So my international organizations for this year were a little unconventional. If you’ve been following, my OU Cousin Anita was supposed to go back to Taiwan after spending Christmas in Boston over the break. Instead, she ended up visiting an aunt in Canada, then came back to Oklahoma where she *heart eyes, clasps chest* met a boy. He was from Spain and they had met during the year when they were both filling out paperwork to apply to extend their study abroad term at OU. He got approved, but she did not and that seemed to be the end of it.
But since she was finished with all of the classes she needed for her degree and would just be going back and finding a job when she returned home, Anita decided to come back to Oklahoma and stay with some friends for a little while, then ended up in a fairytale romance with the Spanish boy and decided to stay even LONGER. We met up a while back to get food and she told me about him, showed me all of their cute pictures, and explained how she definitely hadn’t told her parents the reason why she was extending her stay again. A few days after we met up, she jetted off to Las Vegas, then the Grand Canyon, and then to Los Angeles. All of the pictures she sent me were amazing, and since I haven’t been to any of the places she got to travel to, I was quite envious as she told me about walking the strip in Vegas, taking in the sheer enormity of the Grand Canyon, and falling asleep on the beach in California. But my envy was in a way that was also full of excitement for her, and I am so glad she was able to have all of the amazing experiences she had while she was here. Anita is finally actually gone now (…I think), and I tried to text her a few weeks back but I think we may have to switch to email or Skype now that she’s off of her international phone plan. It was a happy surprise for me to get to see her one last time though, and I hope that I can have just as great of an experience next semester with OU Cousins.
I also joined and attended a meeting of the Spanish Club on campus, which turned out to be nothing like I expected. First of all, there was not a single word of Spanish spoken during the meeting. I was kind of under the impression that it would be a culture and conversation club, but I guess it’s more just culture. The meeting featured the University’s Diplomat in Residence, Rob Andrews. He is a Senior Foreign Service Officer who was assigned a term as the Diplomat in Residence for the Central Region of the US as well as being an adjunct professor at OU. He came and talked to the Spanish Club about career and internship opportunities with the US Department of State, specifically about becoming Consular Fellows. A Consular Fellow, for all of the non-foreign service experts out there, serves overseas in US embassies or consulates and carries out many of the same duties as Foreign Service Officers- interviewing visa/passport applicants, adjudicating (approving or denying) visa/passport applications, fielding questions from and providing protection for people in their specific country and the US, and other similar tasks- but in a 4-5 year non-career appointment rather than a long term job. Mr. Andrews described the major tasks and everyday duties of a Consular Fellow, the application process, and the 6 languages that the State Department is looking for (one of which, not-so-coincidentally, is Spanish). The presentation was super informative, and the job actually seemed really cool. If I wasn’t trying to get into medical school I would probably seriously consider applying for it. But the club itself wasn’t what I was expecting, and I didn’t have the time to attend another meeting to see what else Spanish club had to offer. I’m not sure if I will try it out again next year or try to find something a little different. The university has just started a model World Health Organization, and I’ve heard from a few people that the model UN group on campus is also a lot of fun. But I’ve got a whole summer between me and the next organization I decide to dip my toes into, so I’ll cross that proverbial bridge when I get there. For now I’m just content with my interesting, unconventional, and unexpected first year of experiences with international organizations.