Hailey's Blog

all about the world, written by a college girl

ou cousins year 2

For Global Engagement fellows, every year we are required to be in some sort of International Organization. The past year and 1/2 I have chosen to be apart of OU Cousins here on campus. OU Cousins is an organization that pairs OU students with an international student so you can become friends, show them around, lean more about each others cultures.

This semester I got a little unlucky and still have received no response from my cousin sadly, however, I still have been involved. Working in the study abroad office this year, I met Heath who has now became one of my good friends. She is also a Global Engagement fellow and is also a member of OU Cousins. Thankfully, I have been able to hang out with her OU cousin and her and meet some of the other international students as well. Heath’s OU cousin is from Spain and her name is Pillar. She and her boyfriend are here studying abroad together and to hear about their adventures together is so interesting. Over break they are road tripping and taking Route 66 to California and then driving back so they can see things such as the Grand Canyon, Las vegas, San Francisco, L.A. and more

I am super glad I was able to at least hang out with some of my friends OU cousins although I never was able to get a response back from mine. Hopefully next semester will be a fresh start.

international student bazar on the south oval

Last month, I got to attend the international student fair here at OU on the south oval. As I walked to my class, I knew I had to stop. I went through multiple of the tables admiring the crafts, designs, and even food from all of the different regions and countries. There was fresh baklava, tres leches cake, flan and more. I looked up from walking around for a bit to notice my friend Julio sitting at the Peruvian student organization table, he is a friend of mine who serves on the human diversity committee with me in congress. At his table he had a flag, as well as knit scarves that he offered for me to try on.

The best part of the fair though was when he offered me to take his tres leches cake. Tres leches cake is my ultimate favorite cake and to have him offer me some of it that was homemade and fresh just completely made my whole morning.

I am very glad that OU and President Boren facilitates events like these on campus. After working in the Education Abroad office this past semester, I really have noticed how many international students there are on campus; there are over 500. Events like these are so important because they deserved to be celebrated because they bring so very much to not only just OU but Norman, and the United States as well.



day of the dead

A couple weeks ago, a friend and I attended the day of the dead street festival right here on campus. I cannot believe I missed out on this event last year because it is absolutely spectacular. It felt like a mini carnival just right outside of campus. The coolest part to me was the Mexican dancing. The whole time we were there they had dancers dressed in the full outfit out on the stage one after another. I was so impressed. Not only was it 85 degrees and so humid that afternoon, but these dancers made it look so effortless, and the way they incorporate the culture into the dances and the music was so amazing to watch and see.

Along side the dancing being amazing, they also had a bunch of food trucks and original Mexican cuisine at some of them; and if you’ve been in Norman for a bit, you know that is extremely hard to find. They had tacos, tortas, mangonada and more. It was so nice being surrounded by Spanish speakers and the smell of tacos. Since I am from San Antonio, it made me very nostalgic and reminded me a lot of home. The Mexican culture is probably hands down one of my favorite. Not only is the food delicious, the music and dancing so fun, but their friendly and loving mindset makes them fun people to be surrounded by. I am so glad OU has an event like this because it really is so important for every culture to not only be celebrated but recognized and shared with everyone so we can all learn more about the world and different types of people.

social media & misconceptions

Social media may be one of the worst or best things that has happened to our society depending on who you ask. It has advanced society; and created a cyber world that is almost too complex to even think about. Rarely do we normally think about the concequences and effects of social media on our minds and hearts. Maybe this is because the extent to which it effects us is way to frightening to maybe think about; or maybe its because we don’t want to think about how it is changing us.

I am sitting here on a Tuesday night and honestly I’m pretty stressed. But that’s normal, we are all stressed. Whether it’s about our jobs, school, money, family, we all have our reasons; and we all struggle. However, whenever we scroll through social media,  we don’t see any of that. We see happiness. People in amazing relationships, succeeding in life, and traveling the world. Although these are all great things; these are not the sole things that happen in our lives. Social media is presenting to us a false sense of reality. It is presenting us as fake people, in fake loves, with fake happiness. The truth is, none of us are happy all the time, and it’s important to admit that.  I don’t know how to put it in any positive words except that social media is destroying our perception of feeling, and emotion and honestly, authenticity.

If we are never exposed to the lows of life, how are we suppose to appreciate the highs? We all feel them; but yet we live in a world where none of us are willing to admit that we experience them. We hide our true lives from social media. At this point though, I really do think things are only getting worse, and it truly scares me. It frightens me to have a president of America who expresses extremely important statements over Twitter, or to see relationships emerge from a connection over the screen, rather than from face to face.  I don’t really know if there is anyway to stop the way social media has effected our society. Not only has it made us apathetic and unauthentic; but social media promotes a false sense of reality. It is really scary for me to think about because I feel like one day this false sense of reality will simply become real.

