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OU Cousins

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Alli Schultz and Clara Schulze

Connecting Students From Around the Globe

Students from more than 125 countries around the world attend the University of Oklahoma. The OU Cousins program aims to connect these international and exchange students with ones from the United States.

Senior Alli Schultz has participated in OU Cousins since her freshman year and has been matched with students from Denmark, Scotland, Spain, and Germany. Schultz, a senior psychology, pre-physician assistant major from Denver, Colorado, said she was drawn to the program because she loves traveling and learning about new cultures.

OU Cousins sponsors events each year as a program, including a BBQ party, pumping carving, a Thanksgiving dinner, an outing to an Oklahoma City Thunder basketball game, a trip to the Chickasha Festival of Light, and more.

Alli Schultz with her OU Cousin at Thanksgiving

Participants are also encouraged to spend time together through normal daily life. Schultz said she tries to hang out with her OU Cousin at least once a month and likes to introduce them to new foods, like pizookies, or pizza cookies. She has also taken some of her cousins to OU sporting events like the OU/Texas football game and an OU ice hockey game.

Last year, Schultz’s OU Cousin was Clara Schulze from Germany. The two became so close that Schulze came to visit when Schultz was recently studying abroad in Italy. Last Thanksgiving, Schulze and her friend, Carolin, joined Schultz’s family for the holiday in Colorado.

“I have a really big family, so there were 20 of us at Thanksgiving, and they just loved it,” Schultz said. “They were like, ‘This is amazing.’ They loved all the food and they were willing to try everything, and it was just cool to watch them experience that.”

This semester, Schultz’s OU Cousin is again from Germany. Rica Lange is at OU as an exchange student from the University of Braunschweig. She is studying English and German with plans to become a teacher and is in her fifth and final year of school, after which she will have both her bachelor’s and master’s degrees.

“It is probably the best chance to get close to Americans,” Lange explained. “You meet them in class, and I think you get along really well, but to actually do something and to spend time together outside of the classroom that’s somehow another step that most of us don’t really take. You have all of those nice events, and I think we feel more integrated on campus.”

For Lange, one of the biggest takeaways from her time in Oklahoma has been how friendly and genuine everyone is.

“To actually spend time with an American and to realize it’s not only superficial, they want to spend time with you even though you’re here for just one semester, has been great,” Lange shared. “They are really open and want to take you to places and drive you to places. I think that was cool for me to really get an inside view.”