Being a Global Engagement Fellow has been a great experience. I probably wouldn’t have been involved in French Club if it hadn’t been a requirement, but I am very glad that I was involved because I genuinely love learning and speaking French. I have always been quite introverted, so I tend to avoid social interaction whenever possible, but being a GEF has forced me to overcome that. Most of all, spending a year in England helped me to learn how to be confident and independent. I am so glad that I had that opportunity. I also never would have considered applying for nationally competitive scholarships if I hadn’t spent a year in England building up my confidence, and receiving the Fulbright was just icing on the cake. I never dreamed that I could have a competitive Fulbright application, but being a GEF made it possible.
C’est le premier semestre où nous avons eu des réunions régulières. Il y avait des heures de conversation qui était très utile. Je n’étudie plus le français avec les cours de l’universitie, mais j’utilise Duo Lingo. J’aime les heures de conversation parce que je peut encore pratiquer la langue et améliorer mes modes de communication. J’ai parlé avec des personnes qui étaient de France, et je pouvais vraiment les comprendre, même quand ils parlaient vite. C’était très amusant.
I am a part of the French Club on campus, or at least, what’s left of it. Apparently last year all the officers graduated, and there was not really anyone around to take on the leadership role and keep it going. But now, there is potential that we might be able to build it back up again. We have several people in charge now who seem very committed to growing the club, so hopefully something will come from that. Unfortunately, it seems to have kind of died off for this semester, and we have only actually had two or three meetings so far as I know, but that is still better than nothing, so hopefully it will build up again next semester. If I had the time, I suppose I could try to build it back up myself, but I neither have the time nor experience for that, so I guess all I can do is support those who are building it up, and perhaps someday it will flourish again like it used to.
When I signed up for OU Cousins, I had hoped that I would be able to be matched to someone with similar interests. As it turns out, very few international students involved in science are signed up for the Cousins program, and those who are in the program were already matched with someone. Actually, everyone I met at the matching events were already planning to be matched with someone else. So I never did find a match through the events, and I was also never matched by random. That was really frustrating because it seemed like you pretty much already had to know international people in order to be matched with one. I didn’t really know any international students, which is why I wanted to join OU Cousins in the first place, so I wasn’t matched.
Fortunately, my roommate came to my rescue. It actually happened by accident, but my roommate has ended up unofficially sharing her OU Cousin with me. About a week before Thanksgiving break, I saw one of her international friends sitting alone at dinner. I had met and talked with the friend before, so I decided to sit with her. As we were talking, I found out that she didn’t have anywhere to go for Thanksgiving. I was going home for Thanksgiving, and my mom had said that I was welcome to bring home anyone I knew who didn’t have a place to go, so I decided to invite her. She wasn’t sure she wanted to go at first, but once I told her that my roommate was already coming with me, she decided she would tag along. We spent a lot of time together during the break, and after the break, we started eating dinner together more often too. About a week after Thanksgiving break, I found out that she was actually my roommate’s OU Cousin. So that’s how I accidentally started sharing Cousins with my roommate.
I have also gone to several of the OU Cousins events. One of the first ones I attended was the matching event with breakfast for dinner. It was interesting to see the reactions of the international students to the pancakes and waffles being served. Many of them didn’t really know how to eat them because they couldn’t decide if it was finger food or fork/knife food. And before they had served the pancakes, someone actually asked my what the difference was between a pancake and a waffle. Then when they were making the pancakes, everyone was invited to go into the kitchen and see how it was done, and even to make some pancakes themselves if they wanted. Everyone had a fun time doing that.
I also went to the Thanksgiving dinner. It was very interesting because they served some international foods along with the traditional american cuisine. I sat with my roommate and some people she had previously met. There was a guy from Taiwan, one from France, and one from Germany. There were also three other Americans, one who was originally from Vietnam, and another who was African-American. It made for an interesting mix of culture, and we had a good time talking about our different backgrounds. We talked about how most people assume that all Asians are Chinese, and how that really annoys some people, especially if they are from Taiwan. We also talked about the different foods we like to eat and how most international students couldn’t stand to eat American food all the time. So overall, we had a good time enjoying the company of other people with such diverse backgrounds.