This semester I continued with my international group from last semester– OU Cousins. And boy am I glad that I did! I was lucky enough last semester to match with Emeline who spent the entire year here, rather than the usual one semester. I am currently still coming to grips emotionally with the fact that we just said our goodbyes only two days ago at graduation. Soon, an entire ocean and two busy college careers will be in our way.
Although, I am still so hype about our friendship and this past year that we have spent together thanks to OU Cousins. Since January, we attended the group’s Bingo night, OKC day trip, and end-of-the-year BBQ and took a trip to the Norman Medieval Fair and my hometown of Tulsa.
This semester, unlike the previous one, I really felt the group aspect of OU Cousins. I “adopted” two other girls (one was Emeline’s roommate and the other we met through the OKC trip) and got to know them through several other hang-outs throughout the semester. I wish I could have talked to them more and done more to help them out, but they expressed to me that sometimes just seeing a familiar face around campus and knowing that you can message them for any question is more than enough to an international student. I think that is what OU Cousins intends– by providing a connection and casual hang-outs, seemingly simple things, the group gives international students (and OU students) the base foundation for a friendship that takes further effort to cultivate.
Also, I learned more about my own culture through the group. Although I am a native Oklahoman, I have never lined dance and I cannot remember the last time I wore a cowboy hat. The end-of-the-year BBQ changed both of those things. The food, location, music, and crowd at the event was fantastic. It was heartwarming to see faculty there as well (some with their spouses and children 🙂 ) This really was a community event. Familiar faces were everywhere, and those that belonged to strangers still beamed to welcome me.
Despite being in such a warm, fuzzy atmosphere I could not help but feel a bit sad remembering that the man who created the group, our fearless leader David Boren, would no longer be OU’s President after this year. I so appreciate what D-Bo has done for the group, the College of International Studies, and the University in general. I think I speak for the entire student body when I say that all of us will miss him dearly. Goodbyes are surely difficult, in the case of your OU Cousin and the original OU Cousin; although, saying farewell to something so sweet never is.