Social media has also influenced the larger media to only show us one type of person. This can even extend to promoting one type of body, one type of career per gender, one type of religion and also increase stereotypes of all kind. If we are only promoting one type of person, one type of emotion, and one type of exciting lifestyle, eventually there will be no diversity or appreciation for our differences, our low times, or times of growth in life. We are all so focused on promoting this indefinite goal of happiness through our social media and it is completely bullock.

So the next time you scroll through social media and see people at fancy dinners, traveling the world, or simply with there huge group of friends, remember that we all have our lows. No one is perfect; no friendship; no love; no life is close to perfection, but this however, is the best part of life. Our imperfections, and our low times and great times make our hearts what they are; and none of that is worth hiding from a simple social media platform.  Authenticity is priceless and I really do think in our world today it has never been more important to realize the importance of that.

the challenge of acceptance

My whole life, well at least from the start of when I understood diversity, and difference, I have always appreciated it. I have always been one to be passionate about diversity and celebrate differences. We do this thing at OU called diversity training and most people don’t really enjoy it but I absolutely love it. Basically you talk about sex, gender, race, and socioeconomic status. You get the chance to talk about things that no one usually wants to talk about or point out; it’s important to recognize and understand things we at first don’t know much about. Lately however, I have really found out that understanding and facilitating diversity is a lot harder than just appreciating it, and saying I love it. In my committee, Human Diversity, for SGA, we have a lot of diverse people this semester which is great and I am so glad because therefore we will have much more of a well rounded opinion as a committee. However, during our first meeting, one of our members discussed how they are transgender and would’ve really appreciated if we had discussed our preferred pronouns because they were important. They were so right, but the idea hadn’t even crossed my mind. I am excited to be a member on this committee this semester, however, I feel as if I almost don’t have a good opinion or good outlook because I don’t feel very diverse. I am white, and middle class. Constantly during our meeting I was trying to understand and absorb their opinions ad experiences, but it was really hard. And I do not mean that in any bad way whatsoever, but I want to understand so bad but I just feel like I can’t. I feel like before college I complained a lot, I complained about being a girl and how hard it was to face sexism, how much it sucks to not have equal pay, and how derogatory it is to walk around and get cat called. Of course all these things truly do suck, and are extremely problematic issues, but now, I just feel like some of my concerns and complaints are so obsolete compared to those of others. In our meeting I felt like I constantly had to be checking my privilege and being careful of what I say and how I say it. This one guy in our committee is from Peru and he said that in Latin America it is not very common for him to receive bias, or racism, because it is different in their culture. He said it isn’t a big deal, and most people are just respectful of one another. I don’t really know what to think of all of it. Is it better for us here in the states to talk about these problems all the time and try to find ways to explicitly erase them? Or is it better to not focus on them so much, and maybe people would just become more accepting? I cant decide, or even if there is a right or wrong option. I guess our cultures are just so very different, which is honestly really eye opening and interesting to me. So as of right now, I guess I just wrote because I am conflicted, and confused. For the first time in my life I am having a really hard time understanding diversity, and how I can not only support it and be in favor of all of it, but also understand more. That might sound completely shallow and thats not a way I am meaning it in at all. It’s just hard. It is challenging to use pronouns, and it is challenging to understand someones prospective from experiences that I will never live. But in the end, I am excited to challenge myself. I am excited to learn proper usage of pronouns, and learn more about different experiences depending on ethnicity. I am racist, bias, sexist. We all are. I don’t want to be any of those things and honestly I hate writing it but we all need to admit it. We all grow up in a culture and society that implements these things in our everyday life. I don’t think it is our fault, but I do think it is our fault when we notice it and don’t attempt to fix it. I guess in conclusion sometimes actually understanding something is a lot harder than just accepting it.

study abroad fair & more

so today was the annual study abroad fair here at OU. last year I remember walking around the fair so set on a plan to study abroad in spain; I thought I had everything planned out. I usually try to, but most of the time things go in the opposite direction. anyways, it was awesome helping out at the fair this year though because now I work at the Education Abroad office. I absolutely love my new job because not only are the people all so amazing, but the work is so cool because I get to learn so much more about the different opportunities ou offers, and I also get to learn some cool facts about different countries. another great part of working in the office, which might be my favorite, is getting able to meet a ton of international students. it is so interesting to me to learn about them and where they come from, and how they are enjoying ou so far. last week, I was tabling for the study abroad fair, and I met a guy from Korea, and another one from France, and Italy. They all came by and although our conversations were so minimal, it was so cool just getting to talk to them.

