Global Engagement Day: Fulbright

Global Engagement Day: Fulbright

The Fulbright Scholarship is one of those amazing opportunities that I read about before college and thought, “Wow, wouldn’t that be an amazing opportunity? But I have no idea how to apply for something that prestigious!” I am so thankful that being a GEF means I have so much support in my application process, because Fulbright would be my #1 choice after I finish my undergraduate degrees.

This year’s Global Engagement Day included a session on Fulbright and the Peace Corps. While I don’t think the Peace Corps would be the best fit for me, I was glad to attend the information session on Fulbright. Hearing from someone who received a Fulbright Scholarship themselves was both helpful and encouraging, since it made the possibility seem all the more attainable.

My current plan is to apply for a graduate-study Fulbright in Germany, which is one of the leading countries in both physics and the European Space Agency. One of the career goals I have considered is to work for ESA someday, so getting a head start by studying in Germany would be a great opportunity. And even though a lot of science graduate programs and research in Europe are actually conducted in English, I would be able to speak German in my everyday life.

I’m really excited to work on my Fulbright application in the coming months, and hopefully to make it through the application rounds!

OU Puterbaugh Festival

2018 Puterbaugh Festival

2018 Puterbaugh Festival

Es war eine von die Höhepunkte mein Semesters, Jenny Erpenbeck bei dem ersten Tag dem Puterbaugh Event zu treffen.  Ich habe Aller Tage Abend letztes Semester für German Culture and Thought mit Dr. Lemon gelesen, und ich habe das Buch sehr interessant und gut geschrieben gefunden.  Obwohl ich habe es auf Englisch gelesen, es war für mich wirklich aufschlussreich zu hören, wie die Autorin selbst eine Passage auf Deutsch gelesen wurde.  Frau Erpenbeck hat auch meine Kopie Aller Tage Abend signiert, was ich aufregend gefunden habe.  Es war auch sehr interessant zu sehen, wie viele Leute zu diesem Event gekommen haben; normalerweise erwarte ich weniger Anwesende an solche Events, aber es freut mich sehr zu sehen, wie viele Leue in Norman deutsches Literatur lesen wollen.  In die Zukunft hoffe ich noch ein Buch von Frau Erpenbeck zu lesen.

Sie können Aller Tafe Abend (The End of Days auf English) hier finden:


SPS/German Crossover

SPS/German Club Crossover

SPS/German Club Crossover

As with the past two years, I have remained a member of the OU German club.  I really like its style of casual meetings where students can practice their conversation skills, but as I’ve gotten more and more experienced with German, I’ve struggled to find partners at these events who can carry on a full conversation with me.  And unfortunately, my busy schedule doesn’t always allow me to attend the Stammtisch events.  That’s why this semester, I was really excited to help organize the second annual Society of Physics Students and German Club crossover event!

There has always been a strong correlation between physics majors and the German department; for those who don’t already start out in both departments, a majority of students seem to choose German to fulfill their foreign language requirement; many then go on to add a minor or second major in German.  It’s always fun to walk into the study rooms in the physics building and hear people practicing their German skills together.

This year, we were lucky enough to coordinate with Dr. Schwettmann, a German professor in the physics department.  He gave us a tour of his research lab and a lecture of fun and simple physics demos, all conducted in German.  Afterwards, a physics student gave a presentation on his recent internship in Germany.

Historically, Germany has always been at the forefront of the physics world.  It’s always really fun for me to combine my two majors, and an event like this helps me find other people who are interested in both languages and physics!  But beware: as Dr. Schwettmann told us, German has some false cognates for common physics terms: German “Impuls” is English momentum, and English impulse is German “Kraftstoss”!

In the future, I hope that these two clubs can continue to host crossover events.


German Opportunities Fair

German Opportunities Fair

Once again, this year’s Germany Week included multiple really helpful and exciting events.  Aside from Trivia Night, the German department also collaborated with experts from across OU to hold the German Opportunities Fair.  Students could get information on studying abroad in Germany, applying for a Fulbright in Germany or Austria, finding an internship through Deutscher Akademischer Austauschdienst (DAAD), or continuing to graduate studies in German at OU.

