NOBLE — Students dressed in cowboy hats and boots with handkerchiefs round their necks kicked up dirt and twirled while learning to line dance at the 18th annual OU Cousins Barbecue.
Student participants enjoyed a taste of the West with baked beans, fried chicken, live music and dancing. Participants in the program had one more hoorah before leaving the University of Oklahoma for the summer or forever as many international students will return to their hometowns after finals.
OU Cousins Allison Nguyen, of Oklahoma City, and Maria Arredondo, of Spain, were paired fall 2013 after they met during Sooner orientation on a golf cart tour. Nguyen and Arredondo reflected on their fast friendship and what each had gained from OU Cousins.
Nguyen, who has participated in OU Cousins the past three years, said she continued to take part in the program because of the insight to varying international viewpoints she had been exposed to.
As a freshman, Nguyen was paired with Chinese student Cherry. Her sophomore year, she was paired with South Korean exchange student Violet.
“I’ve gained a cool international perspective. This year has been my most positive experience so far,” Nguyen said. “It’s really neat because we have so many international students and without this program, they might not otherwise get to interact with American students.”
Arredondo said one thing she enjoyed about participating in OU Cousins was the places she could go with Nguyen besides the big group activities.
“Since you don’t have a car, there are a lot of places you can’t go. We went to Jamba Juice and Pops. It’s good to not go by yourself. And it has been a good way to meet other Americans,” she said.
Nguyen said this summer, she will study abroad in Spain and have the chance to visit Arredondo in Zaragoza.