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International Students' Day

Feature Story

Bringing the World to OU

See a day in the life of some awesome international Sooners.   

With over 2,000 students from 100 different countries, the Sooner Family is full of students with different cultural backgrounds and experiences from all over the world. In celebration of International Students' Day, get to know a few members from the community of international Sooners.


Sabrina Vivar spends most of her time sitting in Bizzell Memorial Library, catching up on homework or studying in between classes. As a freshman International student studying Petroleum Engineering, she has plenty to focus on.


Growing up, Sabrina lived in Guatemala City, Guatemala. As she began to think about the transition to a university, she knew she needed to find a place that felt like home. However, Sabrina also wanted the university to have a great Petroleum Engineering program. “It was really important for me to find the right fit and I did a lot of research,” said Vivar. That’s when she found OU. For Vivar, it had the best of both worlds.


“As soon as I got here I fell in love with the campus, the vibes, and the community.”


Sabrina Vivar
Sabrina Vivar

Since coming to OU, Vivar has been involved with extracurriculars like the Peruvian Student Association, which selected her to be a queen candidate for the OU International Advisory Committee prom. Any free time she has left outside of academics and organizations, she spends with her friends, watching Netflix and obsessing over all things coconut.



Vivar’s journey to OU hasn’t always been easy. Vivar says the most challenging part of being an international student the language barrier. “There are some things you can’t express the same way in English than you would do in your first language,” says Vivar. Although she grew up learning English in school her whole life, Vivar didn’t feel used to having “normal” conversations in English. Adjusting to that was hard for her. Vivar also struggles being away from home, her family, and her friends.


“It's kinda hard when there are certain experiences throughout college that you would like to share with them.”


Sabrina Vivar


After graduation, Sabrina plans on getting an MBA and working for an oil and gas company. But that’s after she fulfills her dream of travelling to Thailand, the largest producer of her favorite type of coconut.

Max Ferguson

Max Ferguson was born in Hong Kong and lived there for 12 years and Thailand for the other 6. Growing up, Max would start her day with a trip on the subway to get to her international English-speaking school.


As Max began her college search, she knew she felt more comfortable in large cities, which made the prospect of coming to OU even more terrifying. Until she received her acceptance letter. Once Max opened up her letter and saw it was handwritten by an OU admissions staff member, it gave her the courage to step outside of her comfort zone. She felt like she was already part of the family. 


Max Ferguson
Max Ferguson

Since coming to OU, Max’s daily life looks a lot different than before. She lives on campus so she has a much shorter commute and more free time to interact with other students. She enjoys  learning the quirks of regional Oklahoma slang  weren't included in typical English course curriculum.


The one thing Max does miss about home is the unique Hong Kong cuisine that’s hard to find anywhere else. But, Max says she did learn how to order at fast food restaurants. “I don't know if Americans notice this, but there is definitely an art to ordering food at the little chain restaurants all over. You either know it or you don't,” says Max.


Max says one of the biggest differences between her hometown universities and OU is the “palpable OU spirit.” While she admits it might sound cheesy, OU is a community with more than just academics. She enjoys all the extracurriculars and opportunities to build her community and hang our with friends, an aspect of college life she feels like the large universities in Hong Kong lack.