As far as I know, none of the other foreign language departments has a similar all-encompassing event where students can explore so many options at once.  And since many professors required students to attend at least one of the Germany Week events, many students came to the Opportunities Fair.

Personally, I enjoyed talking to both professors with expertise in various programs and students who had completed the internships I was considering.

Here is some more information on the various programs discussed at the Opportunities Fair for anyone interested!


DAAD/German Academic Exchange Service: federally-funded grants for study abroad and research abroad programs.  The DAAD RISE program offers STEM summer internships across Germany, where undergraduates assist a graduate student on their research topic.


Fulbright in Germany: funding for a year of graduate study, independent research, or work as an English teacher abroad.  Fulbright programs are offered around the world, although different countries offer slightly different programs.


OU Education Abroad: exchange programs for undergraduates through OU.  German language proficiency depends on which country and program you choose.


OU Master’s Degree in German:



Germany, Making Choices: Trivia Night

Germany, Making Choices: Trivia Night

Just because the OU German department is small doesn’t mean we don’t have fun activities each semester!  This year, OU  hosted Germany Week, a series of events designed to promote the language and department.  One of those was a German-themed trivia night, where teams of 8-10 students worked together to answer five rounds of questions.

One of the reasons why this event was such a success was the variety of topics and difficulties covered over the course of the event.  Although most students were German majors or minors, the questions weren’t about German vocabulary or grammar, making it easy for students of all levels to cooperate.  Some questions related to famous historical figures like Goethe and Beethoven; others covered modern German television and music; a bonus round asked us to name all 16 states on a numbered map of Germany.  In the end, all of the teams had extremely tight scores; my team won by only two points.

Overall, this event was a great example of how a small department can host a really exciting and inclusive game night.  I really enjoyed spending the evening with my German professors and classmates, and coming home with a bar of Ritter Sport chocolate is always great!  In the future, I look forward to attending more German-sponsored events like this one.

Empress Komyo Calligraphy from Year 744

Introduction to Shodo (書道)

Introduction to Shodo (書道)

One of the things I really loved about being in Japan was seeing how much culture is embedded into daily life.  I’m sorry to Americans everywhere, but we have no culture–not in the way that a country that’s existed for thousands of years like Japan does, at least.  Everywhere I went, there were temples, shrines, women dressed in formal kimono and yukata, traditional food, and common phrases that all reminded me of how different Kyoto was from my home.  I love to learn more about these customs whenever I can, and this semester I was able to when the Japanese club organized a short workshop to learn shodo, Japanese calligraphy.

Photo Credit to Australian Aikido Ki Society

Shodo is a traditional art form that most Japanese children are required to learn in elementary school, much like American kids take art classes.  Kids can also choose to join a shodo club in high school, participate in national competitions, or study it in college.  As with chado (Japanese tea ceremony), kitsuke (kimono wearing), and ikebana (flower arranging), many children take lessons after school or on the weekends, which helps to keep these highly traditional art forms alive.

That did mean, though, that all of the professors and exchange students who helped run the shodo workshop had far more experience than any of the American students.  I had assumed that, since I’ve been doing art my whole life and I love to write kanji, I would be able to pick it up fairly easily. Amy's ShodoUnfortunately, that was not really the case.  Writing complex kanji with a pencil is very different from using a stiff-bristled brush (held vertically, not slanted like a pencil) and ink, especially since stroke order is even more important with ink than it is with pencil.  After practicing only a few characters and over for about an hour, I finally wrote out the kanji for yuki (courage) and signed my name on the sign.

My kanji weren’t the prettiest in class (I heard that one of the exchange students had actually won several shodo competitions in Japan), I really enjoyed getting a taste of this beautiful art form.  In the future, I would love to practice more so that I can fully appreciate shodo.

Amy Clears the Ball!

MLLL Inter-Language Soccer Game

MLLL Inter-Language Soccer Game

It’s not often that students majoring in different languages can organize a single activity that appeals to everyone, but the MLLL department’s soccer game certainly accomplished this.  And it shouldn’t be surprising that the students got so involved in the game, since Germany, France, Spain, and Italy are famous for their national dedication to soccer.

