IA Service Event: Reflection #3

Instead of attending an IA-sponsored service event, I took part in an amazing service project with my professional business fraternity, Phi Chi Theta.  As an entire group, we all woke up bright and early at 4:30 am on November 18th.  We then carpooled into downtown Columbus and arrived at our designated volunteer station for Columbus’s Allstate Hot Chocolate 15k/5k aka “America’s Sweetest Race.”  As an aid volunteer, we helped pass out water and Nuun sports drinks from our station to passing participants.  In addition to beverages, we also offered small containers of chocolate chips and various other snacks for runners to boost energy.

Even though the majority of our service consisted of handing out food and drinks, we were also required to arrive extra early to set up and stay for a bit afterward to clean up, which was more work than I had thought.  Hundreds of crushed cups and plastic containers were scattered everywhere along the street and a good amount of supplies remained.  We also had to carry dozens of folding tables, coolers, hoses, and other supplies.

The profits of the Hot Chocolate Run 15k/5k go towards the Make-A-Wish Foundation, which creates life-changing wishes for children with critical illnesses.  They are “on a quest to bring every eligible child’s wish to life because a wish is an integral part of a child’s treatment journey.”

Although the early wake-up time was not ideal and standing out on the streets of Columbus in cold, windy conditions did not seem very enjoyable to me beforehand, I actually had an amazing time donating our earnings towards a good cause and having fun while doing so.  It made my heart smile to also see the gratitude and kindness of the runners from just us handing out water.  I remember them always saying “thank you”, but it is us who should have been thanking them for their perseverance, dedication, and hard work towards Make-A-Wish!

Although this service event does not relate too much to international affairs, Allstate (a large national company) has been working to expand these runs across the country to gain support and awareness for the charity and purpose.  In addition, although this particular event was in Columbus, it is clear that this event works toward bettering the surrounding communities, which often spreads to others.

After attending this event, I was so invested that I reflected on how I would consider running myself in the future and potentially getting more involved.  I thought about: how could this event possibly grow and expand in the long run?  Could the number of charities involved increase if we gained enough participants and sponsors?  If I do end up getting involved, I would love to get into contact with the decision-makers of the event to discuss where it is going!

Next year’s Hot Chocolate Run 15k/5k is already scheduled for November 17th, 2019, so I highly recommend that everyone sign up who can!  It is truly a heartwarming event that radiates happiness and human kindness.  Not only that, but it is an incredible opportunity to support children going through extremely difficult and unimaginable situations.

International Affairs Scholars Mini Involvement Fair: Reflection #2

On October 25th, I had the opportunity to attend International Affairs Scholars’ Mini Involvement Fair outside of Smith-Steeb.  It was a great way to gain exposure to extracurriculars and cool trips/ organizations that revolve around the area of international affairs at Ohio State, which was something that I had never had the chance to do.

The first table that I approached was for the club Global Health Initiative. At first, I thought that there would probably be a low possibility of me actually joining since I assumed the organization was solely meant for pre-med or students getting a BS.  However, the nice girls running the table quickly assured me that it was, in fact, open to anyone in any major.  Global Health Initiative is “driven to increase awareness and provide students with educational opportunities related to global health issues.” As someone who is not super aware of the pertinent issues surrounding health in our world, this definitely caught my attention.  What was even more attractive was that they actually went on service trips to places I would absolutely love to visit such as Haiti, Guatemala, Costa Rica, Malawi, and India.  I signed up for their email list after chatting with them- so I am definitely considering going to some of their meetings and events in the future!

The next table was very similar to the first; it was called Doctors Without Borders.  This was one organization that I have prior knowledge of since DWB is famous for its medical services in war-torn countries affected by endemic diseases or natural disaster.  Although it does not pertain entirely to my major, the different cultures of these troubled countries/peoples intrigue me beyond description and I would love to attend various, interesting lectures that will be put on by the nonprofit.  I admire the work they do and the dedication they have towards helping those who are suffering.

The third club I visited was the Alexander Hamilton Society.  This was another organization that I was familiar with beforehand.  Last year in IA Scholars I had attended a couple of debates pertaining to nuclear weapons, North Korea, and the Trump administration.  However, I definitely plan on attempting to go to at least one of their debates or expert talks later this year or next semester.  My favorite aspect of this organization is that it is the perfect environment to dive into the minds and ideas of others (students, professors, government officials, historians, experts, politicians, etc.) and attempt to understand certain ideologies that I may not agree with or may not entirely (or at all) understand.  Especially on college campuses, I believe it is incredibly important to broaden one’s horizons on current issues instead of staying intolerant or ignorant of others’ views.

The last table I visited was AWOW: Advocates for Women Of the World.  Personally, the topic of gender inequality worldwide is very important.  Even though gender inequality exists in the United States, I often forget about how millions and millions of other women in foreign countries experience much, much worse than I do- things like rape, torture, confinement, and forced dependency on males.

It’s definitely going to be hard to decide to which organizations I should allocate my time!

Reflection Post #1: Education Abroad Expo

For my academic event requirement, I decided to attend the Education Abroad Expo at the Ohio Union on September 4th.  Although my first major is German and my minor is International Studies, being new to Fisher with International Business as my newly adopted second major, I realized I wanted to find an effective way to incorporate my love for traveling and learning/utilizing global languages into a more professional setting.  However, before attending the expo, I was pretty clueless in terms of what programs existed and which of those had the possibility to cater to my specific majors, minors, availability, and interests.

