Immigration continuously becomes a talking point. With a president that abhors immigrants, heated debates arise. The dilemma with the wall causes friction between nations. It disrupts families and society. We have seen reports on children being assaulted in the immigration camps, yet nothing seems to be done to help. Immigration topics intensify, and people grow to live in fear. As we discussed in class, if becoming a citizen was that easy, then everyone would do it, but it’s not! The process is long and tedious; therefore, it’s tough. My friend recently became a citzen, and she expressed her happiness yet exhaustion. We have to remember that The United States is built on immigrants; therefore, everyone deserves opportunities to the “American Dream”
The Salsa Ball was definitely an amazing experience. It was so fun to have experienced a different culture of music and people. I met some really cool people and even got to see some of my NISO students there. It was intriguing because the music really made me dance. I was learning how to salsa, and it felt so good. I’m so excited to study in Puebla, Mexico soon so I can learn more Hispanic dancing. I felt so alive! That definitely was a night to remember.
The dilemma that the International community continuously faces here on campus is truly disheartening. The fact that students who can’t afford to pay their bursar are subjected to deportation is absurd. We are better than this. OU seems to strongly advocate for diversity, inclusivity, and community, yet the actions haven’t shown. With budget cuts to the college as a whole, it’s proving that we are moving away from an inclusive environment. International experiences are vital for knowledge, yet we are slowly discouraging them. OU must do better, and we must fight for our students that we once celebrated in being here. All communities matter.
The NISO Experience is an all day orientation event for new international students. This event was extremely fun because I got to interact and connect with students all over the world. Mariah and I are peer mentors for our small group, and i would say that we have the best group ever. I have students from Korea, Colombia, Spain, Germany, and more. During this full day event, we got to build relationships and share some OU experiences with the students to get them excited. This semester we will do more events with our students to make them feel like they’re at home. I love being a peer mentor, and making friends with students across the world.
I had the privilege to listen to Lisa Morales, as she came to speak to PCS about her life in the Peace Corps. She talked about the things that she did in Paraguay and how rewarding it was. It was very interesting hearing her story because she discussed how things were so different internationally, compared to our privilege here in America. The Peace Corps opened her eyes to a new way of life, as she grew very humble and open-minded afterwards. Many third world countries go through so much, yet we are never aware of it because we fail to open our eyes. She described the Peace Corps as life changing because she was able to serve others like no other. This topic over international volunteerism was very exciting for me because I aspire one day to join the Peace Corps. After listening to her story, it really made me want to learn more about other countries by traveling again. The Peace Corps seems very intimidating, but rewarding.
Most of us know this day as “Columbus Day,” yet know so little of the history of this day. Today was not the day that Columbus found America, actually he never did, but a day to actually celebrate those that inhabited America, but were not credited. People inhabited America long before Columbus came; however, that’s the story our history books told us. Knowing the true story of what Columbus did to indigenous people and his fraud of finding this country opened my eyes more on the brutal history of America. Indigenous people need to be given credit, as they were the true founders of America. Today on the South Oval, there was a march and celebration of indigenous culture, as it showcases pride. The beauty in learning the truth behind history is to be woke and not close minded, to be educated, and not lied to. As I learned what today’s true meaning meant, it brought tears to my eyes. I thought I knew the real story of Columbus; that he didn’t discover America; however, In my African and African American Studies class, there was much more to this. Indigenous people have been oppressed for a long period of time, so today is the day to represent one’s culture and show out! (:
This event was extremely fun, as I learned about different cultures. I learned that Africa has 54 countries, that Israel is not an Arabic country, but Palestine is, and I learned that Czechoslovakia has 7 countries and are all independent democracies after the reign of a dictator regime. There was so much interesting music and food that it really made the event shine. The Indian Association was giving out free cookies, and they were amazing. I tried some treats from other tables too. It was fascinating because when you simply ask about things, you receive an abundance of information. I truly believe in the power of knowledge and understanding to unify all walks of life, and that’s why I enjoyed this because I was able to grow closer in understanding different things.
Yesterday was an exciting day because I finally got to experience OU Cousin again; this year with a new International Student. The matching process was so fun, as we got to socialize with a lot of the international students and eat ice cream. After talking to many students, my eye was set on a girl named Charlie, although her real name is in Chinese. She’s from China and she loves sports, like myself. I was so excited to match with her, and I can not wait until we hangout more. This is going to be a fun year (:
Being back on campus after a Summer in Italy feels so different. I miss the Italy vibes; however, it’s back to reality. My traveling adventure just began this summer, and I’m ready get going to even more places. The Study Abroad Fair was so fun to get to see a world of opportunities out there. I am looking to travel somewhere in South America; therefore, I was directed to places like Chile or Guatemala or even Mexico. I love Hispanic culture, so for my semester long abroad experience, I want to go somewhere where I can get better at my Spanish. The Abroad fair allowed me to see so many possibilities. Today was fun chatting with others who have been to those places to hear their experiences. I’m so ready to travel again.
This entire trip has taught me so many things that I don’t even know where to start. I am so glad my mind was open to many different things, and I learned an abundance of materials to utilize and take back home. The main thing I feel like this trip helped me develop is becoming more humble. It’s very hard in life not to have a moment to think about yourself, but when you only have a group of people to trust and look after, you began to become selfless. This experience taught me that it isn’t about me, it’s about the group. For example; though I may have been exhausted during some part of the trip, i needed to push through for my group or if someone needed something, I would give it without hesitation. This allowed me to learn how to truly put others first because we needed to take care of one another.
There were so many things that Italians do differently than Americans, such as walking everywhere or saving electricity so the lights aren’t used when we aren’t at home. I took a lot of these things for granted just because of me being close minded and privileged. This trip made me humble myself and realize my privilege. I couldn’t just hop in a car and drive down the street to a grocery store, or I couldn’t leave my computer in my room to charge when I’m not there, and I realized that it’s okay. Cars affect the environment and so does the electricity and the economy, but I never realized that in American because I didn’t care to look at the overall picture. I saw so many people without homes, so much poverty, and it broke my heart. It really made me realize that even though I may not have much, there’s always someone who has it worst, so you give. I tried my best to give to those in need because I believe if you can do it, then do it. After many times I find myself being ungrateful, I have to remind myself of my privilege.
This trip made me develop my mentality to thinking of things as an opportunity and not an obligation. When we’d go to these incredible places, walking miles, tired, and thirsty, we still got the opportunity to do this and that is rare. When you think of things as an obligation, you began to think negatively and forget the value of that thing. I was blessed to have experienced everything, and grew more humble through the experience. I got the OPPORTUNITY to go to Sienna, I got the OPPORTUNITY to see beautiful art, and I got the OPPORTUNITY to be here because people were selfless and gave to me, so my debt is to mirror that image and be selfless in the world. No one is perfect, and I am still a work in progress, but this trip definitely allowed me to diminish myself and enlarge others. What an amazing time<3