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Late Night Breakfast (Social)

On December 4th, 2019, I attended the late-night breakfast in Smith-Steeb hall. It was at the end of the semester with finals looming, and a nice little social event was a good way to ease all of the tension that goes along with the last week of school. Since this event was after an International Affairs community meeting, everyone knew about this event and most of the people on smith 8 were hanging before we went down. There were so many of us, in fact, that we could not all fit in one elevator. Even as we were waiting for the elevator, we could smell the bacon that was 8 floors below. Once we got downstairs, it was surprising to see how many people were already in line. With both the IA program and the PSL scholars, the area outside the smith glass classroom was packed. It took a while to wait in the line, but it went fast talking with everyone around me. Once we got to the buffet table, I stacked my plate up with eggs, bacon, and pancakes. We stayed downstairs a while longer talking to our friends in PSL about how the semester has gone. However, in anticipation to eat, we all went back up to the common room on the 8th floor. Everything was delicious and being with all of my friends in IA made it even better. It was a nice night to eat together and relax and took the edge off of the stress I was feeling with my final coming up later that week. 

Huckleberry House (Volunteering)

On February 8th, 2020, I volunteered at the Huckleberry House in Colombus, OH. In short, this house is a safe place for local kids to go if they are experiencing a crisis. It does not matter what degree of crisis, ranging from feeling unsafe at home to being subject to human trafficking, the Huckleberry House will take them in and provide a safe environment. After a stay of normally a couple of weeks, the workers there will try to reunite the child with a parent or guardian if it is safe. For this event specifically, about 7 of us met in the Smith Steeb lobby in the morning. After a short bus ride and walk, we were at the house getting a tour. The woman giving the tour was very genuine and it was obvious that she cared greatly for everyone in the house. The kids have dorm rooms on the upper floor and common rooms and game areas on the lower floor. Our job was to do a general cleaning of the downstairs while most of the kids were still upstairs sleeping. We took time to organize the games in the game room, wipe down the windows, chairs, and tables with Clorox wipes, and sweep up the ground. After we got done cleaning each room, I felt as though we made it look better. Once the kids came downstairs to eat, we got to converse with them for a small amount of time. It was fulfilling to see the kids who we were working for, and you could tell that they and their supervisors appreciated it. 

Global Water Crisis (Academic)

On October 24th, I attended a lecture about the world water crisis with an emphasis on Subsaharan Africa. I went with some other friends in the IA program, and it was very convenient for us because it was held in Hagerty Hall. Once we got there, we took our seats and the lecturer started by asking us what we already knew about the global water crisis. For me, I knew that it was a huge problem in the world and that people were dying of thirst, however I did not know the actual statistics about the crisis. It turns out that out of the seven and a half billion people in the world, over two billion people don’t have access to drinking water. That alone shocked me, and peaked my interest for the rest of the presentation. I also learned that many times, the problem is not a lack of water, but rather a lack of the means to get the water. For instance, water could be underground, yet the people there do not have the infrastructure to extract it. As a result, volunteers go to places like Tanzania, Africa to help them get access to drinking water. Where these programs are not in place, people have to walk for hours to get to the nearest water source. And in addition to that, the water is most likely dirty, which leads to disease and unhealthy lives. Overall, the lecture was very interesting and I am glad I went. It is very important to be aware of these global problems, and this lecture helped me do exactly that.

Zoo Lights at the Columbus Zoo (Social)

On November 15th, I went on the trip to the Columbus Zoo. It was a social IA event, so I went with many of my close friends in the program. Additionally, the PSL scholars program also went on the trip, so it was fun to meet and talk with some new people with whom I have mutual interests. That night at the Columbus Zoo, the annual light show was set up, so the atmosphere was incredibly fun. The trees all had lights on them, and there was an impressive central display right as you entered. There was also a large number of people there outside of IA which helped the atmosphere as well. Unfortunately, one inconvenience about the trip was that it was during late fall, therefore many of the exhibits were closed as most of the animals were moved to warmer weather. Once we got there and started walking around, we found ourselves exploring the different countries of the world by walking to different sections of the zoo. The layout of the zoo related to international affairs because it helped me understand the geography and wildlife of each different continent. Once you have that knowledge, it is easier to understand and relate to a country’s ideas, living conditions, and culture.

