For the Spring 2017 Semester, I volunteered to be a Peer Mentor for the New International Student Orientation (NISO). NISO is a program that orients the international students that come to attend OU. It presents about Oklahoma, the United States, and OU and informs students of how to stay safe, what to expect, and opportunities they can participate in while here. Importantly, the orientation also serves as a way for international students to find a community within OU. One way they do that is through the Peer Mentorship Program. In this blog post I will discuss the training day that I went through to be a Peer Mentor. In the next blog post I will discuss the orientation itself.
The NISO Peer Mentor orientation occurred on January 11, 2017. It was for four hours on that Wednesday morning. Basically we discussed what our responsibilities would be the next day at the orientation and later in the semester. We also stuffed packets with brochures that would later be passed out to the students We walked to Dale Hall where the orientation would occur and discussed where everything would be. We were also assigned jobs at the orientation. My job was going to be passing out packets and lanyards as students went up the stairs. It was an easy day in preperation for the long day that was to follow, but it was a good chance to meet my fellow peer mentors.
Well…I’m not in Chile. I was supposed to spend this semester abroad, but because of a family emergency I had to come back to OU so I can fly back home as necessary. It’s already half way through the semester. I’m disappointed that although I’ll be finishing my minor in Spanish, I won’t get to have the opportunity to be immersed in the language. I’m disappointed that I won’t get to spend a semester living a new culture with a host family. I’m disappointed, but life happens and I know that I made the right decision for myself and my family. Things with my family have started to settle down and it looks like everything is going to be okay. It’s with this sigh of relief that I’m finally able to look towards the future again and start planning out what happens next.
Although life didn’t work out in such a way that I will have the opportunity to study abroad for a full semester, I hope to be able to go on another summer study abroad trip. I was very excited to peruse OU’s study abroad website and find a summer program through the College of Arts and Sciences called Economics in London. If I decide to go on that trip, I will earn credit for two upper division Economics electives which will count towards that major. I am thrilled to have discovered this option that will allow me to complete classes that are applicable to my degree.
Starting to plan for my last summer here at OU, it feels like life is moving so quickly. In less than three months I will be sitting down to take the MCAT. Shortly after that will be a committee interview and piles of applications. Hopefully by the end of it all I’ll be going to graduate school. My plans have changed so many times throughout this journey, but once again I’ve revised my path and I see a way to reach my goals.
Today we visited Arezzo’s town hall and climbed the tower to see the tallest part of Arezzo. It’s such a beautiful town. I’m in awe of the mountains here, having never lived in a place with mountains on the horizon. I’m also in awe of the history. I feel like many things in America date back to the 1920s and we consider them historic. There are things in Arezzo that are from medieval times, or before that. It’s hard to fathom such a time as real, even with the physical evidence of their buildings and art right in front of me. Growing up and living in a place with so much history must really impact how you see your own life and the world. The town hall was built as a tower during the medieval times, and given over to the municipality when the family died. I noticed that on the outside of the building there are three carvings in the brick that look like three jars. My guess is that they represent olives, dates, and wine. We talked about how this triad is so important to Italians because these crops could be preserved and are largely responsible for Rome’s success as an empire.
On October 15, Hispanic Heritage Month ended with an awesome finale in the Union Courtyard. I watched traditional hispanic dance performances while eating delicious hispanic desserts and snacks. I hope to attend more cultural events in the future. I hope to attend both fun expressions of culture, like this event, as well as informative international talks.
Hi! My name is Haylee Padgett. Originally from Columbus, Ohio, I am now a freshman at The University of Oklahoma. I’m interested in science, music, literature, volunteer work, and boxing. I’m currently double majoring in English and Economics with a Pre-med advisory. Eventually I plan to work at a clinic in an underdeveloped country, possibly even opening my own clinic. I applied for the Global Engagement Fellowship because I grew up in a homogenized suburb, and I want to get a chance to experience diversity and culture. My first taste of this was January 2014 when I went to the Dominican Republic on a medical mission trip. It was an amazing experience to interact with the local people and start to understand their perspective. It was also my first time in a country that wasn’t predominately English-speaking. The world is a big place, and I want to learn about it, experience it, and be able to function in it. Through the Global Engagement Fellowship Program, I hope to gain cultural perspective. This will be very important as a healthcare worker later in life when I must interact and relate with diverse patients. I’m very excited to be a Global Engagement Fellow.