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About Me: Then and Now

Turns out one of the requirements for our blog was to make a blog post at the beginning of the semester with a little bit about myself. Oops. Now, I would say that I wish I had done this assignment on time. In fact, I’m glad I did it late. There’s a reason for this: I am a much different human being than I was at the beginning of the semester.

So here’s what I would’ve written if I had done this post at the beginning of the semester: My name is Sam Brown, and I’m a broadcast journalism student at the best university in the United States of America. I’m leaning towards doing sports broadcasting, but I am also interested in potentially looking into print journalism as well. I’m not quite sure where I want to study abroad yet, but I’m leaning on studying somewhere in Western Europe. I decided to join the Global Engagement Fellowship because I was interested in learning more about the cultures of the world, and I hope to become a more culturally aware person through the process.

Now, here’s the “about me” post at 11:32 on a Thursday night on dead week: My name is Sam Brown, and I’m a broadcast journalism student at the best university in the United States of America (nothing much changed there). I am fully invested in sports broadcasting, and I will be as involved as I can over the next 3.5 years to build the best possible resume for after I graduate. I had my mind set on Italy and France to study abroad for a while, but at this point in time, I’m also considering England and Rio de Janeiro. All that I’ve learned about the cultures of the world, culture shock, and more, I give credit to the Global Engagement Fellowship. I’m more than lucky to have been a part of the program, and I can’t wait to see what else awaits.

OU Cousins

This semester, I chose to participate in an international organization called OU Cousins. The concept of this is fairly simple: since international students said they didn’t interact with OU students as much as they hoped, the program pairs an international student with a student from OU. Going into the event where we get paired, I was really excited to meet someone and show them more about the campus that I fell in love with. I was hoping to get matched with a French student because I wanted them to be more comfortable around me since they could speak in French as well as English. That way, we could still converse effectively, and I would be able to teach them more about the English language. What I got is exactly what I had hoped for. My OU Cousin, Jordan, is a French student that goes to school at the same school my mom did and that is actually about 1.5 hours away from where my mom was born and raised. In fact, he went through the same program that my mom went through when she came here as a foreign exchange student. I really got to know Jordan’s personality, and he is an extremely genuine and funny person. We bonded over our love of movies (he loves Quentin Tarantino, while I’m more of a Ferris Bueller fan), and we have hung out multiple times over the course of the semester. I’m extremely blessed to have met Jordan through the OU Cousins program, and there is no doubt in my mind that I will be going through the program every single semester that I’m here at OU.

My Digital Story So Far

So far, I think I’m making great progress on my digital story. I think that the topic that I decided has a lot of potential in terms of the photos, videos, and changes in sound that I could use. I think that at first, I was actually really struggling to come up with ideas for my video. My transcript relies a lot on just talking, and there aren’t many pictures of me or of the stuff I’ve done to put in the video that’ll bring a personal edge to the story. However, I started to realize that it didn’t have to just be pictures of me. I could put in pictures from the Internet (as long as they weren’t pictures of random people that I didn’t know) as well as text images on some of the numerical statistics that I bring up (about the population of OU, the population of OU, etc.)

I’m really excited to share my perspective through this story. My topic is pretty unique in that it doesn’t just represent my story. it doesn’t completely focus on my experience with international cultures. I made it more of a whole topic. I focus on OU as a university and I build off from there by talking about the multitude and the variety of perspectives and ideas in the world. I also relate it to the Global Engagement Fellowship by talking about how I can become a better Fellow and a more culturally aware person as a whole. I think that if I edit this video correctly to emphasize my point, I could have a really good final product.

Applying GEF to My Life

Because I’m kind of interested in international broadcast journalism (not just in the United States), I think that what I’ve learned so far and what I will continue to learn will definitely help me gain a more well-rounded view of the world around me. There is a certain etiquette when it comes to things such as reporting and interviewing people, but that applies mostly to the United States itself. Therefore, I could be seen as aggressive, ignorant, or disrespectful if I were to apply that set of informal rules to an interview of someone from a different culture.  I think that if I knew more about other cultures, than I can conduct interviews and things like that in a more appropriate fashion. I think that it will actually have a huge impact in terms of my success as a broadcast journalist mainly because it would show to producers, directors, and obviously my potential managers that I am versatile and can do just about anything, which would significantly increase my opportunities to go out in the field or potentially even do some in-studio anchoring.

I think that by attending as many international events as I can and by remaining engaged in my Global Engagement Fellowship classes, I will maximize my impact when it comes to broadcasting. As much as I know about some of the cultures, there’s still a ton of things that I can still learn about cultures around the world. Also, international events have proven to be very informative, which is exactly what I need at this point in my college career.

Crepes and Study Abroad: What I Learned

On Tuesday, I attended a Study Abroad fair with my fraternity brother, Jonas. At this international event, we visited a few different booths that offered us some information about study abroad programs in South America, Europe, and Asia. I learned a few things through this experience, and I think that what I learned definitely altered the way I will be approaching my study abroad experience.

First of all, I realized that Arezzo might not be the best place in Italy for me to study after all. I learned that because Italy is such a major transition for a student that doesn’t know any Italian like myself, it might not be the best option after all. I won’t be adjusted enough in time to really appreciate the Italian culture. I haven’t completely ruled it out yet, though; I still need to go to Gaylord and check out any potential study abroad programs they might have. That being said, I might be open to options like Great Britain.

