Monthly Archives: December 2015

End-of-the-Semester Thoughts

I don’t know how to feel about having completed my first semester. In a lot of ways, this semester was nothing special (not in a good way) and I thought things would be different in my personal life but they’ve stayed the same. I’m mostly disappointed that I can’t see any substantial in my life or in my self personally. There was no “I’m an adult, yay!” moment. There was no “I’m in college, woo!” moment.  I waited for it but it didn’t really come. I know you have to actively make change in your life, but I just seem to be in rut.

Other than that, I have actually enjoyed my academic career so far. It is a little difficult to get used to the fact that my classes are only a semester long, as well to understand how I took year long classes and never felt as burnt out as I do right now, at the close of my first semester in college. I am genuinely confused as to why I am so tired.

The Global Engagement class has been fun, and I met some nice people. A lot of them are a little intimidating to be honest, because everyone seems to have accomplished so much already. It’s like instead of standing on the shoulders of giants, I’m just standing among them, tiny. Of course I am proud of all the work my classmates have done, and I am impressed with all of them. I hope one day to measure up their caliber.

Hopefully, next semester, will be a little easier for me to navigate, now that I have my footing and will have a much better schedule (and by better I mean less ridiculous timings, not necessarily better classes, though one can only hope that they are at least as interesting as the classes this semester). Really, the university has made this semester as good as it could be, and I am looking forward to next semester.

My Digital Story

I liked learning to put together a digital story, it’s always good to learn new skills. And of course, I can use these skills in future for any creative assignments I may receive. I actually had a lot of fun putting my digital story together, and even though it was a lot of work, I am very proud of the result.

I was very worried about my digital story because the rubric on D2L seemed to be tailored more towards stories that were about people’s experiences abroad or people’s international friends. I didn’t have either of these things. I have never been outside of the country, and I don’t have any international friends that I feel I am close enough to do an entire story about.

So instead, I wrote about something that I think is something that could help international students and citizens feel better about embracing their culture in the US. Cultural appropriation is a big deal because the idea that a privileged class can make a joke or make shallow attempts to copy people’s culture, but the people whose culture is being copied are victims of stereotypes because of it or are worse off in society because of it, is just wrong.

And I am very proud that I addressed it in the digital story, because I think it is important for the international community to feel that American citizens respect them and their cultures. I know that it may be unorthodox and that maybe some people will dislike it or disagree, but I am pleased with the finished product and I hope everyone keeps an open mind and enjoys my story.

Study Abroad

I don’t know where I want to study abroad. Whenever someone asks me that question, I always say (very seriously): “Everywhere.”

I think, however, for practical purposes, I will seriously consider my options. I would like to go to France for a summer. I am interested in learning French, not only would it be very useful, seeing as it is spoken in a lot of places all over the world, but also because it one of two official languages spoken at the UN. I found a summer program in a suburb of Paris, that is a French intensive complete with field trips and either dorms or a host family. I would love to live with a host family. But after the attacks on Paris, I think that I would rather go during the summer of my sophomore year.

For my semester, I am torn between going somewhere in Europe as an exchange student, or going on a Journey program for a semester in Pretoria, South Africa. I’ve always been very interested in Africa, not just because ancestrally I have roots there, but because it is such a diverse place. The Journey to South Africa would have courses that counted towards my minor in International Studies. On the other hand, it may be easier to meet the requirements for my major if I do so in Europe, maybe England. I’m just not sure. I hope I make up my mind sooner rather than later, so that I can begin planning financially for it.

Je suis Paris

I was so shocked when Paris was attacked. Whenever something of that magnitude occurs, it’s always difficult to wrap your head around it. we talked about it in my French class (naturally). It was on the news, on social media like Facebook and Instagram. Heck, even Yik Yak. And even though I saw some sort of update about it at least twelve times a day for  nearly a week after it happened, I still found it difficult to comprehend. The more I thought about it, the worse I felt for so many people.

The people who died in the attack. The families of the people who were attacked. The Muslims around the world who were in no way involved but would suffer from the actions of a few radicals anyway.

I thought it was great that the University reacted so quickly to it, and we so quickly put together a vigil, for the people in France who were suffering through the aftermath. When I was younger, I never understood the point of vigils. How can holding candles sadly help the people who were affected? But I understand now, that it is about letting the people who were affected know that we are affected by their suffering. I can see that it is comforting that people so far away care about their wellbeing. And that they know that this is a difficult time.

Sometimes just recognizing someone’s struggle means more that trying to find a solution.

The International Bazaar

The International Advisory Committee (which I recently joined as a core volunteer) coordinated the International Bazaar, which was held on the South Oval. There were all sorts of groups there, and they were all telling people who stopped at their tables about their cultures. I went with my friend Omar, who is a member of the IAC and the Saudi Arabian Student Association. We had so much fun meeting up with different members of the IAC and from his group.

I absolutely loved the International Bazaar. Everyone sharing things about where they are from, and why they are unique is exactly why I was interested in the IAC and in global studies to begin with. And it was so fun just getting to be a part of that. Oddly, even though I wanted to just walk around and explore, I also wished that I was an international student so that I could have something interesting to share. It’s a strange thought to have, I guess. But I wanted to be a part of it in every way.

I just thought it was really amazing, to see everyone turn out to learn something new about somebody who has had different experiences, and see that diversity embraced instead of feared or mocked. I was just really excited and proud to be there.

About Me

My name is Alona Nichelle Kemp, I turned 18 in August, and I am from Dallas, Texas.

I like reading, and writing, and listening to music. I also like to just relax and watch Netflix or play games with a few friends. I don’t really like crowded places, it makes me feel like I’m being judged (stupid, I know). I am really interested in social justice, and in international customs, cultures, and practices. I’ll never understand why people are afraid of new things and people who are different than they are. I love that stuff. I am also interested in Deaf/Hard of Hearing culture, because I myself am hard of hearing. A few years ago I taught myself the basics of American Sign Language. And even though my knowledge is limited (and I am a little rusty) I am really interesting in improving.

I am majoring in Letters, and hope to minor in International Studies and (maybe) French. I like Letters because it is a combination of all of the things that I always liked best about school. A combination of history, literature, and philosophy all in one was a dream come true for me, because now I don’t have to pick one.

I applied for the Global Engagement Fellowship because I have always been more interested in the cultures of other countries and the ways in which we are different, and the same. As I got older, I became more and more interested in how different countries and people and governments are all interrelated. The Global Engagement Program allows me to be globally involved both on campus, and abroad. And what I am most excited about is experiencing other places for myself and being able to make the comparison when I get home.

I hope to gain some experience abroad, and to expand my horizons through the Global Engagement Fellowship. I also hope to acquire meaningful insight, that will hopefully help me secure a job at the United Nations one day.