The Education Abroad Expo can definitely seem a bit chaotic and overwhelming at times.  However, the Fisher Abroad table did a good job of educating me about my options.  After talking to a representative for a while and gaining a good understanding and overview of what Fisher offers, I was also given a helpful pamphlet recapping the information to take home.

Although all of the programs definitely seemed tremendously beneficial and fun to experience, one program stood out to me.

This one program was the Strasbourg Summer Exchange program for the summer of 2019.  Not only is it stationed in France (I took French in high school and am currently attempting to regain my proficiency in it), but Strasbourg is located very near to the German border, as well.  I feel like this position would be ideal for my studies because I could have the opportunity to travel between both France and Germany, as well as other European countries.  In addition, Strasbourg is home to the Council of Europe, the European Court of Human Rights and the European Parliament, which bring in a political, global aspect to the city.  If accepted, I would attend the Ecole de Managment Strasbourg for roughly four weeks at the beginning of summer.  I would also be expected to take the following courses while abroad: European Integration (HIST 3254), BUSADM 5797 as IB elective, and French Course (BA 5797).

Having already studied abroad in Germany in high school, I think I could really take advantage of this opportunity abroad.  Since I would already understand the drastic changes and sacrifices often necessary to make while going abroad, this transition would maybe be much smoother for me than others.  However, I definitely would still get homesick being away from home for a month.  However, the independence that is granted as an exchange student is so important to personal growth and linguistic improvement.  Although my the majority of classes would be in English, I would like to definitely attempt to see as much of the area as I could without relying on French speakers to translate for me.  Therefore, one goal of mine would be to get by speaking solely French while outside of the university and in situations that occur to me.  I am so excited to see if I end up doing this program or one similar!

I am so happy that I had the opportunity to attend the Education Abroad Expo, which has opened me up to new programs.

Belief and Dedication

Two core ideals that I try to uphold in my everyday life are belief and dedication.  Although some may view it as “easy” to simply say, “okay, I believe in myself,” it is a very different experience when the rewards of this dedication can be seen and appreciated.

One item in which I take pride is this letter from my teacher at my school in Germany where I studied for an entire year.  It serves to prove that things that may seem impossible, really do not have to be with enough genuine commitment.

Before traveling abroad for the year, I had almost no experience with the German language.  I was nowhere near fluent or even proficient in dealing with many of the cultural and linguistic norms that awaited me.  However, I spent my year constantly working to improve every aspect of my transition in Germany.  I spoke only German, watched only German shows, and attempted to participate in as many school and local organizations and groups as I could.  I felt proud and accomplished nearing the end of my stay abroad and this letter I received reinforced my hard work.  I was so glad that others, such as my teachers and fellow peers, could also see my improvement and drive to becoming someone who I wanted to be while in Germany.

 

Year in Review

[ “Year in Review”  is where you should reflect on the past year and show how you have evolved as a person and as a student.  You may want to focus on your growth in a particular area (as a leader, scholar, researcher, etc.) or you may want to talk about your overall experience over the past year.  For more information, go to: http://honors-scholars.osu.edu/e-portfolio. Delete these instructions and add your own post.]

G.O.A.L.S.

[ “G.O.A.L.S.” is a place where students write about how their planned, current, and future activities may fit into the Honors & Scholars G.O.A.L.S.: Global Awareness, Original Inquiry, Academic Enrichment, Leadership Development, and Service Engagement. For more information, go to: http://honors-scholars.osu.edu/e-portfolio. Delete these instructions and add your own post.

Global Awareness: Students cultivate and develop their appreciation for diversity and each individual’s unique differences. For example, consider course work, study abroad, involvement in cultural organizations or activities, etc .
Original Inquiry: Honors & Scholars students understand the research process by engaging in experiences ranging from in-class scholarly endeavors to creative inquiry projects to independent experiences with top researchers across campus and in the global community. For example, consider research, creative productions or performances, advanced course work, etc.
Academic Enrichment: Honors & Scholars students pursue academic excellence through rigorous curricular experiences beyond the university norm both in and out of the classroom.
Leadership Development: Honors & Scholars students develop leadership skills that can be demonstrated in the classroom, in the community, in their co-curricular activities, and in their future roles in society.
Service Engagement: Honors & Scholars students commit to service to the community.]

Career

[“Career” is where you can collect information about your experiences and skills that will apply to your future career.  Like your resume, this is information that will evolve over time and should be continually updated.   For more information, go to: http://honors-scholars.osu.edu/e-portfolio. Delete these instructions and add your own post.]

Artifacts

[Artifacts are the items you consider to be representative of your academic interests and achievements. For each entry, include both an artifact and a detailed annotation.  An annotation is a reflective description of the artifact that attempts to communicate its significance.  For more information, go to: http://honors-scholars.osu.edu/e-portfolio. Delete these instructions and add your own post.]

About Me

Aurora Fleming is a first-year undergraduate student at the Ohio State University, majoring in International Studies and German and minoring in Business.  Apart from her normal studies, she is also an International Affairs Scholar and spends her time involved in numerous extracurricular activities and clubs such as Community Refugee & Immigration Services (CRIS), Allies for Diversity, and the German Club on campus.  Aurora is so excited to be able to experience and interact with all of the diverse features of the Ohio State campus from its many international and out-of-state students to its seemingly unending list of options dealing with foreign affairs and cultures.  She hopes to one day work for the UN or an organization with similar tasks aimed to promote international cooperation and global tolerance of foreign culture and language.