Because German had by far the most students, the other three languages combined into one team for the game.  The players ranged from people who, like me, enjoy soccer but haven’t played much recently to those who play regularly on intramural teams.  Even some professors came to support their languages, some as players and some just to enjoy the beautiful afternoon.  Everyone felt competitive during the game, but there was also an air of fun surrounding the whole afternoon.

Because of how the teams were divided, we jokingly mentioned that the last time Germany faced off against the rest of Europe, it didn’t really end so well.  Maybe we should have taken that as an omen, because the Romance Language team beat us by a large margin.  But I had fun playing soccer again for the first time in several years, and since I didn’t make any embarrassing mistakes, I counted the game as a win for myself.

After the game, most of the students and many of the faculty members expressed interesting in making the game, or even an MLLL intramural team, a long-term tradition.  I hope that it will be, and I look forward to participating in the next tournament!

Off the Radar

Off the Radar

Off the Radar

I find it incredibly interesting that of all the OU events I have attended in the past year, the vast majority of them have related to the Middle East, and in particular to the refugee crisis and its impacts around the globe.  Every time I saw a flyer for an event related to this topic, I jumped at the chance to learn more about this incredibly complex and current topic.

Cyrus Copeland’s lecture on his book Off the Radar: A Father’s Secret, A Mother’s Heroism, and A Son’s Quest was one such event that I immediately cleared my schedule to attend.  In part, I was curious about Copeland himself: almost forty years ago, his father was accused of being a CIA agent in Iran and was arrested, so his wife became the first female lawyer in Iran’s history in order to defend him in court.  But I was also intrigued with the opportunity to learn more about any piece of Iran’s history and culture, no matter how insignificant.

When I arrived at the lecture, I immediately felt out of place.  I felt out of my element, as the majority of the other students and professors were either Iranian themselves or were deeply involved in the Arabic and Middle Eastern Studies programs at OU.  But Cyrus Copeland’s lecture was engaging and enlightening as he examined the stigma with which Americans continue to view Iranians and told several short stories of his own experiences as an America who grew up in Iran.  It did frustrate me slightly that the lecture’s main question–was his father really an undercover CIA agent?–was never answered in the lecture, but Cyrus was a compelling enough story teller that I would gladly read his book in the future to find out for myself.

Overall, this event opened my eyes to the tensions that still exist between Americans and Iranians today.  I look forward to learning more about this topic in the future, since our lack of forgiveness and cooperation remains a very current and tense issue.

Salam Neighbor Website Banner

Salam Neighbor

Salam Neighbor

Last fall, my Becoming Globally Engaged class spent a day watching Living On One’s series of videos about what it is like to only have one dollar a day in Guatemala.  I was impressed by how down-to-earth and earnest the producers were as they spent two months living in a rural community, filming the local way of life and spreading awareness of how different their living conditions were.

Later, I found out that the same group of students had recently made another film about their experiences living in a refugee camp in Jordan.  I immediately thought that this film would be an excellent way to see what life is really like for the refugees in the Middle East.  However, Salam Neighbor wasn’t available on Living On One’s website or on YouTube like their earlier series; instead, it could only be viewed in a public screening.

I was so excited when I heard a few months later that there would be a screening of the film at OU!  The film was extremely impactful, and had such an in-depth exploration of life at the Za’atari refugee camp that I walked away feeling heartbroken for the thousands living in similar camps around the world.

The film successfully portrayed the refugees and the wars raging throughout the Middle East in an extremely humanizing way: it brought the very broad, unspecific subject of “the refugee crisis” down to a relatable level that I was able to connect to.  The interviews with various refugees as well as explanations of everyday life in a refugee camp were incredibly moving but also inspirational, because even in the midst of such dire conditions, the films subjects have found ways to keep up hope and even begin to turn Za’atari into a semi-permanent village.

I am so grateful that I was able to view this film, and would recommend it highly to anyone interested in learning more about the refugee crisis.  Living On One has now released a copy of Salam Neighbor to iTunes; if you want to learn more about the organization or see the film for yourself, you can find their website here: http://livingonone.org