Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Scottish exchange student explores OU

    For exchange students studying at the University of Oklahoma, the Sooner Nation’s boundaries don’t end at the Red River. Calum Raffle, an exchange student from Dundee, Scotland, said his Sooner experience would extend onto his home campus of the University of Dundee when he returns in May.
    Though Raffle is the only Scottish exchange student, there are 231 exchange students at OU this semester, said exchange student adviser Tina Henderson.
    Henderson said eight other students from the United Kingdom are studying at OU this semester.
    Raffle said that knowing he would be the only person from his university at OU was intimidating.
    “It was a kind of nervous excitement when I first decided to come abroad,” Raffle said.
    “Maybe a few days before [I left], it was like, ‘Whoa. I’m going away for like a year.’ I started getting nervous right before I was about to take the plunge and go.”
    Once he arrived in the United States, Raffle moved into an apartment in OU Traditions Square and made friends with several of his neighbors.
    “A few American people have taken me to Oklahoma City and things and shown me around,” Raffle said.
    “When I get together with Americans, it’s mostly just so they can show me things I’ve not seen before.”
    OU sophomore Tegan Burkhard said she showed Raffle a children’s museum in Oklahoma City. 
    “He came with me and my friend to the Oklahoma Science Museum because we thought it would be a good experience for him, and it probably is not something he’s done before,” Burkhard said.
    “One time, I also took him to a [Union Programming Board] event. He learned how to tie dye because he’d never done that before.”
    Burkhard said she hopes Raffle will show her around Scotland when she studies abroad in Dundee her senior year.
    Raffle said Dallas is the only place he’s visited outside of the state.
    “I went down to Texas for the OU-Texas game because I managed to get a ticket for that,” he said.
    “It was quite an expense, but it was quite nice.”
    Raffle said although he did not try any exotic fried food at the Texas State Fair, he tried a fair standard before the game.
    “I did get a corn dog, and it was okay,” he said.
    “My friend yelled at me because I tried to put ketchup on it. Apparently, you can only dip corn dogs in mustard, not ketchup. I didn’t know that, and I thought that was pretty gross.”
    One phrase heard at the OU-Texas game was horrible, Raffle said.
    “I’m not really surprised by anything Americans say, apart from y’all, which I heard in Texas,” he said.
    “That winds me up a wee bit when you hear people say y’all. Why can’t you just say you all? I don’t know why you have to mix the two words into one. It doesn’t make sense to me.”
    Though Raffle said he chose OU for its extracurricular activities, he is also taking business and accounting classes.
American classes are very different from British classes, Raffle said.
    “It’s a lot more continuous assessment,” he said.
    “In Scotland you just kind of turn up for your classes all year, and then you have one exam at the end. Your attendance isn’t as vital as it is here.”
    Going home will not be easy, Raffle said.
    “I miss my family sometimes, but being independent is kind of nice,” he said.
    “I still live at home with my parents. I wanted to fly the nest a wee bit, so I’ve really enjoyed living and being in Norman.”

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Midterm Multimedia

Calum Raffle, a Scottish exchange student, discusses studying and living at the University of Oklahoma.

Monday, October 10, 2011

Sense of Place Slideshow

The slideshow includes pictures from inside and outside Walker Tower, a residence hall at the University of Oklahoma. Walker Tower has a unique diversity of activity because it has a mall outside and a large, multipurpose lobby inside.

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Audio for Blog 4

Students discuss evangelism at xPlore on Sept. 28.

Students talk about the creation and importance of xPlore.

Blog 4: xPlore provides discussion forum

The Episcopal Student Association at the University of Oklahoma started a new discussion program this semester.

xPlore is a student-led discussion forum. Each week, one member of the group presents an article or short video and facilitates an hourlong conversation. xPlore has met five times and has discussed things such as 9/11 and hell houses, co-president Kaitlin Warta said.

The group allows students from many faiths to react to religious issues in an inclusive environment, co-president Michael Bibens said.

“From a religious standpoint, we’re a lot more open-minded than other places [on campus],” Warta said.

“Even though we’re a Christian organization, even if someone’s not Christian, we invite them to come in and talk about a topic with us.”

The group is not a Bible study, junior John Putnam said.

“I feel like most Bible studies, you go in, and there’s variation in what people might get out of a verse or how they interpret it, but there’s not major variations in ideas,” Putnam said.

“[xPlore] is similar to a Bible study in that we are talking about religious topics, and we will reference the Bible, but it’s just completely open. You don’t have to be scared of having an opinion or having a thought and presenting it.”

xPlore was created to allow various viewpoints, Bibens said.

“The goal of xPlore wasn’t to lead people to an end,” he said.

“It was to let people say, ‘This is what I believe and how does this topic affect what I believe? Do I believe it? Do I not?’ And then, once you understand that [about yourself], then whatever your result is, that’s great. That was our whole point, to have a forum for people to explore themselves.”

xPlore is similar to a book club because of the high quality of the discussions, junior Andrew Bentley said. 

“I started coming to xPlore because I really enjoy talking about my religion and my faith and my spirituality,” Bentley said.

The Episcopal Student Association sees xPlore as a growing opportunity for their ministry, Warta said.

“I hope that it will bring us closer together as a community,” she said.

“I also hope it will get some more people interested in our organization, that people will think xPlore is cool and maybe bring their friends next time.”

xPlore meets every Tuesday at 8 p.m. at St. Anselm of Canterbury in Norman.