I didn’t get to see any international students today at the fair, but I did  get to see a ton of ou students who were so interested and passionate about going abroad. It is honestly so amazing to be on a campus where studying abroad is so important, valued; and encouraged.  last year at this time I thought I knew exactly what I wanted to do and where I wanted to go and now I feel like I have absolutely no idea.  As I have learned about more opportunities and different places it really has made me think more about doing something more out of my comfort zone, so I guess we’ll have to see. But although I have no idea what im going to do, I couldn’t be more excited. I really hope one day I have a job where I can travel a lot and learn more about different areas and cultures because it is one of my favorite things.




august 12, 2017

A lot of things have happened within the past week in America. This past summer, I have found myself having a very difficult time being proud of our nation. Of course we have accomplished a lot, and are still one of the greatest countries in the world. However, I cant help but think that the hate, discrimination, and bigotry in our nation right now has been caused by our current president. This past week, a nazi, white nationalist rally took place in Charlottesville, Virginia. This took place in America, In 2017. Not 1950, not 1980, 2017. Hate has always existed in the world, but the amount that has been present in this time in history almost baffles me. When Trump ran for president, I remember thinking to myself how funny it was at first. How could a man who was convicted of sexual assault, who bullied a disabled person on national TV, who has made countless sexist remarks about women, who has made racist remarks about foreigners, and who had no experience in government at all ever run this country. It was a joke, right? The events this week were really scary to say the least. And I am honestly not sure what direction our country is headed in. Hate will always be around, like I said, but it becomes a problem when people stay silent. One of my favorite quotes that really reminds me of this whole situation is, “If you are neutral in situations of injustice you have chosen the side of the oppressor”.  If we have a president who can’t even stand up for basic values of humanity, how are we going to ever progress as a nation?  I was really happy to see a counter protest against the rally in Charlottesville going on today in Boston. But overall, I guess you could say I’m just really under impressed with our country right now and I really feel like it is important to write about it and hear other peoples opinions, and concerns, even if you don’t agree with what I have to say. The fact of the matter is, is that our President is not leading in the right way. leadership is not all about authority, just like our nation isn’t solely about the economy or the military,  or at least it shouldn’t be. The fact that our own president can’t stand up to hate in our own nation in a powerful voice is scary. What’s even scarier is that he can talk so easily against immigration, and social justice. I don’t know what is in the future for our country but all i can say is right now, It is really easy to be scared because of all the hate, and discrimination; it is incredibly important to have a voice more than ever.

ciao italia, until next time

traveling has always been something I have deeply loved. ever since I was a little girl, my parents have tried to take us to as many places as possible; to experience the culture, the food, and the art. but most of all, to create memories. if I ever had to chose between a memory or a physical thing, it would always be the memory, because I have made so many incredible ones traveling. I truly believe travel, especially international, is vital to being a full you. There are some people who never have the urge, or passion to travel outside of their comfort zone, and that is perfectly fine. but what I have learned from my experience, is that the places that we travel to that are different from what we are used to, change us the most. This was my first time traveling abroad by myself, but I have been to Europe twice before with my family. however, traveling alone was a lot different. While I was abroad, I learned a lot about myself. I think the most shocking thing I learned about myself was that I really do love independence. I don’t need to be with someone all the time, and I don’t need to always have someone to talk to, or sit by. I wouldn’t consider myself an introvert all the time, or an extrovert all the time, but I think I’m kind of in the middle. I feel like a lot of people feel like they can never be seen alone, or be alone, but to be honest, I really enjoy the independence of being able to do things on my own, and that is something I have really noticed about myself on this trip. and I think I have really grown up and matured in this sense. I cant wait until I can study abroad again and be able to travel and explore things on my own and meet more amazing people.

For our prompt for our last blog, we were suppose to pick a word that resembled a way we grew on this trip. for me, I think that word was, love to learn. Although I have grown in my understanding for different cultures and travel, as well as passion, those are things I believe I already had a bit of because I have traveled. I love understanding different cultures. A lot of people quickly assume and say stuff such as, “that’s so weird, we don’t do that”. But that’s one thing I’ve tried really hard not to do while traveling. Just because something is different in a different culture from the way we do it, doesn’t mean it’s weird, its simply different, and I think we should absorb that. as for passion, I think I have developed an even deeper passion for traveling, art, and writing.  I have always loved writing, and continue to blog and journal normally outside of this trip, but this trip really inspired me to write even more. traveling to new places always does. but more than these things, on this trip I grew in my love for learning. The opportunity to be able to study in another country was hands down ineffable to even describe. there was something special about being able to go to a museum in Florence, or Rome, and have all your friends around you, along with an absolutely spectacular professor. he brought the art to life; and I don’t say that with any exaggeration. He made the art interesting, and related it to topics that were fascinating. He related it to the culture and how it effected us today; it was amazing. I have always loved school, and learning, but this trip just really broadened that. my love for learning, abroad, has especially skyrocketed, and I cannot wait to study abroad again.

as a global engagement fellow, I have to study abroad for at least a semester somewhere next but I would love to do a year. I know it may be crazy, but when are we going to get this chance again? when are you going to be able to spend a year of your life, studying what you love, in a foreign country where you can explore, learn and grow? it’s so special, and I really think it is important to take advantage of these opportunities. I cannot wait to come back to Europe, and I hope to travel to even more unique areas such as Asia, and Africa. I feel incredibly fortunate and blessed to have been selected to go on this trip, and I know I will forever look back on it as an experience of a lifetime.  so with that, I hope you enjoyed some of my blogs. Thanks for reading!




