Mr./Ms. International

Mr. and Ms. International was such an eye opening event.  Much like Eve of Nations, it was an opportunity for students to represent not only their country but also themselves. Each participant displayed their country’s traditional attire and some even performed traditional dances or songs.  Most of them took the opportunity to perform their own specific talent even if it did not completely relate to their home country.

The talent show portion was amazing! It showed such diversity between countries but also showed how we are all alike.  We all have our hobbies, be it dancing, singing, or even weight lifting and seeing people representing themselves from all around the world, doing the same hobbies we have really crossed borders.

My favorite performer was from Angola.  It seemed like half the crowd was there for him.  For his talent he played a traditional drum.  The music started playing and the crowd went wild.  His Angolan friends all stood up and started dancing, clapping, chanting.  I sat in the audience and was in awe of the support! It made me want to be their friend.  Their energy was contagious and it made the performance more dynamic.

I would highly recommend attending Mr./Ms. International next year.  I would equate it to being a “mini” Eve of Nations: A chance to experience multiple cultures all on one stage.

Delectable Diversity

There’s just something exciting about foreign food.  The smells are completely new but comforting.  The look might be intimidating yet still inviting.  The curiosity of culture is culminated in trying new foods.

Delectable Diversity was set up at the OU Library and they provided free  food from all around the world.  I thought this was an amazing idea! It allowed students to experience culture in a creative way without money holding them back.  It transcended borders all within the walls of the library.

As American’s we are often exposed to a plethora of international cuisine options, but what we don’t realize is that most of those international options are merely “Americanized.”  Real Chinese food is extremely different than what we think it is here.  Real Italian food isn’t just pasta and pizza, those are merely the first courses.  With events like Delectable Diversity, students are able to get a small taste of what real international cuisine is like.

A fun way to explore new cultures is through food.  Food makes people happy.  It connects them to home, to people, and to memories.  Sharing a meal with someone as a long standing tradition and form of entertainment.  One of the best ways to get to know someone is through sharing a meal together.  I think a great way to connect more international and American students is through food.  The next time you are with a friend from a different country, offer to cook together, each creating their favorite snack or meal.  The stories and the food you’ll share will definitely remembered.

Eve Of Nations

Eve of Nations. What a truly magical evening.  Seeing so many different students performing for their culture and their country all in one evening one one stage is an experience most people never get to have.

The best part of the evening was seeing the pride each student had for their country.  Every person gave their all in the performances and their love for their country made the performances that much more real and authentic.

I didn’t attend Eve of Nations just to watch the show, I also participated.  At the beginning of the event, there was a fashion show.  Since I am the American Liaison for IAC, IAC asked me to walk for the United States.  I was extremely nervous and kind of embarrassed because I had no idea how “American” dress could even be on the same stage as some of the more elaborate and beautiful traditional wear of the other countries. I asked my friend to join me and we decided to exaggerate one of America’s stereotypes, country western.  We dressed up in boots, shorts, and plaid shirts and walked on to “Sweet Home Alabama.”  We were ;laughing the whole time and it made our little part so fun, even if we had nothing against the other participants in the show.

I am so glad IAC puts this event on each year.  It is so important and a beautiful portrayal of unity, oftentimes lacking in our everyday life.  Celebrating the global community is something that needs to be done more often and I truly hope Eve of Nations can continue to grow and reach more people.

IAC, Year in Review: Being the American Liaison

As this year comes to an end, it is a great time to look back on what you’ve done.  It’s a time to look back at what you’ve succeeded, what things you wish you could have done and what things you still wish to accomplish.

Today, I want to look back at my time on exec for the International Advisory Committee as the American Liaison.  I have always had a passion for the international community on campus.  Here at OU we are so incredibly fortunate to have such a large international student presence.  Unfortunately, so few international students get a chance to meet and interact with the American students.  I remember going to an event and meeting a girl from Germany.  She was only at OU for the fall semester and the semester was winding down.  I asked her how she liked her time here at OU.  She said she loved it and made many friends within the international community but she was a little disappointed that she hadn’t met any American students.  She had been on campus for an entire semester and I was the first American student she had met.  That made me so sad! At that moment, I knew I had to do something to unite the too communities on campus. That is what led me to the position I now hold as American Liaison.

Pairing this position with my position as Multicultural Chair in my sorority was effective and made me better at each position respectively.  I was able to pass on IAC events and other international student organization events to my sorority and other friends of mine on campus.  I was able to help IAC find new ways to market to the American students to increase their event attendance and increase more interaction.

