Growing up in the Balkans at the time and place where I did shaped me in a different way that outsiders sometimes struggle to understand. I was always very attached to my family, my friends, my identity and the things that are valued in my culture. In general, I always loved being home and when I took the decision to come to OU, I had was nervous. I knew I was going to struggle being away from home. When I arrived, I had to get used to different types of food, people, culture and most importantly, being far from my family and friends.

At first I thought that everyone would notice my accent and would treat me differently because of it. I struggled with the idea of being called out in class or making mistakes when speaking. I was afraid of having people think that I do not belong here. Even before coming to OU, I decided to live on the international floor in the residence halls my Freshman year and I am glad I did. I was able to meet people from around the world who were on the same boat as I was, and made the transition to getting used to a place like this one a lot easier. Most importantly, I felt welcomed in Norman. The hospitality of people in Oklahoma is far beyond what I could have imagined. People are always willing to offer a warm smile when walking past them on the street. They are there for you if you need help and are always polite. I was also very glad to find out that they were interested in my culture rather than alienating me because of it.

As time passed, the more and more I fell in love with the University. I love OU for all different opportunities that are offered, whether it is different classes, clubs or even go study abroad opportunities.  Additionally, the professors are very helpful and attentive if you are struggling in their class. The concept of professors having office hours is one of the things I appreciate the most about the course culture here. The staff is polite and genuinely wanting to help you be successful.

I could have never imagined to feel at home other than where I grew up, but OU proved me wrong. One of the biggest OU traditions is attending a football game. Everyone is united and focused when watching it, where we all feel like a part of one big Sooner family. This is one the special experiences with a special meaning, and it would be difficult to find it somewhere else. I am thankful for all of the experiences and opportunities I encountered here, so I just want to say thank you to everyone for being part of my life & OU journey.


Magdalena Gea Vidovic

Croatia, Bosnia & Herzegovina


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