Goodbye Arezzo and hello Siena

Sunday night was our last night in Arezzo. To be honest, I am really sad to leave Arezzo. I’m not ready. I have fallen in love with Arezzo more than I ever expected. I have fallen in love with the different neighborhoods that were passionate at the Joust, I have fallen in love with the restaurant Mario’s, and the absolutely amazing view from the park at the top of the hill. I get it now. I really do. I get why all these OU students love coming to Arezzo. It feels like a home away from home. Except it feels like a home away from home where you are constantly learning, not only academic material, but learning more about yourself, and growth. I really hope one of these days I can come back to Arezzo, to experience the people, the food, and the small town friendliness. But until then, I am saying “ciao” to Arezzo, and hello to Siena. Siena was absolutely stunning. My favorite part about Sienna was when Kirk sat us all down and talked about St. Catherine. It was inspiring. He talked about how St. Catherine didn’t do things like everyone else. She wasn’t the typical girl back during those times. She did what she wanted, and didn’t always listen to others. He said he wouldn’t necessarily call her a feminist, but still, I was inspired and intrigued. After that, we actually got to go into the church where her thumb, and head are! WOW.  I saw a Saints head, and finger. It was so cool, but also a little creepy. The rest of her body is back in Rome. Apparently a couple of people went to go retrieve it to take it back to Siena, however, they only got the head. But as they were leaving the gates of Rome, they opened the bag that apparently her head was in, and it appeared as flowers. This is one of the miracles that St. Catherine is credited for.

After this, we were given some free time and then we toured a bigger church in the center of town. This may have been one of the most beautiful cathedrals I have ever seen in my life. After this, it was lunch time. Siena is known for a pasta called Peci, but you pronounce it like “peachy”.  It is a thick spaghetti, and they put a fresh wild boar sauce on it. It was FANTASTIC. Before going to Italy, I was honestly not really a big fan of meat sauce; however, theres is different, and so much better than the states. After lunch, we had some free time, then it was time to head out to Rome. Ciao Siena, and hello Rome.


Rome (Day 2)

Let me just start by saying, 2 days in Rome is not enough. In fact, even 10 days in Rome isn’t even enough. It is that spectacular . Our second day in Rome was so busy as well. In the morning, we headed to another beautiful church. This church was a Titular church. There are 7 of them throughout Rome. They are very important churches because they are usually the funnel for religious individuals who are on their way to becoming the Pope. They were usually wealthy women’s homes, and women would open up their homes for worship. In this church, we saw the chains that St. Peter was in, and that was insane. It was crazy because it is from so long ago, and here we were in 2017 taking a look at something that touched someone so sacred and important.

After this, we headed toward the Coliseum and the Forum. When we turned the corner, there it was, the Coliseum. It was beautiful, but I couldn’t get over how it was right off of a main road with a ton of cars. It always throws me off to see super important things in history right next to  something so modern; like a highway. We crossed the bridge to go to the Coliseum, and then I started to see the Forum, they are right next to each other. First we went to the Forum. It was mind boggling to me that they constructed something so complex so long ago. Kirk talked about how they had everything in place, a political system, established law, and nice homes. As we walked through, it was absolutely surreal to imagine that this used to be the epicenter of Europe a long time ago. This was the place that new ideas were coming, it was the pinnacle for catholic faith, and art; and I was standing in the middle of it. Crazy, right?  Kirk also talked about when the Empire fell. It is really scary to think that in history all great empires have fallen. In my opinion, the United States is very unstable right now as a nation, and I truly believe we are teetering. We are not number 1 in anything anymore, and it’s scary. After touring the Forum, and after we got poured on, we moved over to tour the Coliseum. I think the thing that I was in awe mostly about the Coliseum was the architecture. it was surreal, and it absolutely amazes me how they constructed something like this so long ago. Later that night, we went to the Trevi fountain and I threw 2 euro in, over my right shoulder. Your right shoulder is hoping that you will be back in Rome, and left is for love. And although I hope one day I find love, more than that I want to travel, and what can I say, hopefully my 2 euro will work.


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