Trans-Hijras of India A few days ago, I came across an article discussing the marginalized and socially excluded Hijra community in India who face a fair amount of discrimination, prejudice, and violence towards them because of their identity. In India, trans-Hijra individuals face gender based discrimination against them and are subject to a great amount of violence within public spaces. People are overtly critical and discriminatory against Hijras and because of it, they are socially, economically, and politically disadvantaged. Although Hijras are believed to have auspicious powers in relation to fertility and perform at weddings and births, they are one of the most disempowered groups in India. Because of their social standing, trans-Hijras have limited job opportunities and most of[…]

Asian Pacific American Heritage Month I know it may be early but it is almost May, which means that Asian Pacific American Heritage month is approaching! A celebration of Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders, Asian Pacific American Heritage month takes place in May and recognizes the achievements and contributions of Asian American and Pacific Islander individuals. Coming from an Southeast Asian background, this month means a lot to me as it celebrates who I am and provides me an opportunity to learn more about my heritage and culture as well as other individual’s unique heritages and cultures. This year, I have the honor of organizing month long events during the month of May for Asian Pacific American Heritage month on[…]

World Literature Book Club Even though I have little time to fully engage myself in reading for personal pleasure, I like to reserve a bit of my time towards the World Literature Book Club where we read and discuss books that address international problems and experiences. As a new member of this organization, I had no clue of what to expect from the World Literature Book Club but to my surprise— I thoroughly enjoy being a member of the club and being able to enjoy reading for pleasure again. Ever since I was a young child, I have always held great delight towards reading but always felt overwhelmed by my reading options and often struggled choosing a book to read.[…]

Fill the Gap: Teach English In a Foreign Country After You Graduate I attended this international event on a whim. The idea of traveling abroad for work sounded great but the teaching side of it disinterested me; however, attending this international event and learning of the many possibilities and opportunities I could gain from this experience changed my mind completely. Prior to this event, I never expressed any interest in traveling abroad to teach students English after I graduate or to teach at all. After hearing the speaker describe the various experiences that she encountered from the many places and institutions that she taught English. As the speaker discussed her travels to Africa and Korea, she described how it was[…]

The Importance of Language and Culture in the Foreign Service This informational session taught me how foreign language skills are becoming an increasingly valuable asset in our global economy for obtaining a job in certain fields throughout the world. The speaker discussed various points about how important it is to possess both language skills and cultural competency within the workforce. A point that really stuck with me was how there is also a hierarchal order to languages, as particular languages are deemed as more valuable than others because there is a limited number of fluent secondary speakers. In certain fields, being able to understand and fluently speak English, Chinese, French, or Spanish has become a necessity. Learning a language has[…]

After watching From Isfahan to Irvine, I was on a documentary craze and watched every documentary that was available to me on Netflix. When emails about the Foreign Film Club started to appear, I jumped at the opportunity to be involved and was waiting in anticipation until the day came. On November 17th, the day finally came and I was able to watch The Year My Parents Went On Vacation. A brazilian film, the movie explored Brazil’s sociopolitical environment that I had never even heard about. The film was an awakening experience and I learned a great deal about the country of Brazil. I can’t wait for another Foreign Film Club meeting!

I decided to attend the documentary film screening of From Isfahan to Irvine on impulse. I had no idea what the film’s sole topic was and I figured that I had nothing better to do on a Saturday night anyways. I arrived early for the screening and was greeted by a couple of people who gave me a vague gist of what the film would be about. From their explanations, I gathered that the film would be like any other boring documentary on BBC but after a good thirty minutes into the film, I was hooked. Unlike any film that I have seen, From Isfahan to Irvine enlightened and inspired me. He was so devoted to his work and formed a career around[…]

Wanting to meet new friends and make long-lasting connections with others, I decided to be involved in OU Cousins. The process was easy and after attending an orientation and party-event, I finally met and matched with my new OU cousin Samantha. Born in Mexico, Samantha is fluent in three languages and is a pre-med biology major just like I am. We both have the same tastes in music and she hates ginger just as much as I do. A true connection has been made between us and I believe that this is one of the most valuable friendships that I have ever made in my life. Before meeting Samantha, I never would have thought that there were perspectives that differed[…]

I went with friends on October 27th to celebrate the end of midterms at Oktoberfest. Both a long walk and a total workout, the trip to Oktoberfest was exciting. I had never experienced any Oktoberfests prior to this one and I never knew what amazing things I was missing out on. The food at Oktoberfest was delicious and had typical fair food and a wide variety of meat to eat. I learned a lot of new things at Oktoberfest. I found out that it originated in Munich, Germany and occurred each year around the month of October. It was such a fun event to attend and I also had the opportunity to learn about the history of Oktoberfest.

On September 24th, I participated in the International Day of Peace Walk by accident. I was attending the Turkish festival that weekend and had arrived at exactly 10am that morning for the food and the festivities. Halfway through a meat kebab and entering into a food coma, a large swarm of people began to develop. It appeared as though they were preparing for a rally but upon closer inspection, I realized that it was a walk celebrating International Day of Peace. My friends urged me to go walk with them and I did so willingly. Though it was a short thirty minute walk, I made some great connections with some great individuals who were passionate to learn about my culture as[…]