I spent America’s Independence Day swimming, eating and enjoying fireworks with family as usual.
My aunt hosts 4th of July at her house each year, yet people still ask if/when she’s hosting it. It’s become a running joke with my family whenever people ask about it.
This 4th was hotter and less cloudy than the last ones, so it was a nice chance to swim for the majority of the day.
But when the sun went down, we pulled up our chairs around the fire pit and celebrated freedom! We lit some sparklers and threw some snaps, then set off some bigger fireworks. My family joked around about who had the best fireworks in the neighborhood.
My cousin even claimed a spaceship sighting:
Up next: Exploring Sweden and Denmark as I take a summer comparative media class in Lund, Sweden
I took a broadcast journalism class when I studied abroad at Sunderland University in England.
Broadcast journalism was definitely the most challenging class I took abroad. I began the class with no previous broadcast experience. I had no clue what a “package” or a “vox” was and no idea how to record a phone interview. But I quickly learned.
I worked with the rest of the news team to produce radio and TV news shows for Spark FM’s “Word On Wearside” each week. I created multiple news packages for both radio and TV throughout the term, learning from each one.
Below are my radio and TV packages for my final project:
Check out my other journalism work on my newly updated e-portfolio!
This past semester, I took a multimedia journalism class where my final project included an audio recording. I chose to record mine about the differences I encountered in England during my study abroad. I based my recording largely on the differences I discussed in this blog post and also include a few points I made in this one.
I was inducted into ESU’s chapter of Phi Sigma Pi National Honor Fraternity last Monday. I can finally say I am officially a brother!
I say “finally” because I could not go to the original induction with my initiate class since I was working on a show that night. Because of this, my make-up induction ceremony was quite small. But I am grateful for all the brothers that could show up to make my night memorable.
The show that I was working on during that original induction was ESU’s production of “Little Shop of Horrors.” I was a run crew member and my main job was to man the stage right curtain during scene shifts.
Although I was backstage for a lot of the show, from the scenes that I heard and the ones that I had breaks to watch, this musical is my favorite that ESU has done. And the cast and crew were my favorite to work with so far, out of the three shows I have worked on here.
My Phi Sigma Pi induction was the night after the musical’s closing and the fraternity’s formal was this past Friday.
ΦΣΠ Formal was way more fun than any other formal I have attended. I brought my friend Tyrell, and I think I speak for both of us when I say we made some fun memories.
This week is final exam week. I have one actual exam, three performances and one portfolio due by the end of the week. Then, I leave university for the summer and plan to work as much as I can to make enough money to buy a car. Which I have my driver’s test mid-July, right before I leave for a 15 day course in Sweden. This summer will be stressful, but I hope it pays off in the end.
Anyone have fun plans for the summer?
ESU surpassed my expectations for this year’s Global Week celebration by bringing in baby goats and other exotic animals and hosting informative and entertaining events last week.
The baby goats were the first highlight, as part of the World Fair. We knew a camel and yak would be on campus from the flyers, but those baby goats were an adorable surprise for many. The brown one was especially hyper and seemed to love interacting with people, running towards human hands and jumping around to catch our attention.
Stickerbush II the porcupine and Houston the armadillo were nice surprises, too, because I had never seen either animal before besides in pictures.
Also at the World Fair, I tried snacks from around the world, learned about Native American culture through a tee-pee display of everyday objects and had my name drawn in Chinese characters.
I attended a Peace Corps volunteer panel the next day, where returned volunteers shared stories about their experiences with the Peace Corps. This panel gave me another opportunity to seriously consider for my future because it combines two activities I love: travel and service. And with the Peace Corps, like study abroad, you experience the culture by living somewhere for an extended time period, in this case two years.
The next major event during Global Week this year was Relay for Life. During Relay, campus clubs and organizations raise money for cancer research and stay up for 12 hours walking around the track. There are games and activities throughout the night to keep energy up, but I could not make it all the way from 7 p.m. to 7 a.m. But I stayed until 4 a.m., which is longer than I stayed last year!
I participated in Relay with Phi Sigma Pi, the Honors Fraternity that I will be an official brother of this Friday. I am excited to join this family and I am proud that after three years at ESU, I finally found the group of people that I click with.
Global Week ended with an international festival, which featured performances from ESU’s Step Team, arts and crafts, a fashion show and dinner from around the world.
This week is not only Easter weekend, but also tech for “Little Shop of Horrors,” which opens this Wednesday. I am on run crew for the show and I am ecstatic to be working on a show again since I last worked on “Midsummer Night’s Dream” freshman year.
