Asiago Ogaisa

Latin American studies senior Asiago Ogaisa is a big believer in karma, and rightfully so. While in Vietnam, Ogaisa ate dog, a traditional staple of the country’s diet, but just a week later, a dog bit him in Thailand.

“It tastes like beef stew, but really, food tastes so different around the world,” Ogaisa said. “Why don’t we eat bugs? I’ve eaten bugs in other countries.”

This is just one of memorable experiences that Ogaisa, president of Students for Study Abroad, had overseas. He wishes to share his experiences with students attending International Education Week, which celebrates cultural diversity on campus.

“Going abroad is how I found myself,” Ogaisa said. “It taught me about my own culture.”
This is one of the goals that International Education Week has for those that come to its 55 events. An overall promotion of going global and having cultural interactions will be stressed. The week is also meant to showcase how diverse a student body UT has.

“Everyday you can see how global we are, but by giving it a week, it draws attention to it,” said International Office spokesman Christian Casarez. “It pulls different cultures together.”
In addition, the week aims to give students knowledge of the global economy.

“Nowadays, everything is global,” said Claudia Prieto, international programs coordinator and International Education Week committee chair. “Products are manufactured all over the world. All of this starts at home by gaining perspective and exposure to new ideas.”

This year’s events will range from foreign films to language sessions and even wedding traditions to appeal to the widest variety of tastes on campus.

“The events are meant to help students create their own road maps to fit in their college degree plans,” Casarez said. “They can learn how to fund [their own programs], which is
really empowering.”

Coordinators think students provide the relatable perspective of a young adult who has traveled abroad and seen the differences between the U.S. and other countries.

“I never realized how much influence the U.S. has on the world,” Ogaisa said.

Ogaisa hopes that his study abroad experiences will inspire others to do the same.

“[Traveling abroad] makes you realize all the resources you have at UT,” Ogaisa said. “I never realized the accessibility of gyms [or] the PCL. You can really get anything for free if you go looking for it. Other countries aren’t like that.”

Ogaisa and students involved in International Education Week will attempt to open doors for students to the possibility of traveling overseas, but they’ll also show them it’s worth the risk to travel.

“Fight your own fears,” Ogaisa said. “Every time I go, it’s still a challenge. The fear of the unknown kills us, but you have to get out of your bubble.”

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WHAT: International Education Week
WHERE: Various locations around UT
WHEN: Nov. 15 - 19, 9 a.m. - 9 p.m.
WEB: utiew.wordpress.com