Reflection II

Some international groups I am most interested in becoming involved with are OU Cousins, the Language Exchange Program offered by CESL, International Student Volunteers, and Sooners Without Borders. These groups have caught my attention because I feel like I will be able to make friends from around the world and become a more global citizen by helping the world community.
I am looking forward to being an OU Cousin because I feel like an international friend could teach me a lot about their world and alter my perspective, which is distressingly narrow compared to what it will be after my career at OU. Being paired with an OU Cousin as well as another foreign student through CESL, I will also feel honored and compelled to share the rich community that is my hometown. Far away from the places and faces familiar to them, my international buddies will be welcomed into my home and social sphere to learn more about what life is like in America and Oklahoma, and I will be thrilled to learn about their lives and culture in their respective countries.
International Student Volunteers and Sooners Without Borders are two groups that volunteer abroad to help people and nature through service projects, such as developing solar irrigation in El Salvador and building schools for underprivileged children in parts of Africa. Service to my fellow man is something I feel passionate about, and those two groups will help me achieve my goal of leaving the world in a better state than when I found it. While I am abroad with these groups, I will be able to expand my knowledge of the world and spread a positive influence for my University and America in general by being thoughtful and courteous in my interactions with locals. While doing service abroad, I will have the chance to make new friends with similar interests in global engagement and experience a multitude of networking opportunities, which could provide leverage and help later in my international career.
There are so many groups and opportunities at OU, I know I will be able to find exactly what I’m looking for in college and in being abroad. It is also very likely that within the next few months or years I will discover a new group or opportunity that I don’t even know exists yet, but wherever it may be, it will surely change my life for good.

Reflection I

I think that that most valuable thing one person can give to another is knowledge, and the best way to spread knowledge is through story. I have said this before, and I am sure I will say it again.
I am fascinated with people, and believe the greatest way to get to know someone is to listen to what they have to say about their world. As a young American, I know that my story is drastically different from many others, and especially fluctuates from countries and continents I have never visited. Because of this, I believe that the range and variety of people I have met and stories I have learned has been quite narrow.
Although my understanding of others is deep, I have only had a limited number of interactions, because they have mostly been shared with people from America, and especially Oklahoma. Also as a young American, I am constantly subjected to the American media, no matter how misleading or false it may be. Media does not show the true stories of places and their people, but rather what the collective agency thinks will sell to the public. Thus, I know I have been shown the world through a very distorted window.
With my global engagement experiences I hope to learn to see the world as clearly as I can, viewing everything as it truly exists without any misconceptions or prejudices. I also hope to change the minds of those who view the United States in a negative light, for they have also been prey to images and ideas expressed by the media of their respective countries. Such a desire will not come easily, because the task of changing someone’s mind is a tough challenge, but with compassion and determination for the human race I know I will be able to make an impact on the worldview of peoples from around the world. By making connections and expanding my own knowledge, I intend to hear and to tell the true story of the world.

“Nostalgia For the Light”

I recently attended an international event at Meacham Auditorium in the Student Union at OU. The event was a screening of the film “Nostalgia For the Light,” byu Patricio Guzman.
The film is set in the Atacama desert of Chile, and the location is important to the film for two vastly different reasons. The first portion of the film focuses on how the desert itself has the clearest sky in the world, so astronomers gather to view the stars and collect data about the universe. Thinking about the vastness of the universe tends to overwhelm me with anxiety, but also makes me want to become an astronaut so that I can explore the unknown.
The second portion of the film was on a darker and sad subject, and concerns the lost bodies of political prisoners from the Chilean military coup of 1973. The Atacama desert has the clearest sky due in part to the fact that it is also the driest place on earth, and a group of women believes that the bodies of their lost loved ones are buried somewhere in the desert. For the past 25 years they have been searching for their fathers, husbands, brothers, and sons, with little success. The stories of the women were touching and sad, especially when taking into consideration the vastness of the desert. It is likely that they will never find the remains of their loved ones, yet they have vowed to continue the search until their deaths, if they must.
The film mixes a light yet deep ton for the reaches of outer space with a tragic and thoughtful attitude for the stories of several Chilean women, and gave me a very new perspective of the world.