The Arabic Talent Show was a great show with many entertaining acts put on by the Arabic Flagship Program. The show opened with a high energy dance routine. I loved the dancers sequined outfits and the way their energy was able to manifest into the crowd. The next “act” was a video made by students in which they depicted common cultural differences between Americans and those of Arabic descent. One part within the video depicted a girl turning down an elder’s offer of Arabic food, which caused much irritation from the elder. This part was comical and relatable because my grandma too becomes very irritated if you turn down her food and almost forces you to eat it. I noted this as a cultural similarity. A few students recited original poetry in Arabic, the most memorable being a poem about how Arabic had taken a ginger student’s soul. I truly wished I understood Arabic throughout the show because I would’ve been able to understand more of the comedic elements. Another memorable act was titled “Milk vs. Milk.” This act highlighted the differences in the Egyptian dialect of Arabic versus the Moroccan dialect. I found this act to be very interesting because I had no idea that there were two forms of Arabic with words of complete different or opposite meanings. Lastly, my favorite part of the talent show was the drum and guitar act in which two men played traditional Arabic music. The harmonies and sounds were so rhythmic and beautiful. All in all, the talent show was a great experience that I’m so happy I was able to partake in. I have much respect and admiration of the Arabic Flagship Program and loved seeing all their work, accomplishments, and how the entire program is truly one big family.
I attended OU’s Persian Poetry Night and it was very nice. The poetry night consisted of students in various Arabic classes reading famous Arabic poetry and then the same poem translated in English. The event also had traditional Arabic foods. The food was all very good which pleasantly surprised me since I’m not usually one to be adventurous with foods, and tend to stick to chicken fingers and fries for every meal. The venue was decorated to mirror the Persian culture, and the environment made me feel apart of the group and immersed in the culture. The poetry was mostly about love, nature, heartbreak, and personal growth. The language barrier made it somewhat challenging to enjoy the poetry because I could not understand the Arabic language, and the translations were not 100% accurate. Therefore, I couldn’t truly embrace the various poems’ full meanings. However, the arabic language is beautiful, and I was very impressed with the students performing the poetry because they made speaking Arabic seem so easy and natural. The judges at the event all expressed a common interest in the Perisan poet Hafez, and this event helped me gain an interest in learning more about foreign poets. I hope to attend more Arabic Flagship events in the future.
The International Experiences of Race and Diversity event was truly eye opening. The event was put on by The College of International Studies and Price College of Business. The dean of Price spoke at the event and I was very impressed with how much the dean valued diversity within Price, valued international education, and realized how greatly a global understanding impacts success. At this event a panel of 6 international students were asked questions about their experience on OU’s campus, in Norman, and in the U.S. as a whole. The 6 students included a girl from El Salvador, a boy from France, two boys from Africa, and two Indian students, one boy, and one girl. The students were asked about their time on OU campus and if they had faced any racism. I was happy when 5 of the students said they have had good experiences and have not faced racism, however when it was the girl from El Salvador’s turn, she spoke about how she exposed to anti-immigrant sentiment, the day after the election. It was heartbreaking that she had to listen to students in her own classroom speak about how they did not want immigrants in this country. Despite this, she said that her time at OU had been nothing but great and filled with good people. The students were asked about how it felt being a minority and they expressed how it was difficult and challenging at times, but how it was benefiting them as people. I related to this because this is how I will most likely feel when I choose to study abroad. The students also expressed how important it is for American students to be informed about the world and different cultures because that creates unity. This event was great for me and I loved hearing about the international student experience and what I could do to better it.
I attended the Journey Programs Launch Party in order to learn more about the Journey Programs and their study abroad opportunities. The featured programs were Journey to Tanzania, Journey to China, Journey to Brazil, and Journey to Italy. The presentation of each program was very intriguing and each program had interesting classes and great travel plans. In Journey to Italy, students would visit cities such as Arezzo, Rome, Venice, Florence, and Pompei, and experience Italy’s finest art. The Italy program also featured a “Understanding Italian Architecture through Film” class that I thought was very interesting and would love to experience. The Journey to Brazil program featured time in Rio De Janeiro, various islands, and learning about the environmental and intellectual history of Brazil. I was interested in the Latin American Environmental History class because I was completely unaware that Brazil had a rich environmental history. While The China, Italy, and Brazil all seemed like great programs that would offer a great experience, I was most interested in Journey to Tanzania. I believe I was drawn to this program because it was the most unique and included time with a host family in Arusha, which would greatly enhance the experience by being able to fully immerse yourself in the culture. The Tanzanian program also included a visit to Zanzibar, Dar es Salaam, Mount Kilimanjaro, and a safari to the Ngorongoro Conservation Area. I talked in great detail to a student who attended the Tanzania trip, and the professors and they were all so passionate about its rich experience. This event has brought to my attention that I wish to study abroad in Africa and look forward to it.
This semester I joined OU Cousins to fulfill my international group requirement. OU Cousins was truly a great way for me to get involved and played an instrumental role in my happiness and success at OU my first semester. Through OU Cousins I was matched with Eva, a Greek student who attended a university in Germany, and had decided to study abroad for the semester at OU. I loved spending time with Eva and getting to know her throughout the 4 month she was here. We attended plays, had numerous dinners, went shopping, and shared our favorite movies. I loved seeing the excitement she had about things I tend to overlook being an American. She was amazed at the immense popularity of football, that a Victoria’s Secret was in every mall, and discovered her love of frappuccinos through Starbucks. It was truly special for me to be able to show her the “American way of life,” and it was equally special for her to teach me about Germany and Greece. Through OU Cousins I was able to gain a better understanding of the Greek culture, Greece itself, and Germany. The cultural differences that were major in my opinion were how amiable Eva was even to strangers. Eva explained to me that in Greece its custom and very common to greet all people you encounter. I loved this ideal and hope to be more willing to be friendly and greet strangers that I encounter in the future. Another major cultural difference that is common across the board for most Europeans is how open they are. Eva and her friends were so open about everything they thought and had no filter it seemed. While Americans view a “filter” as necessary in order to maintain relationships and avoid stepping on toes, I enjoyed being around people who were not afraid to speak their mind, because I believe it helps build better, stronger, more honest relationships. OU Cousins is indeed a great organization to be apart of. In Eva I gained a great friend that I know I will keep in touch with over the years.