Texas Global and University Housing and Dining celebrated the university’s international community during A Night of Global Voices on Nov. 16. The event featured stories and poems presented by UT students about their personal lives, global journeys and cultural experiences.
A Night of Global Voices kicked off International Education Week at UT, an annual initiative by the U.S. Department of State and the U.S. Department of Education celebrating international education and exchange. From Nov. 16-20, colleges and organizations across campus hosted various workshops, special events and information sessions related to global learning and cross-cultural exchange.
At the event, international presenters explored themes of home, connection and the importance of history. From finding family in the Dominican Republic to exploring the glittering skylines of Dubai, United Arab Emirates, the storytellers took the audience on a journey across the world.
The evening of stories and poems was held on campus and broadcast live on the Texas Global Facebook page. The event featured a total of five presenters representing various colleges and countries. We invite you to read the following excerpts from their stories.
Caroline Kane, communications and leadership freshman and Global LLC member, on life in the Dominican Republic:
“Everything seemed to slow down — life seemed to have time to catch up to me. The little things, like domino games in the afternoon, or buying dulces, snacks, at the local colmados, corner stores, or even afternoon baths in the freshwater river, was what people ultimately lived for and spent their day participating in. I didn’t see many people working, nor were topics like careers, jobs or working ever brought up in conversation.
But for me, my main hours of the day were spent leading local summer camps for the community youth and gathering teens to prepare for a volleyball tournament. The children taught me a lot but were absolutely wild and impossible to control. They were all very affectionate though. They always held my hands and walked me home after camp.”
South Korean student Yun Nam (B.A. ’20) on the winding path to “Korea”:
“Korea in Korean is 한국(han-guk) or 대한민국(dae-han-min-guk). So, many of you may ask why do we call Korea not Han-guk or Dae-han-min-guk? I also wondered that same question as I was growing up in Korea. Looking at the history of Korea, there have been many kingdoms with different names.
“Regardless of history, I love and support the name “Korea” and I am proud of it. Hence, there are many terms that associate with this name, such as “k-pop” and “k-drama”. However, the actual meaning of 고려(go-ryeo) from the Chinese character means “high” and “to shine”. I am pleased with the meaning of the name “Korea,” and I hope we continue to uphold a high standard and shine a bright light to others in the world by helping each other.”
Nigerian pharmacy doctoral candidate Chinelo Orji on uncovering home:
“Home calls out in scrambled voices. Come home, we miss you. Home is where we laugh like scattered dots, dear sister. Home cries out in gathering echoes. Where are you going, what do you see? Home is where we don’t forget the way, dear sister.
“Home calls out to me in letters. What are you doing, what do you miss? Home is where we have the master keys, dear sister. Home calls out to me in pictures. How are you doing, what do you need? Home is where the truth and treasure breathe, dear sister.”
English junior Mariela Pinilla on the importance of global cultural awareness:
“The history my teacher said was “not that important” was important to quite a lot of people. Not just my grandmother and our family, but to the others directly affected by Augusto Pinochet’s rule and their families as well. I wondered how she could tell me that. What if I said something like that about U.S. history?
‘Reagan was a socialist.’
‘He wasn’t. He was actually rather conservative.’
‘Well, it’s not that important.’
“You cannot tell me half the U.S. wouldn’t lose their minds if I said that.”
Kenedi Houston, Global LLC member and political communications freshman, on international experiences:
“I will never forget my experiences there because they are ingrained in my heart like a beautiful memory that’s only a daydream away. Italy helped me grow and showed me the potential I have, especially as a black girl in America. Italy showed me strong entrepreneurs chasing their passions and dreams even when it’s unheard of or uncommon. Dubai showed me the potential I have to build a community if I put my mind and body in the right space to build organic relationships. These experiences helped show me the common decency we have as humans.”