Over spring break last month, I volunteered at Bear Creek Lake State Park in Va. I worked with other ESU students to rake leaves and clean up campsites. We learned more about environmental conservation and formed new friendships with each other.
On the final day at the park, we split off into groups. Group one built picnic tables for the campsites and group two did trail maintenance. I was part of group two.
Doing trail maintenance was surprisingly the most fun I had at the park. We rerouted a trail so water would not erode the walking path. To reroute, we had to clear a new path. We worked together to cut down and unroot trees that would be in hikers’ ways. It felt nice to do something I have never done before.
The next day, we were supposed to go to Washington D.C., but drove thorough the city and stayed at a hotel in Md. instead because of the impending snow storm. What a tease.
I was looking forward to D.C. because I have been to so many other nations’ capitals, but not my own. Nevertheless, the state park volunteer work made this spring break fun, even though I spent the majority of the rest of break shovelling snow.
The trail maintenance was something new I did over break, but the weekend after I tried another new activity: rock climbing.
I spent my first weekend after break camping at Stony Acre’s with Rotaract club. We spent that Saturday transporting tree limbs for firewood and raking leaves at the campground. Then we did team building exercises and rock climbing.
Most of us had never rock climbed before. Two girls made it to the top of the wall and I made it about halfway up. My hands slipped quite easily on the small rocks on the wall, which made climbing it difficult for me. But I am proud of myself for trying something new. I may not be good at it, but now I can say I rock climbed!
Any activities that make you proud you tried? Or anything you wish you would have tried when given the chance?
One of the reasons that I have not posted in a while is because I’m dealing with reverse culture shock.
What is reverse culture shock? And how is it different from culture shock?
Reverse culture shock is when you experience a sense of disorientation and even sadness or depression when returning to your home country after an extended period of being away. Whereas culture shock is a feeling of homesickness when you first move away from home to a place with a different culture than what you are used to. You do not need to experience culture shock to experience reverse culture shock, and vice versa.
When I studied abroad in England, I did not experience culture shock. Instead, I was excited to embrace a new culture and jumped right into it. And I think that’s what made my reverse culture shock hit so hard.
I have nothing tying me down in Pennsylvania, where I have been stuck my entire life besides the four months I spent abroad and when I have taken on short vacations to other states. I am not really close with my family, who basically all live within 20 minutes of each other, and my only friends in the state are those at university. My best friend from high school lives in Florida now and only visits a few weeks throughout the year, and all my friends from study abroad live in either different states or different countries.
I made friends my first day in Sunderland, which was surprising because it took me a few months to make the friends I have at East Stroudsburg. Yet, I became closer with my study abroad friends in those short four months than I have with my university friends that I have had for almost three years.
Making these friends, along with all the memories we created together, and seeing how close we became, made it tough to leave them and come back to a place where I have close friends, but not as close as I need them to be.
I still keep in touch with my British friends, Sunderland Dance Squad, my flatmates and other people I met during my travels. And this has helped me transition back to life in the States, but it also makes me sad because we are so far away now.
I have been back in the States for a little over two months now and I am dealing with being back better than last month. But, it is still difficult. Especially because I can no longer call the house I grew up in or ESU “home” without getting a weird feeling because these places have never felt like home as much as England or Scotland (for the five days I spent there) has. And I honestly think it is because of the friends I have made and the welcoming atmosphere of the people and their culture.
I know I will not be able to live in Pa. much longer and feel happy. I am not even sure if I can live in America, even though I have not seen enough of this country to know if there are other cities here that will make me feel as welcome as the UK.
I know I am young, but I am also going to graduate university next year. I do not want to be stuck here for longer than I need to. So, this summer I am hoping to get my driver’s license and a car, which will make me even more broke than I am now. If it was up to me, I would have had my license five years ago because not being able to drive in this country has only made me feel more stuck, but I have had difficult times trying to find someone to teach me who will keep their word.
Once I can drive, I want to apply for a better job so I can afford car insurance and eventually to move out. Right now my choice in jobs is limited because I have to rely on other people to get me there, and can only work when their schedules are free to take me to work.
Hopefully everything works out. I am trying not to stress so much about being broke right now because I know I will be even more broke in a few months.
I promise my next post will have a happier note than this one! I will be talking about camping!
Meanwhile, if anyone has any culture shock or reverse culture shock tips, please share!