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.”

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