My name is Kala (Kayla without the “y”) and I’m the 2017-2018 Graduate Resident Director here at OU in Arezzo!
“Woah, weird, what’s that mean?”
Basically, I’m a graduate student and I get to work at OUA. I’m studying Adult and Higher Education with an emphasis in Student Affairs and I’m taking all of my classes online. But that’s only part of what I do with my day! The rest of my time is spent with the OUA staff and students (and trying to make Italian friends). I help plan events, do normal paperwork things, advise our Student Activities Council, and help students with whatever may come at them.
As you might imagine, that can be anything from a broken alarm clock to homesickness to train travel and literally anything in between. And between you and me…
I love it.
That’s the job. Helping students with whatever I can is what I signed up for when I chose to go into Student Affairs.
Living in Arezzo, at the Rooney Family Center, is so different than any of my previous experiences abroad (and I am so thankful for it). When I was an undergraduate (OU class of 2013, B.A. in English with a minor in AFAM), I studied abroad in Ghana. I lived in a hostel for six and a half weeks and had the time of my life. Living and learning abroad, even for that short period, taught me so much about myself and the world around me. There’s something so intensely common in our humanity, despite how different we are. It was empowering.
So empowering, in fact, that I decided to serve as a Peace Corps Volunteer after I graduated. I ended up living in a little town called Senaki in the Republic of Georgia. I spent three months in training in Georgia before moving to Senaki. During that time I learned Georgian (kind of) and tried to get my bearings in a totally foreign culture. The place I lived in Senaki, Garadoki, is a settlement for Internally Displaced People, or IDPs, from a war a little over 20 years ago.
You can probably imagine that going from developing countries to living in Italy was a shock. And indeed, it definitely was. Despite all of that, I’ve been reaffirmed in the idea that there is something common in our humanity. And even though sometimes living in paradise comes with its own challenges, I’m thankful to be here.