Looking back, I am so thankful for the IAC exec team.  They were so supportive and encouraging but most importantly, they blew my mind! They worked so hard and gave their all to the organization and it was inspiring.  I plan to continue this position next year and do even more than I did this year.  I feel like it took me a while to get my bearings in the new position.  This year gave me a chance to learn and follow and next year I plan to do even more and follow in the past execs footsteps.  I admire each and every one of them and I will greatly miss them next year.


Bollywood and the Portrayal of Women

With the growing popularization of Bollywood films around the world and its successful globalization outside of South Asia, the culture and society represented in the films is now reaching those outside of that particular culture. This means that those living abroad are now viewing Bollywood films and are most likely equating them with Indian culture. Specifically looking at how women are portrayed in Bollywood films is important. They way they are portrayed in film can show how women are viewed in the culture or how woman are treated in the culture. A sexualized woman can symbolize the culture’s sexualization of women. A westernized woman character can portray an actual trend towards westernization of women in the culture. A traditional Indian woman character can express ideals of the cultural traditions or be an actual representation of the majority of women in the area. To find and analyze this connection, I chose to watch Bollywood films and analyze women’s actual experiences living in India to determine the connection between media portrayal and reality.

To analyze this connection, I watched one movie in completion and sections of several others to make sure my analysis was diverse. The movie I chose in full was Khabi Khush Khabi Gham (KKKG), one of the most well known and loved Bollywood films. This film came out in 2001 and won countless awards. When doing my research this film was recommended to me multiple times for being a perfect reflection of a typical Bollywood film. The 3.5hour movie tells the story of the Raichand family. The traditional and extremely wealthy family consists of the business mogul father, the loving and happy mother, and two sons, the older one, Rahul, being adopted, and the younger son, Rohan who ends up being a major character in the second half of the film. The film is more or less split into two parts; the first half consists of the united family. Rohan, the adopted son was the prized possession of the family and was destined to inherit his fathers business and fortune. All this falls apart when Rohan falls in love with a girl from the village in a completely different social class. His mother, Nandini, believes that times are different and Rohan should be able to marry whomever he loves. Unfortunately, his father, Yash, completely disagrees and forbade the marriage. Rohan married the girl, Anjali, anyway, ripping the family apart. Rahul is away at boarding school but his return marks the second half of the film. The second half is present day when Rohan returns home to find that his brother has been disowned and is now living in London. He makes it his mission to unite the family once again. Along the way, Rahul falls in love with Anjali’s younger sister Pooja who is now a westernized college girl. Through all of Rahul’s effort, it is Nandini that finally unites the family by standing up for herself and calling out her husband for his misjudgment and claiming that he is the one to blame for the ruin of their family. Yash finally agrees to see Rahul and all is forgiven.

The movie focuses on the men in the family and what they go through and whom they love. The supporting characters are the women involved. Right from the beginning this designation is noticed and speaks a lot about how women are represented in the film and Bollywood as a whole. In Indian society, women are the supporting role. They are not the main characters in their own life. An example of this is seen in the initial creation of women’s rights and women’s rights movements in India in the 19th century. The men realized the need to improve women’s rights so they took it upon themselves to make the changes needed to improve their standing in society. Women didn’t have a say in these changes and were left out of their own fight.

Focusing in on these specific women characters, one finds that each represents a different kind of woman and a different aspect of Indian culture and attitudes towards woman. First, there is the mother of the two sons, Nandini. Her sons and her family are her life. She lives and breathes by traditional family values. She is shown at the beginning of the film saying, “ [The mother] keeps repeating [I love you] whether her son listens to it or not…. No one can fathom the amount of love that a mother has for her son, not even the mother. Because there is no measure for a mother’s love. It’s an emotion that can only be felt, a mother’s emotion.” These first lines symbolize Nandini’s character so clearly. Throughout the film, her son’s come first. She wants her son to be happy and marry whomever he wants and is shocked by her husband’s rigid persistence on an arranged marriage. Out of the entire family, she is the one who carries the most hurt from the event as well. She had no say in the matter and was forced to say goodbye to the love of her life. In the final scene, Nandini finally stands up for herself and speaks harshly to her husband, Yash. She states,“ Do you know what mother always said, that a husband is God. No matter what he says no matter what he does, he is right….” This perfectly illustrates the ideal Indian wife. She is to honor every word and decision of her husband without question. The husband is the god. In Padma Anagol’s “Rebellious Wives and Dysfunctional Marriages,” she talks of this marriage dynamic stating that, “Bengali men had effectively forced the creation of a ‘state within a state’ by insisting that the household space remain a zone of autonomy and self-rule for the Hindu male.” Angol’s observation is based off of Bengali men’s reaction to women’s reformist movements. Their desire to have final say in the home is threatened when women’s reform movements start progressing. This is illustrated when Yash’s power in the family crumbles as soon as Nandini stands up for herself and her son and confronts her husband. She leaves saying, “You separated a mother from her child. It was wrong….Then how does a husband become God? God can’t do any wrong. My husband is just a husband…. Not God.” By standing up for herself and her family, she demolished the family structure and was able to make change.

