On March 9th, I attended the premiere of the ballet adaptation of a German novel called Sand. It was an amazing performance put on by OU students that brought life to a novel about tradition and family. There was a question session right after the performance, but unfortunately it did not occur to me to ask, where I could see it again and I could take my family.
For my Spring semester, I joined SJS, an organization that helps new international students adjust to life in OU and the United States by pairing them up with current OU students, however, pairing isn’t done just throught paper applications. To be paired up, I had to go to a “Mentorship Social” where we got to meet the new students and at the end if we both picked each other, then we would be paired up. I was very nervous at first, I didn’t know if I would be able get a mentee because this semester, there were more mentors than mentees, so when the students started to arrive, the nervousness translated to me being kind of awkward, but before it got worse we started to play games and then I relaxed and everything was fine! Long story short, I was paired up with a really cool Omani student named Maadh. I think I really lucked out in my mentee because we got along really well and attending all the events was always fun! Sadly he was a Phase 2 student, meaning that he is graduating the SJS program and next year I will have to get a different mentee. But we’re still planning on hanging out next semester even though it’s not required anymore!
Another International event I attended was the International Bazaar at the South Oval. It was a collection of booths representing different countries and many sold food or trinkets from their country. My favorite booths were the Turkey booth and the Arab countries booth. At the Turkish one, I bought my dad a Turkish style rosary that we often see in the Turkish soap operas we watch, and I bough my mom a pair of earrings. At the Arab booth I saw a TA from my Arabic class and I bought a piece of Baklava . He explained to me what kind of dessert it was and it was really yummy. I hope I can attend this event next year and learn more about the different student organizations that put the event together.
After the first German week event over integrating immigrants, I attended an additional event which was fun and engaging. In this event, I teamed up with members of my German class and we tried out best to place among the winners. Unfortunately, we were just a few points away from placing on the leader board. However this event was still fun and rewarding, and I learned many new things about Germany, ranging from pop culture to geography. Additionally, at the end the German embassy was so kind as to give us goodie bags that had pens and small German flags.
I have been studying German for many years now, so I was excited to learn that there would be a week full of events sponsored by the German Embassy. The first event I attended was called Germany: Integrating Immigrants and it dealt with the German governments steps in accepting thousands of refugees into their borders and ensuring they were equipped to succeed in their new home. It offered me a new perspective on the issue, as they dealt with individual stories and policies, while in the news, the majority of the coverage is only about the numbers. This new look allowed me to understand the difficulties that refugees had in their new homes and how they were working to get ahead.
During Italy week, I decided to attend the activity which included one of my favorite things– cheese! Going to this event was quite sudden actually, I was catching up on my emails when I saw it listed as an activity and so I RSVPd about half an hour before the event actually began, but I’m very glad I did! We were taught over the food industry in Italy and of course introduced to a few cheeses. We were also taught how to taste test olive oil, and although it was weird at first, I could definitely tell the difference in taste between Italian olive oil and American olive oil. After the event finished, I wrote the name of my favorite cheese that came from Water Buffalo milk– Casatica Di Bufala, and I hope I can find it somewhere in Oklahoma!
For one of my International Experiences, I chose to join the Latin Dance Club! It is lead by an OU Alumni and teaches both Salsa and Bachata styles of Dancing. Before joining this club, I had no dancing experience whatsoever, but I’ve felt that I’ve made good progress. During our classes, we are introduced to a wide variety of Latin music and a bit of history too as we learn how the moves originated. Although I like both styles, I have to admit I’m leaning more towards Bachata, if only because I trip less!