Shanghai class living!

Shanghai was the last stop in China and I wouldn’t have it any other way. It’s easily the most Westernized city we visited and so it was a nice slice of home before actually heading back to the United States. That being said, the language barrier was still very prevalent and that was a pleasant surprise. After our three week trip, when we finally made it to Shanghai, we had finally realized how to navigate traffic as pedestrians, use public subways, and successfully order food without too many weird looks. Shanghai was a bittersweet end to the trip because we had grown so much and it was coming to a close. seeing the amount of skyscrapers that they have throughout their city, one could assume how this could be their business capital.  My favorite thing about Shanghai was that despite the heavy influence of globalization, it is still a city that is very much Chinese, from the cuisine to the people and so much more. When I head back to China for my semester abroad, I think Shanghai will be the destination I select.

The Bund – Shanghai’s pedestrian center (Night)
The Bund – Shanghai’s pedestrian center (Day)

Beijing Welcomes Me! 北京欢迎我!!!

Less than 24 hours after my time in Rome, I found myself in Beijing, China for the beginning of the journey to China program. It was an incredible time. because we were able to stay a few blocks away from the 2008 Olympic village in Beijing, we were able to see some of the most updated areas of the city. As far as culture shock goes, Italy was a walk in the park. China was diving into Arctic waters. We arrived In Beijing on the last day of the annual Dragon Boat Festival. We went to the forbidden city and Tiananmen Square on our first day and it was the most people I’ve ever seen in my life. And they were just as shocked to see my as I was all of them. I had at least 400 pictures taken of me or with me that day, and it was a great preview for the rest of our time in China.

Forbidden City

Florence

What a time this summer was! During my two-week study abroad in Italy we were able to stay a few nights in Italy’s most historic cities. Home of the Renaissance, Florence was surely a highlight for this summer and definitely my life experience as a whole. Florence was my favorite stop in Italy because of the mixture of a small town environment, mixed with immense cultural importance. This was a place that had the feeling of little to no tourist influence (not many english speakers, other signs of globalization etc.), but also houses monuments like the statue of David and the basilica of saint Mary of the flower. Florence also featured the best single dish I’ve ever had in my entire life. On our last night, I had a spaghetti carbonara dish that was absolutely amazing. Italian food definitely lived up to the hype. I guess the sights were okay too

Basilica of Saint Mary of The Flower: Duomo!

Eve of Nations

Eve of Nations is a culmination of different international groups, including the Angola Student Association, the Indian Student Association, The OU society of Chinese Students and Scholars, the American Indian Student Association, the Korean Student Association, the Malaysian Student Association, the Omani Student Association, Students for Justice in Palestine, and The United World. The audience of this event comprised mainly of OU students, family and friends of those students, and representatives from the countries that participated. During the event, there was a international fashion show, and several performances that included dancing and singing. This public celebration of world cultures made me proud to be an OU student. This event, while very celebratory, it was also very educational. I was pleased to have such a rewarding night in Norman. 

Chinese language Club

Every Friday in Kaufman Hall, the Chinese language Kaufman Hall, the Chinese language club hosts Chinese language practice. It is an hour of students interacting with a Chinese language instructor/professor in Chinese. Students ask questions, tell stories, and learn about the designated instructor. This is my favorite aspect of learning Chinese at the university of Oklahoma. Speaking is a part of language classes, but I always want to practice my Chinese more than I usually would in class. This is also a great way to get know your instructors at the University. The Chinese program at OU is a relatively small one, and so making yourself a familiar face never hurts. The practice is open to all levels of Chinese learners, and even provides free food and drinks! It’s my favorite club on OU’s campus because of its challenging, intriguing, and rewarding nature.

Summer plans for Mr. Hungry & Happy

FINGERS CROSSED: I’ve got a great summer planned. As a part of PLC, I will be traveling to Arezzo, Italy from the 15th of May to the 28th of May. That’s just the beginning of the fun, as on the 28th of May I will be flying from Rome to Beijing, China . I will be participating in the Journey to China program and travel around China while taking a class. It looks to be a promising summer, and I can’t wait to be lost in a foreign world, and eat food I’ve never seen before. Hungry & Happy? that’s an understatement of epic proportions.

Unity Symposium

On Wednesday, November 2nd, I went to the unity symposium hosted by the: Iranian Cultural Association, Black Student Association, Hispanic American Student Association, Muslim Students Association, and Student Government Association. This was probably my most anticipated international event of the semester. I’m a part of the Black Student Association and when I heard about the Unity Symposium, I was ecstatic for two reasons. Firstly, I’m a lover of other culture’s and the thought of that many different ideologies and backgrounds interacting with one another alone was titillating. Secondly, it was an acknowledgement of minority groups on campus in a very major way, and although OU has a very diverse student body, events like this should happen more often. The speakers had a gamut of different topics, personal to controversial,  but the crowd of students’ offered caring ears and understanding hearts. This event made me proud to be an OU student.

Latin Ball

I have been told often that lightning never strikes in the same place twice. It’s a nice expression, but on the 14th of October it was proved illegitimate. The very same night as the international prom, there was a sock-hop style event taking place that would put your favorite dance show on NBC to shame. When I received word of the Latin ball, I simply knew that it was dance fate. The international prom was a culmination of different cultures, music and dance styles. The Latin ball, on the other hand was just that – a Latin ball. There were structured dances, and songs that the majority of the attendee’s were singing along to word for word. Similar to most events involving dancing, the fun began when I stopped worried about looking foolish, and simply tried to absorb as much as I could from a culture that was so foreign to me. It was a great night, and I had to purchase new dress shoes because my feet were on fire.

International Prom

Oh what a night it was. After clocking out  at my prestigious job at THE Cate Restaurants, I received a call from my roommate and close GEF Friend – Jack Fronheiser. Pleasantries aside, I received clear instructions: put on a suit, and come to the Molly Shi Boren Balllroom for a night of boogie and international experience. What choice did I have? I’m always down for a prom. The night was amazing – lots of music I wasn’t necessarily used to, and lots of dancing that didn’t fit the musical style. Imagine me hitting the classic dab over the sounds of African drums, and you can begin to imagine how legendary of a night international prom was. It is a great event to go to with a date, a group of friends, or even by one’s self.  A rating for the night? 12/10: Would dance again.

Confucius Institute Day

One International event I looked forward to attending since I was in high school was Confucius Institute day. Norman, Oklahoma is my hometown and I have been to and volunteered at the CI day at OU with my Chinese class for multiple years in high school. CI day celebrates Chinese culture in lots of different ways. Similar to many cultures, an important aspect of Chinese culture. Food is served every year, along with traditional paper cutting, and a diverse array of cultural activities like the dragon dance! As someone who loves Chinese culture, This is the perfect international event. Free food, entertainment, and a big chance to practice my Chinese speaking skills! I actually met up with my high school Chinese teacher, Ms.Nan (年老师) at the event!

Confucius Institute Day!