What international group(s) are you most interested in becoming involved with? Why?
What are you most looking for in an international group – language practice? Cultural exposure? Foreign friends? American friends who share your interests? Career preparation? Networking opportunities? Service opportunities? Something else?
Do you think you’ll be able to find what you’re looking for at OU? Why or why not? If not, what will you do about it?
I’m definitely excited to get involved with the Center for English as a Second Language. I really enjoy learning languages and I’d definitely like to learn more. So far, I don’t know too many languages–I speak Spanish fairly well (to be fair, I haven’t really practiced in about a semester, but last time I tried, I could speak pretty well), so if I was paired with a Spanish-speaking student through CESL’s language exchange program, maybe I could take some steps towards fluency and getting really comfortable with the language. When I emailed the coordinator, however, she told me that many of the students in the program speak Chinese, Arabic, or Portuguese. I don’t know much at all about any of those languages, but hopefully I could learn a thing or two from whichever student I’m paired with regardless of the language they speak.
I’m also very much looking forward to the OU Cousins program. While I’m mainly hoping to strengthen language skills through CESL, I feel like I’m hoping to gain friendship out of the Cousins program. This weekend, I actually ended up working with a photographer for a story I’m writing for The Daily who was from China and moved here only a few years ago, and while we were walking to and from our assignment, I really enjoyed hearing about her OU experience and what cultural differences she noticed between the U.S. and China. If I have a Cousins experience that’s anything like my (albeit very brief) experience with the photographer, I’m sure it will be wonderful.
I definitely do think I’ll be able to find what I’m looking for at OU, in a lot of respects. The opportunities for international involvement are beautifully suited to my interests–I really like communicating with new people and learning about them, so CESL and OU Cousins are right up my alley. But even in a broader sense, I’m seeing already that I’m finding what I’m looking for at OU: my classes are interesting and engaging, working at The Daily (even for only two weeks) has proven to be a much different, more real-life experience than any of my work on a high school newspaper staff, and I’m starting to make deeper friendships with the people I’m surrounded with. All in all, I can’t complain.