American Factory Documentary (Academic)

When trying to watch the documentary in the Smith side basement, there was an issue with the sound playing, so we could not watch it as planned. As a result, our group from the 8th floor went upstairs to still watch it together. Once we started watching, I realized this documentary is so interesting because it deals with the combination of cultures in a problem-solving setting. Everyone at the factory wants to be successful, yet they have different ideas about how to achieve those goals. For instance, Cao Dewang wanted productivity to be higher without unions, while the American workers wanted to form a union for their financial and physical protection. This is a demonstration of the cultural differences because unions are very normal in the US, yet Dewang thinks it is unacceptable. Additionally, there is a language barrier between half of the workers, which adds another layer of complexity to the dynamic. The concept of this movie is very similar to what we talked about in the first week of our seminar class. It is about how people of different backgrounds interact and try to be constructive with one another. During the documentary, I wondered if the workers have had prior experience working with people of other cultures. I understand everyone was in a difficult situation, but a better understanding of the other culture would have helped them in the long run. All in all, it was an interesting movie, and I enjoyed watching some of the discussion points of IA play out.  

Global Engagement Night- Fashion Around the World (Campus)

At this Global Engagement night, there was a good mix of both learning and discussion. There was a relatively large turn out, and I went with around 5 other friends from the Smith-Steeb 8th floor. In the beginning, the student leaders gave a presentation on the ways people dress themselves around the world. Some of the countries mentioned included Nigeria, El Salvador, and China. Therefore, there was a broad range of cultures examined. What I really enjoyed about the event, though, was the group discussions we had throughout. Everyone had different point of views about the styles we were discussing, and the disagreement made for a good conversation as people were trying to explain their train of thought. We also talked about how fashion relates to expression, and how what someone wears can tell you a lot about their mood, culture, and personality. It was good to get new perspectives on these topics, especially because I can relate them to my future in the business world. I know that style isn’t the most important thing, but it is important to understand that every country has their own culture and style. Knowing that can help you better understand the people around you, and I hope to use that knowledge later in my career later in life.

Education Abroad Expo (Campus)

The Education Abroad Expo was an interesting way for me to get more informed about studying abroad at Ohio State. Traveling to another country is something I have always wanted to do in college, but at times it can seem overwhelming. For instance, such a large amount of time spent abroad has been intimidating to me. At this event, however, I got to hear first-hand about the experience and how real students spent their time. It surprised me to hear that most of them worked long days and did not have much extra time. They explained that the internships were like real jobs, and therefore they were very taxing on them. Aside from some time spent being tourists, most of their time was spent either at their program, in transportation, or feeding themselves. Although this may sound difficult, to me it sounds like a challenge that I would enjoy embracing. Another interesting point is that three students were outside of the country, and therefore were surrounded by different languages. Since I want to travel to a Spanish speaking country, it was interesting to hear a variety of experiences with foreign languages. It seemed like they enjoyed the experience, especially if they spoke the language spoken around them. Overall, the event made me even more excited to go abroad, and it gave me valuable advice from students who had the same experience I want to pursue. 

IA Mini-Involvement Fair (Campus)

In contrast to the massive involvement fair at the beginning of the year, the International Affairs Mini-Involvement Fair was a quaint, refreshing experience which fulfilled its purpose for me. While at the first involvement fair it was difficult to find the clubs that pertained to me, here the clubs were all in my field of interest. At the beginning of the event, I headed down with my usual friends of IA, and it was pleasing to see that almost the entirety of our eighth floor was in attendance. As I went through booth to booth, I enjoyed hearing about the interesting ways that I could get involved. One club called Engineers Without Boarders club caught my eye early on. In addition to international affairs, I am also interested in engineering, so this club seemed to fit align well with my passions. They explained that they are an international organization which comes up with engineering solutions in underdeveloped countries. However, I was not sure if I would fit in being a finance major. When I told them my major, though, they explained that they were in desperate need of business majors to do marketing and CSE spreadsheets for the club. It reminded me that business applies to everything, and there will be numerous opportunities for me to follow my dreams of doing business internationally at OSU.