Pooja, Anjali’s younger sister, represent a completely different kind of woman and brings forth many more questions about South Asian culture and expectations of women. In the present day portion of the film, Pooja is attending a University in London. When we see her for the first time she is completely unrecognizable compared to the 10-year-old girl running around in the market at the beginning of the film. She is shown waking up singing is, “It’s Raining Men” and begins to dance scandalously as she dresses for the day. Everything around her is western. Western magazine are sprawled on the table, her make up is all name brand designers, her clothes mimic that of early 2000 Britney Spears complete with sequins and showing complete midriff. She sings entirely in English and it’s almost forgotten that this is a Bollywood film. Her personality and character coincide with this vibrant, almost unflattering portrayal of western pop culture. She is utterly obsessed with herself and her looks. She is rude to her family and friends and seems to only have the attention span for boys. These boys are shown gawking at her like she is a trophy they need in their trophy case and nothing more. This characterization represents the sexualization of women in film industry, which inevitably translates to the sexualization of women in every day life. Unfortunately, that sexualization isn’t as glamorous once it is taken to the streets.

There is a great disparity between Bollywood and real life; this is a known fact upon viewing the “out of this world” films. According to Shakuntala Rao’s research in ”The Globalization Of Bollywood: An Ethnography Of Non-Elite Audiences In India,” this disparity is commonly blamed on Bollywood’s creation of “dreamworlds” or “kalpanalok.” Rao states, “the dreamworld is not about the form of the films (drama-musical) but a recognizable disconnection between the content of the films from the lives of the audiences.” The students that Rao interviews for the piece talk of this dreamworld aspect and how there is zero connection between the characters in the films and the people within their own life. The student Krishan says, “They [characters in films] are not connected to our real lives.” The issue with this falsification of reality is that it has detrimental effects on people in real life. In a short documentary titled, “No Country For Women,” the over sexualized, barely clothed, promiscuous women dance through the screen; clip after clip, movie after movie scenes flash by making it blatantly obvious just how prominent this sexualization is. Then the images switch to interviews and news clips. Young boys explain that they “eve tease” or cat call women if they are wearing tight clothing or short skirts. Women in burqas say that they feel safer wearing them in the street because of constant harassment from men when they don’t. News stories talk of men brutally beating women attending pubs because they are acting immoral.  All this is compared to the fact that watching sexy women dress in their underwear in a Bollywood film is okay and desirable. Women are praised on the screen and then beat on the streets. The hypocrisy is outstanding.


Khabi Khushi Khabi Gham. Dir. Karan Johar. Prod. Yash Johar. Perf. Amitabh Bachchan, Jaya Bachchan, Shah Rukh Khan. Dharma Productions and Yash Raj Films, 2001. Netflix.

Forbes, Geraldine H. “From Purdah to Politics: The Social Feminism of the All-India Women’s Organization.” Separate Worlds: Studies of Purdah in South Asia. Ed. Hanna Papanek and Gail Minault. Delhi: Chanakya Publications, 1982. 221-22. Print.

Anagol, Padma. “Rebellious Wives and Dysfunctional Marriages.” Women and Social Reform in Modern India: A Reader. Ed. Sumit Sarkar and Tanika Sarkar. Bloomington: Indiana UP, 2008. 283. Print.

Rao, Shakuntala. “The Globalization Of Bollywood: An Ethnography Of Non-Elite Audiences In India.” The Communication Review (2007): 64. Routledge Taylor & Francis Group, 2007. Web. 2016.

