Teaching English has definitely been a learning process. You always here that Spanish teachers that are not fluent speakers are usually better at teaching the language because they had to go through the same process the student are currently. I am definitely experiencing the difficulties I imagine native Spanish speakers experience when trying to teach their language. The ideas that have helped me through is remembering how my Spanish teacher taught Spanish to me as well as being around elementary teachers. I am trying to learn how to start from the very beginning with English with the young students so they don’t feel overwhelmed in anyway and feel encouraged that they are improving. I have seen so much improvement which I know mostly comes from being immersed most of the day at school.
During an OU Cousins Event, I randomly started talking to this guy, and it turns out he usually goes to the university that I am going to next semester. I honestly didn’t think that I was going to have any information about this school before I left. I was definitely excited about this opportunity that meeting this person gave me. He ended up telling me about all of the festivals that I needed to go to in the Spring as well as different restaurants/bars. It turns out that he might be going back to Valencia next semester which would honestly be so helpful. Even though I am nervous that I am the only person from OU going, I know that there are always people out there willing to help me!
I was able to attend the Eve of Nations this semester and this event was definitely one to remember. It was amazing to see all of the different cultures present in one show. Seeing the contrast and similarities in different dances and songs intrigued me. One of my favorites parts is was the music. This past semester I took a music about the influence of different music in movies and it really helped me appreciate this event even more. I love how the different uses and sounds it can have when played differently or when it has different influences. It is incredible to think about how all of this culture is present on our campus.
My friend is visiting me right now from Florida, and that got me thinking about her high school. She went to IMG academy, which is a school that revolved around training for sports. At the school, it had students from over 50 countries, more than any other school I had ever heard. The influences from all of these different places in one place reminded me of the school in Italy that had different representations of countries in one place. While the two schools main goals had different purposes overall, I can’t help but see the similarities. Both of these schools appreciated their diversity and encouraged meeting new people from other places. Whether the students were hand selected like in Rondine or just attending school like in IMG, they both encouraged acceptance of different cultures.
This was actually the first time that this really happened to me. When I was volunteering at Kennedy working with the students from El Salvador, their mom was there to talk with one of the teachers. Like her kids, she didn’t speak any English. I told her in Spanish that I would not be their translator for the meeting because I was still learning the language. Their mom then guessed that they would be calling a translator, I then turned to tell the teacher that was with the mom to inform her that she understood that they were going to call someone else. I realized half way through my sentence when I saw the questioning look from the teacher that I was still speaking Spanish. I was completely surprised with myself. There have been times before when I could only think of a Spanish word for a particular item, but I had never accidentally spoken Spanish without realizing it at that level.
In my Spanish class this semester, I learned a lot about Spanish literature. It was extremely interesting because it is so different than English. For the most part the poetry was the most different. We started off with just counting syllables, and I thought it was going to be just like English. I was definitely wrong though because the vowels stay together in one sound. The rules continue if a word ends in a vowel and the preceding word begins in vowel the sounds combine into one syllable. This aspect of the syllables threw me off a little especially after finally understanding the rules, there are of course exceptions to the rule. All in all though I found it extremely fascinating all of there different rules and types of poverty throughout that section.
I recently read an article about how you would go about explaining a sorority to an exchange student from another country. I realize that the concept of a sorority is kind of weird. A group of 85 women learning the secrets behind their houses and then living in the same house with all of them. Not exactly that normal of a thing. I have been raised being around the greek life with my mom and all of my older cousins being in a sorority that I honestly have never given it a second thought. Reading this article though brought back a conversation I had with my OU Cousin last year. I was talking about my sorority and she had never heard of anything like it, but I did’t realize how weird sororities were until I read this article. It made me think of some of her comments that I didn’t even think about then. I love being in a sorority, and my involvement in one has definitely helped me grow as a person, but honestly… they are weird.
Through my internship, I edited and prepared the power points for the Pre-Departure Orientation for the students going to study abroad for a semester in Arezzo. This process let me learn about the new possibilities offered in Arezzo for the upcoming semesters and summer sessions such as The Santa Chiara monastery for the students who will be there for an entire semester and all of the different programs offered during the summers. I actually attended the second PDO and got to experience what it will be like when I go abroad for an entire semester and the things I need to be aware of. Even though I don’t think I will be going abroad to Arezzo, I know many of the topics brought up in the PDO will be relevant no matter where I choose to study abroad.
I got the chance to visit my friend that goes to UCLA this past week and it was great! When I was there I couldn’t help but notice that their school is so different than OU. I obviously knew that it was going to be slightly different but I wasn’t expecting the differences to be so noticeable. The first thing I noted was that the students dressed different than my usual oversized t-shirt and leggings. When I was getting ready in the mornings I always tried to choose something that I thought would fit in the best with their campus. I ended up borrowing a lot of my friend’s clothes because my Oklahoma garb was definitely not California enough and attracted some looks. This experience with clothes made me think of my time in Italy because I would go through the same processes there, except even when I tried I was still obviously a tourist. At least with the help of my friend, I fit in in California… At least I think I did.
Helping put on Italy Week gave me insight in all of the different ways the university promotes studying abroad. As I helped plan for the events of the week, I got the chance to learn about the numerous opportunities OU in Arezzo offers for all different majors. My favorite time this week was when I actually got to help with tabling. I had fun sharing the knowledge I had from when I went abroad as well as what I had learned during my short time as an intern. I was also working with other students that had spent semesters in Italy, the study abroad adviser for Arezzo, and actual faculty from Italy. Hearing all of their adventures in Italy allowed me to learn a lot about the process of studying abroad and more about the Italian culture that I hadn’t got to experience in my short time there. All in all it was great see everyone’s interest in studying abroad and to have the opportunity to spread the word on Arezzo.