, but it helps everything seem smaller and makes home feel just a little closer to Norman.