“No Country For Women.” YouTube. Transhuman Collective, 17 July 2012. Web. 11 Nov. 2016.

Indian Epics: Sealing His Fate

Author’s Notes: In the final story of the Ramayana, Rama finally frees his kidnapped wife Sita, but refuses to accept her out of fear that she was impure.  I wanted to give a voice to Rama because when I read the story I felt angry towards him.  How could he deny this woman just because she was captured.  It was not her choice.  There must be a reason behind his coldness.  So I decided to give him a reason and change up the story a bit.  I realized it would turn into a longer story so I decided to only do half and give insight to Rama’s “deal with the devil” (or more like “deal with the fire god”) today and then return to the ending of the episode on another day.

Sealing His Fate

He saw her standing there in her yellow silk sari and his eyes flooded with tears.  He quickly blinked, trying to rid himself of the weakness.  He had to stay strong.  This was always part of the plan.  It was his curse and there was no ridding himself of the devil on his back until the episode was complete.  He must deny her; it was time.

Sati noticed Rama and she began running toward him.  How could he follow through?  Her hair flew behind her in the wind, her sari pressed flat against her beautiful body as she ran to him.  His wife, his beautiful wife…she retained her beauty through her captive stay. She flung herself in his arms and he stood still, pressing his hands to his thighs to make sure his body would not contradict his resolution.  He stood firm.  Sati cried and held on sinking to his feet beyond elated to see her hero; her husband. Rama looked ahead stoned face, blinking back weakness and recalling his decision years ago.

Rama was six years old playing in the Gardens with Lakshmana.  They were running around and hiding behind or within anything they could find.  It was an exceptionally hot day and Rama remembers running over to the pond hoping to cup some fresh water in his hands before Lakshmana found him.  As he bent over to dip his fingers in the cool blue water, he noticed a figure standing behind him in the reflection of the pond.  Rama, startled, spun around and nearly fell into the fresh water behind him, but then shortly relaxed afterward as he saw it was just a kind older woman.

“Hello, child.  May I share the pond with you?  It is very hot and I cannot imagine walking farther,” the woman walks closer.  Rama was not scared, but merely curious, so he stumbled to the side and took water for himself beside her.  As they drank the woman turned and said, “I see great things in your future child.  Your eyes show power and strength, great strength.  You will do miraculous things one day, things the gods themselves cannot do.”

Rama’s eyes grew big.  What did she mean?  How does she see my future?  He slowly sputtered out, “What will I do?”

The woman smiled, “You are a special child; a chosen one. You have been chosen to act on behalf of the gods and rid the world of evil.  Soon you will receive your mission but just know, you have great things ahead of you.  But there will be death and fire, you will lose…”

“Lose?  Why would I be called by the gods only to lose?”  Rama now felt this woman was crazy, and began to turn and leave when she quietly said, “Look within yourself, you are a smart child.  Why would the god’s want you to survive if you help them do something they cannot do themselves?  You would then be a threat to them and they could not let you live.”  Rama stopped.  In his heart, he knew she was telling the truth.  He felt a pull deep within to believe her and listen to her. He turned, “And how shall I win?  Am I destined for greatness only to lose my life?”

The woman smiled, “Dear child, I said you would lose, but that does not have to mean losing your life.  There is another option.”

Rama leaned in, “Yes! What is the other option?”

“You must lose your first love in order to win the gods’ favor and save your life.  The fire god, Agni, survives by people’s sacrifice.  If your first love does not give herself to Agni, Agni will come for you.   If you try to get in the way, not only will your first love die, but what you accomplished will fall apart and you must fight the evil for the rest of your life, never fulfilling your destiny.”

Rama laughed, “Well of course I will give Agni my first love! I will do as you say if you promise I will defeat evil and save my life.” Rama thought to himself, foolish woman, I do not know any girls but my sister, how will I ever find time for love with such a calling from the gods?

“Of course dear boy.  From now on, your decision is binding and you will be victorious.”  Then the woman’s sweet smile turned and twisted.  Rama’s peace turned to fear as the woman burst into flames and disappeared.  Agni.  Rama just made a deal with the god of fire herself.

Rama quickly wiped the tear from the corner of his eye and hardened his face, sealing his lips in a line.  How could he give her up?  He cursed Agni for tricking him at such a young and innocent age, but then he stopped and cursed himself for ever letting himself be fooled, no matter how young he was.

