I first met Braulio in my Calculus II class. We were sitting next to each other, both at a complete loss for what Dr. Dicampo was saying. Then, I heard this low, deep grumble to my left. I looked over at Braulio and it seemed as if at the exact same second, we both realized the noise had come from his stomach. I couldn’t stop laughing at him, in our completely dead lecture class, his face bright red, with a stomach very, very upset with him. He eventually had to get up and go to the bathroom.
The more I saw Braulio around after this, the more I got to talk to him, and the more the both of us could wash away the embarrassment of laughing out loud in a lecture, and having stomach malfunctions. Braulio is a freshman, Civil Engineering student at OU. He is from Guadalajara, Mexico and for the past two years before college he has been living in Costa Rica as a student at the United World College there. He is the middle child of four, “right in the middle of the sandwich.” He’s a funny guy and I hope I get to talk to him more. Braulio, if you’re reading this, I hope you have fun in Vancouver, Costa Rica, and at home.
Oh, there was also free ice cream. That’s always a plus
Dr. Reinhard Heinisch of the University of Salzburg spoke to us about the current stance of populist parties across Europe and defined the party to us. I had no prior knowledge of the populist party, and I found his talk very informative and engaging. He explained many aspects of the party such as how each fraction of the party varies through nationalism, ethno-centrism, heterophobia, religio-centrism, antisemitism, nativism, and racism. For example, in Germany, the Populist party is currently advertising by the promotion of the idea of a “nuclear family.” This consists of a wife who stays at home, a husband who works, a boy, and a girl. This flyer was promoted by the new, right wing Populist party in Germany called AFD. Then, Professor Heinisch, over viewed the major leaders of the populist party, and the differences between the populist parties in Western Europe, Eastern Europe, and Southern Europe. They all are somewhat similar, for once one branch of the party sees something that works, the others will most likely follow suit. Overall, the populist party is most commonly known for trying to relate to “the common man” by drawing attention through provocative or outrageous content. For example, one populist people convinced people they were being fed “chlorine chicken”. This is all particularly interesting to me, for I am studying abroad this summer in Arezzo, Italy, and after this I will be traveling through Hungary, Austria, and Germany, where there will be many traces of the Populist Party. I now know what symbols or techniques to recognize as the Populist Party and I will be more knowledgeable about the countries I am visiting. Also, under the Trump Administration, it is interesting to see the corollary between Trump and the Populist party, especially after the current question of his ties to Russia during the presidential campaign. I am very grateful for OU for ensuring that students are provided educational opportunities such as these for topics outside of our graduation requirements.
This event was so beautiful. Students of every background came to together under one common ground: appreciating and recognizing the Latino culture at the University of Oklahoma. I ate ceviche and it reminded me of Cristina, my OU cousin from Peru. Ceviche was the meal she missed the most and what she planned on eating the first time she got home.
I miss her. I should go see her. Maybe I will someday.
Round table discussions, couches, donuts, coffee, Friday afternoons…
Second Wind is a non-profit coffeehouse that calls itself the “living room of Campus Corner”. This is essentially the reason that myself and other Global Engagement Fellows met on a Friday afternoon to discuss student experiences from the Middle East/North America. For those of you who don’t know, Global Engagement is a program designed to provide students the tools they need to succeed in the global community. One of the most essential, and truly most intriguing aspects of GEF, is the sponsorship to study abroad. Fellows range from seniors to freshman, but welcome any form of global discussion. As I sat on the couch, listening to all of the stories, I felt a part of something in a different way than I ever have before. In the past, I’ve had my fair share of groups and programs, but the foundation of those groups is always similarities. What sport you play, what grades you make, what friends you have…however, Global Engagement is different. Jaci and her team hand pick applicants because of their differences. That is what is special about these open discussions. I learned about Morocco through the eyes and feet of Jaci, and I got to see my classmates in a different light who grew up in Lebanon and Egypt. The world is so diverse and I think that in Norman, Oklahoma, the majority of people choose to celebrate our similarities rather than explore our difference. Throughout my years at OU I hope to never stop learning about the identities of my professors and classmates.