Also, I was particularly interested by a program in Rio, which is a destination I really didn’t have as one of my potential destinations going into the study abroad fair. I found out that the program that OU collaborates with in Brazil is fairly close to CNN headquarters in that region (if I remember correctly, it was a lot of information coming at me at once), so I could definitely look into a potential internship there. As I mentioned earlier, studying in Great Britain is also a potential option for me because of how easy it would be to adjust to the culture of the country. I could therefore spend less time focusing on getting adjusted to the environment around me and could therefore spend more time focusing on the academic side of things.

Also, there were free crepes. What’s not to like about that?

Doing Good Abroad

I think that all the discussions we’ve had about studying abroad and doing good while we’re there have really had an impact on the way I perceive international studies. Before taking this course, I kind of saw studying abroad as a fun experience that I can use to learn more about a culture in the world. Now that I’m more than halfway through the course, I realize that there’s so much more to it. I realize that classes that you take abroad are more important than I thought. I also realized that it’s important to completely immerse myself in the culture rather than just viewing it from the perspective of a foreign tourist.

With that being said, I think my goals have drastically changed since the start of the semester. I think that I still want to do well academically; otherwise, the entire trip could potentially go to waste. That goal has not changed. There are a few more goals that I hope to accomplish in my experiences, though. As a French citizen, I do know a lot about the culture. That is why my main goal if I study in France is to learn something new about the culture. I think that will truly enhance my study abroad experience. As for Italy, a country that I do not know well at all, I would say that my main goal is to develop some proficiency with Italian. I think that will facilitate my experience when it comes to talking to Italians in public, making friends in Italy, and just everyday life.

What is altruism?

Earlier this week, we watched a TED Talk from a man named Peter Singer. In this speech, he emphasizes the impact of effective altruism. We have a big debate in class about what can be classified as effective altruism. I think that Peter Singer is accurate in his statements to a certain extent. I think that any kind of altruism can be effective because, at the end of the day, you are helping those who are in need of help. I don’t feel completely obligated to help those in need because I also have to take care of myself. With that being said, I think that everybody should take the time to go volunteering and helping those in need. I wish I had the time to volunteer more as a college student, and I plan on committing more time to volunteerism over the next three and a half years of college. I think that seeing the impact that you can have on someone’s life through something as simple as volunteerism is something that cannot be understated. It’s such a heartwarming feeling that I don’t see how anyone could not enjoy volunteering. As a member of a Greek fraternity on campus, I plan on representing the fraternity through volunteering opportunities. In addition, I am hoping to join a student organization on campus that goes out on volunteering events. Though the time commitment might be a problem, I think that the benefit that I can gain from volunteering easily outweighs the costs.

My Time as a Sooner So Far

Overall, I definitely think that my semester has gone fairly well. I think I’ve done a better job so far at balancing my workload than some of my friends have. Even though I have to handle school, club soccer, fraternity life, and work, I still find time to hang out with friends, which I think is a really good sign (or it means that I’m completely forgetting to do something). My grades are really good, and I think that I can definitely keep it up over the course of the semester. I think that I could definitely improve in some aspects. For example, I wish I had spent more time with my family in Edmond over the last month.

I have a few goals for the rest of the semester. The first one is, obviously, to keep up the good work over the rest of the semester. I can’t slack off now because I’m doing well. I could fall apart just as easily if I neglect my grades. In terms of becoming globally engaged, I think that I need to attend more international events. Because I’ve focused so much on all these aspects of my life, I haven’t devoted myself as much as I wish I could to the Global Engagement Fellowship. I think I participate well in class, but it’s hard to find a time where I can event some of the events. From here on out, though, I will try and carve out more time for international events. Also, I found out there’s actually a calendar with a bunch of international events on the Global Engagement Fellowship website. I added it to my list of bookmarks so that I can keep track of potential events.

The World Through the Eyes of Josh Rushing

Last week, we had a guest speaker named Josh Rushing, who is known for being one of the founders of Al-Jazeera English as well as for his work in the documentary show, Fault Lines. I didn’t know what to expect, but what I got amazed me beyond words. Josh Rushing has an unbelievable outtake on the world, and the way in which he expressed it blew me away. It was so easy to tell all that he had been through and all the things he has seen about the world.

I asked Mr. Rushing how hard it was to adjust as an investigative reporter being exposed to the realities of the world, and his answer is easily the part that struck me the most. He said that we are just a small percentage of the world, and there is so much more that we have absolutely no complete comprehension of. He also added that it’s extremely hard to witness certain aspects of the world, such as poverty and the results of terrorism, for the first time, and he emphasized that, as a nation, we are not even close to being aware of all that is wrong with the world. We are too concerned with ourselves and are therefore fairly ignorant in regards to the rest of the world. I wholly agree with this viewpoint, and I believe that by looking past simply what the media is showing us and actually delving into scenarios across the world, we can gain a more complete understanding of what exactly is going on and thus form a much more educated opinion.

The Media World

A little change in pace here –  I will also be using this blog to post about my Intro to Mass Communications class.

The biggest question that drives my interest in media is, “How do forms of mass media affect the way we see the world?” When you take a closer look at things, you realize that much of what you learn is provided through some form of mass media. We, as students, read textbooks to learn historical information. We read the newspaper or watch TV to remain involved with the current events of the world. We go on social networking sites online to interact with friends and family. We listen to the radio most of the time we are in the car. We hardly notice it, but media has a huge impact on our perspective on the world. These forms of media provide information that we can hardly find anywhere else, and the way in which the present it (or the bias with which they present it) can have a significant impact on the way we perceive the situation portrayed.

I think by looking at questions like, “In what way has mass media developed alongside the development of the Western world?” and “How can mass media improve in the future to further accommodate everyday needs?” we can gain a well-rounded sense of the media world and could therefore have a greater understanding of how we see the world through the eyes of the media.

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