Sati stopped and sunk to his feet.  “Oh Rama, I missed you so.  I love you and I will praise you forever for rescuing me.  Thank you, love.  We can now start our lives together again.  Oh Rama thank you!”

Rama stepped back, removing himself from her grasp.  “Sita.  I… I cannot be with you.  I’m sorry.  Please go from here.  Your trials are not over.  I realize now that you are my first and only true love.  But I’ve made a mistake.  You must leave.”  Rama tried to warn her.  He wanted to save her from her death, not knowing how Agni would take her.  But then Sita did something no one was expecting.

“You think I am impure? Rama I have wasted away my time here, saving myself for you.  I have done nothing to dishonor you.  I have only prayed for your return and longed for your love.  What must I do to prove my devotion?”

Rama was shocked.  He was not trying to second-guess her purity.  He knew she loved him and was devoted to him.  That’s how he knew she was his true love and why he must leave her.  Him admitting that she was the one meant Agni would sure come and take her away!

Then Sita began to call to the gods, “Oh gods! Please have mercy on me! Let me be with the one I love.  Prove me to be pure and righteous.  Agni, oh god of fire.  Purify me before my love so that he may accept me.”

“Noooo!” Rama yelled.  Not Agni.  Sita called for her death without even knowing!  “Sita, please no! Not…” but before Rama could finish, flames grew high between them; they soared to the heavens.  Sita slowly walked forward.  Rama saw Agni’s face in the flames, smiling with mouth wide open, hungry for Sita.  In that moment, Rama wished he were never victorious.  Dying himself would have been better than watching his love die in front of him.

Slowly Sita walked forward.  One foot ahead of the other.  She closed her eyes and spread her arms wide, giving herself to the fire. “Purify me, Agni, for you are the most high.  You will prove my honesty and show the world I am true.”

Agni stopped and listened to the girl.  She was worshipping her, praising her for her might.  Agni was shocked.  Of all the gods, Sita called upon her to prove her worth.  Agni was honored.  How could she kill one of her beloved and faithful followers.  Agni was taken by Sita’s innocent charm and child-like devotion and chose to let her live.

Sita walked.  One foot in the flame; the other foot in the flame.  Her body became enveloped.  She kept walking.  Flames consumed her but she did not burn.  She kept walking.  Rama stood, eyes wide open, in awe of the woman he loved.  She was strong, fearless, and walking through flames untouched.

Sita crossed the fire and stood unharmed in front of Rama.  The fire behind her diminished, leaving behind clear smoke.  Rama saw Agni’s face, approving of the lovers.  Agni nodded to Rama and mouthed, “You are free.”

Rama cried out and clasped on to Sita. They wept in each other’s arms.  “Oh Sita, my love.  I will cherish you always. Thank you my love, for you are honorable and true.  You are my life now.  The gods approve of our union and I will honor it for the rest of my life.  We are free.”

Indian Epics: Rama and Jealous Sita

Author’s Note: This year I took an amazing course all about the ancient epics of India.  Through this course I learned the many heroes and demons that surround Indian culture.  I want to share some of my favorite stories with you but in a different way. I have rewritten some of these stories with a different ending, a different characters perspective, or even rewritten the story in the present day.  This story is of the hero  Rama and his encounter with the demon Soorpanaka in chapter 4 of Narayan’s Ramayana.  This story is told from Rama and Soorpanaka’s perspective with Rama’s wife, Sita being a minor character.  Her thoughts are not expressed, she is merely there to cause Soorpanaka’s jealousy.  I decided to tell the story through Sita’s eyes.  How was she feeling while Rama was “flirting with demons”?  Was she jealous or was she always confident in he relationship with Rama?  These questions are what I expanded upon to retell the encounter.

Jealous Sita

“Where is he?” Sita thought as she sat in their new home.  It was a beautifully crafted cottage made just for Rama and herself.  It was Lakshmana’s wedding gift to his brother and her; its beauty blew the newlyweds away.  While Sita was getting ready for bed, Rama stepped out to get some fresh air and explore the property, but he hadn’t returned yet and it had nearly been half an hour.  Knowing she had joined the brothers on a dangerous journey, her mind began to wonder and she worried of his safety so she slipped into her jeweled robe and sandals and cautiously, but hurriedly, ran to the back door.  But then she stopped sharply at the window.

