Ca’la Connors (senior) studied abroad in the Dominican Republic. She shares how she explored the meaning of blackness outside of U.S. borders, tells us what Haitian catch phrases should be used everywhere and describes how she found a happiness that exceeded anything she previously experienced at Occidental.
The Occidental Weekly is producing its first video series, Abroad: A Storytelling Series. This series hopes to capture students’ personal stories from life abroad in an attempt to celebrate and share some of our students’ richest moments while at Occidental. Time abroad constitutes some of the most magical, challenging and transformative aspects of the Occidental experience: we wanted to hear about it and share it with the Occidental community. Each week through the end of term, we will post a new video interview. Consisting of short episodes (~3 minutes), the idea is simple: to extract intimate, unadulterated stories direct from the people telling them. We did not include music or overlay the videos with special cinematic effects — our motive is not showmanship, but instead to produce raw, real and truthful content. At Occidental, there is reservoir of untold stories, wells of change and growth that currently reside untapped. We wanted to animate the experiences that might otherwise go untold. We hope that this series will destigmatize some of the myths and fantasies surrounding the abroad experience, offering insight for underclassmen pondering study abroad options while stimulating conversation for those who have already returned. We hope you enjoy.