OU Cousins is a program that pairs international students at OU with American cousins. This is a great program that aims at developing friendships between American and international students at the University. I recently met my OU cousin, and it was an incredible experience. Despite being a Global Engagement Fellow, I can’t say that I’ve encountered a whole lot of difference or diversity in my life. I spent the first 18 years of my life in the same house in Castle Rock, Colorado, and the biggest change I’ve ever encountered was moving to OU just a few months ago. Needless to say, my OU Cousin, who knows French and Chinese in addition to English, and has lived in two countries before studying abroad in the US, has a much different perspective than I do.
My cousin and I spent a few hours at the beginning of this semester just sitting in front of the library talking about our lives. Mostly, we talked about my cousin’s life, because it’s much more interesting and impressive than mine. My cousin grew up in China, but attended a French university. Now she’s studying at OU for a year before she returns to France to complete her master’s thesis. Despite having spent the past several years in France, she’s retained a lot of her everyday practices from China. She still eats almost exclusively Chinese food, which she makes herself. She’s also kept all of her small electrical appliances from China with her through her education in France, and now has them here in the U.S.. Despite carrying her culture with her, she was really curious about American culture, particularly how we celebrate holidays.
Naturally, when OU Cousins hosted a pumpkin carving event, my cousin was very excited to see what Halloween was all about. Neither of us were able to make it to the event, so we bought some pumpkins from Target, and carved them together. Afterward, we ate some tofu and pig’s ears prepared by my cousin for lunch. It was a really cool exchange of culture, and I hope to have similar experiences with OU cousins in the future!