In the yellow haze of the setting sun, she saw Rama, but he was not alone.  Standing in front of him was the most beautiful woman Sita had ever laid eyes on.  Her hair glittered like silk under the sun’s parting rays.  Her eyes shown bright, blinding Sita with their splendor.   Her cheeks were flushed red with lust.  Every curve on her body screamed to be caressed.  This woman was otherworldly as if a spell of desire was placed on every human, man or woman, who placed eyes on her.  But being a true beauty herself, Sita was able to shake off the compulsion.  She narrowed in on her husband Rama.

Rama stood there comfortable, not resisting this woman’s company, but to be fair, he wasn’t welcoming it either.  The woman inched forward, claiming Sita’s husband with her body language and the craving in her eyes was enough to cripple Sita with jealousy.  Sita flung open the door loud enough to grab the attention of the unwelcomed visitor but stood there confidently as to not seem threatened by the woman.  “Rama darling, who is this guest of ours?”

Sita watched as the woman’s mouth gaped open.  The beautiful visitor momentarily appeared threatened.  Sita, content with the woman’s noticeable vulnerability, walked up to her husband and placed a protective hand on his arm.  The woman began to stutter, trying to regain her composure.  Sita looked at her contemptibly and stood strong next to her husband.

The woman turned to Rama and began sputtering nonsense.  Sita stood there amused at the insults hurled her way.  Apparently she was a sorceress who was tricking her own husband with a mirage of beauty.  It was truly laughable.  Rama caught on to the humor of the situation and sarcastically retorted to the woman, “Oh my! She is a sorceress?  How could I have been so blind?  You must be telling the truth because you yourself would know what it means to be truthful and show our true selves.  You, of course, are naturally this beautiful; no use of magic or power is used to portray your beauty.  But my wife, she must be a demon in disguise.  Am I right?”  Rama smirked at the visitor.  He finally put together who the stranger was and knew how to spite her.

The woman became so angry that her beauty started to melt away.  Her silk hair fell out, leaving behind only ashy scalp.  The glow in her eyes burned red with fire.  Her cheeks lost their blush and became sunken and hollow.  The demon Soorpanaka finally revealed her true self.  She screamed in anger at Sita.  “Go away! Leave me with my beloved! Get out you fool!”

Sita’s confidence was replaced with fear and she cowered in her husband’s arms, turning her face away from the heat of the demon into the protective chest of Rama.  This angered Soorpanaka even further and pure fire radiated from her body.   With dignity and quiet confidence, Rama held Sita close and turned his back to Soorpanaka.  He calmly walked back to the cottage getting his wife to safety.  At the door her turned and softly, yet powerfully, spoke to Soorpanaka.  “Leave us or my brother will destroy you.  We are done with you.  Save yourself before it is too late and be gone.”  He then shut the door and turned back to Sita, embracing her with his protection and enduring love.

Sita apologized for her initial doubt of her husband and cried in his arms as the adrenaline drained from her body.  The realization of what had just occurred crushed her body and she rested her whole soul in Rama’s arms.  He held her close and kissed the top of her head.  He wiped the tears from her eyes with his thumb and led her to the bedroom.  “You are more beautiful than the strongest mirage.  I will protect you forever, my love.”  And with a smile on her face and sweetness in her heart, Sita fell asleep in Rama’s arms.

Festival of Lights Take 2

This year, I was blessed again to be nominated multicultural chair for my sorority.  So to carry on the tradition I stated last year, I wanted to have the Festival of Lights Multicultural event again.  It was such a success last year and I made so many friends from the event.  It was thrown together last minute but somehow we had around 40 people attend and fostered great new friendships.

This year I decided to partner the even with a different fraternity.  I didn’t think that changing the fraternity would change the dynamic of the event too much as I had more friends in the second fraternity so I figured it would be easier to get more people.  Unfortunately, I was wrong.  It is sad to see, but there was a small but distinct difference between the two events.  The fraternity last year was actually excited to participate in the event and meet international students.  The guy I worked with to put on the event had the same intentions as me: get the greek community more involved with the international community.  Because we were both passionate about that mission, he had other guys there that were passionate about it too and so everyone at the event wanted to be there and made it enjoyable and fun.

This year, even though I knew the person who was helping me for the event, there was no passion.  He thought it sounded like a good idea but was more concerned with what girls from my sorority showed up than the international students who showed up.  The guys who attended didn’t even know it was a multicultural event so the vibe of the night was awkward and completely different than last years event.

