As part of the Global Engagement Fellowship program, specifically in our Becoming Globally Engaged class, I was asked to create a digital story. The story was meant to be based on an international experience that I have had. I have only been “abroad” twice, to Canada and Mexico respectively, and did not feel that I truly gained any international perspective from either experience (although I enjoyed them thoroughly.) Instead, I did my project on an experience in America- but I’ll let the video tell the story.
December 6, 2014 / Study Abroad
December 2, 2014 / Uncategorized
One of the requirements of the Global Engagement Fellowship program was to participate in OU Cousins. This program at the University of Oklahoma pairs an American student with an international student, hoping to help build friendships between the participants. I suppose it works along similar lines as the international floor that I live on. OU Cousins, however, was mandatory for the program.
The girl that I was eventually paired up with is Rahma Osman. Her origin story is a little complicated. She was born and raised in Denmark, but her parents are from Somalia. Because of this, she speaks Somali as well as Danish. She’s very nice and we have had lunch and dinner together, which has been a lot of fun. We’ve discussed our childhoods and remarked on the similarities and differences between them.
I did learn one particularly interesting thing when speaking with her. I’ve always known that the United States of America has a different measuring system than all other countries, and that ours is much more confusing. I was talking to Rahma at one point about how I would ride my bike to the library when I was younger, and she asked how far it was. I thought about it for awhile and gave her the approximate distance in kilometers. This surprised her, and made her happy as well. She thanked me for being considerate enough to put the effort into converting the distance for her. It really is very interesting how a simple thing like that can help build a relationship between people of different cultures.
December 1, 2014 / Uncategorized
As part of the Global Engagement Fellowship program, I was required to take a class called Understanding the Global Community. We talked about many things in that class, but my favorite part was at the very beginning, when we would watch a youtube video that had music from somewhere outside the United States. Because of that, I have learned a lot about music from different regions.
One of my favorite songs that we listened to is called Papaoutai, by Stromae. He is a Belgian singer whose father was killed in the Rwandan genocide, in 1994. The title comes from papa, ou t’es which is French for “Father, where are you?” I looked up the translation for the song, and it turned out to be a rather depressing piece. I would not have guessed that from the catchy beat, but I suppose the strange music video helps to give that away.
The song is very popular in France and Belgium, and not long ago the acapella group Pentatonix did a cover of it, partnering with Lindsey Stirling. I’m a big fan of Pentatonix and hearing that they had made a version of this song was very exciting! I find it interesting that even if I hadn’t heard this song in class, I likely would have come across it anyway. That is a prime example of how music is travelling across the world at faster and faster rates. Listening to music produced in another country is becoming increasingly common, as is music in other languages. As a self-proclaimed “music nut” who enjoys international sounds, this trend is a definite plus of the global community.
December 1, 2014 / Uncategorized
Not long ago, I was arriving back at the dorms late at night when I heard music on my floor. Now, hearing music isn’t uncommon, but it wasn’t in my hallway–it was coming from the TV room on the boy’s side. Not only that, but it was Lindsey Stirling’s music. I would recognize that style of violin anywhere. I was curious as to who else on my floor is a Lindsey Stirling fan, so I entered the room and proceeded to introduce myself.
The sole occupant of the room turned out to be a Palestinian boy whom I had never seen before. We introduced ourselves and proceeded to talk about music in general, Lindsey Stirling in particular. I have often found that people who enjoy the same style of music can talk about it for an extended period of time, and this was definitely the case here. The conversation continued into homeland and travel and classes, and I very much enjoyed myself. I went to bed that night hoping I had made a friend.
It appears I did, because a few days later I had the same type of experience. I got back late and heard music I recognized coming from the same room, and we talked for a long while. I’m coming to appreciate my floor more and more. I learn so much from having all these different cultural perspectives under the same roof. Being in these close quarters has enabled a shy person such as myself to be better able to meet more peopled, and thereby have more friends. Between run-ins such as this one and lessons in culture from my roommate, this has been a very educational experience and will probably continue to be so.