All in all, I was still able to make it worth while and fun for the few international students who showed up, but it opened my eyes to how important it is to share a passion for the international community.

International Prom

It has been an amazing semester working as the American Liaison for the International Advisory Committee. I have made so many new friends from all around the world and I am so very thankful for the opportunity IAC has given me.
One of my favorite memories this year from working with IAC, was the International Prom. I had never attended International Prom before and after going this year, I was so upset I had missed the two previous years. This was hands down one of the best events I had ever been to at the University of Oklahoma.
The music was amazing. It represented up beat dancing music from all around the world. By far the best part of the evening was the dancing. I always love watching people dance, but when there is a flare of their own cultural dancing style mixed in, it adds a completely new dynamic, something my high school proms never had.
IAC also provided some entertainment with singers and dancers. I had no idea this was coming even though I helped plan the event! The artists were outstanding!
I honestly have no complaints about this event. There were over 300 people there and everyone was enjoying themselves. I am so thankful to have been a part of IAC this semester so that I had the chance to know about and attend the International Prom.

The Colosseum

The ethnocentrism in Rome is prevalent in almost every aspect of the city. This concept struck me the most while exploring the history of Rome through different art pieces and architecture. The power represented in the Colosseum is what tied it all together. It is easy for this ancient structure to become a cliché: a crumbling view of a past world, but seeing it as a symbol of individualism and identity changes the image and the cliché.

In lecture we spoke of Nero’s fall and the chaos that followed suit. Vespasian, the general who inevitably take’s Nero’s place, has the Colosseum built as a gift to the city: a symbol of identity in a “new” Rome. I see this gift as a gift of strength and power being restored to the citizens after years of tyranny and civil war. The Colosseum represents a new foundation for the citizens and it does this in two main ways: First, through its physical presence and second, through the organization within its walls.

This new foundation was a structure of grandeur, each physical aspect bringing something new to the viewer’s eyes. Today it is possible to see the transformation of columns as the change in order from the base, to the top level. Doric columns surround the Vomitorium and hold the foundation. These have simple capitals but give the foundation strength and a uniform impression of stability. As we move up, the columns become more intricate, moving from Doric, to Ionic and finally or Corinthian. This progression of embellishments draws the eyes upward, allowing the viewer to move from a simple view of the building to something more complex. As we saw in lecture, the arches on the second and third level were once filled with statues, showing again, the progression of complexity from the bottom up. This forces the viewer to explore the entirety of the building. If one section of the building were the same as every other section, there would be no internal instinct to explore and appreciate the other areas of the building, resulting in the immense power of such a large structure falling short. The physical presence of the Colosseum gave pride and unity to a crumbling citizenry by representing such strength and complexity.

Why was this pride and unity so important to the citizens? According to lecture and to Hooper, unity was something the country of Italy lacked, but what cities and neighborhoods within the country thrived on. Hooper spoke in depth on the differences between individual cities and the complete polarity of lifestyles, specifically between towns in the north and towns in the south. This became clear when we spoke in lecture about the ethnocentricity of Italians. People identify more within their family, their neighborhood, and their town than they identify with the country as a whole.   This is represented in the many Italian dialects and the separate customs and identities. Although each city was different from the other, they all shared one common aspect, the importance of citizenship. This importance of citizenship and how it incorporates into the ethnocentrism of Rome is apparent in the organization within the complex walls of the Coliseum.

In lecture we discussed the seating separation. The Podium Space, or first level around the arena, was reserved for the most important citizens of Rome, placing the Emperor at the northernmost point by the cross. The second level was reserved for the senatorial class and the third level was the everyday citizen seating. If visitors came, there were no seats reserved for them within the walls. The only “stranieros”, or foreigners, within the walls were those on the stage fighting or killed for entertainment. This organization shows this deep-rooted identity within the pure notion of citizenship. Each person in the crowd wore purple, red, or white, representing their status within the citizenry, further connecting themselves within smaller spheres of identity. In a country where one’s identity was one’s city, the Colosseum reveals itself as an even greater gift than just strength represented by its physical presence.

I had my preconceived notions of the Coliseum: a cliché perception of an ancient structure where atrocities and Christian killings took place for entertainment, but after experiencing the Colosseum and painting it into the art piece that is Roman history, I am now able to appreciate it in new ways. The Colosseum was a gift. It provided pride in its massive presence and unity of citizenship within its walls. It is a lasting representation of the importance of ethnocentric ideals in the past and today.

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