Category Archives: New Experience

Turning Dreams Into Reality through USC’s “Dance Off”

By Sabrina Hsu

Everyone enters freshmen year of college with a mixture of anticipation and apprehension – I was no different. Growing up as an international student, transferring from school to school in itself wasn’t as intimidating as knowing it would take a while to integrate into the already-established friend groups in the school. So when I entered USC, I put all my hopes into the Fall Semester Involvement Fair, wishing for an organization that would catch my eye and help me find a group of people with common interests. Out of all the clubs and activities I joined, Dance-Off was the one I had least expectations for, but it is not an exaggeration to say it was the one that changed my life.

KASA Dance-Off is a competition for fall semester freshmen dancers with all levels of experience. As someone who never danced hip-hop before, I went to the first dance workshop with no intention of staying for the rest of the semester. But the passionate and family-oriented atmosphere that surrounded me when I danced with this group of people drew me in, and before I knew it, I was looking forward to the workshops every week. Of course, it was tough – two weeks before competition we practiced dance more than we did anything else, including sleeping and eating. But ultimately, our success during the competition, and the bonding and friendship that came out of the hours and hours of practice and “suffering” were worth it.

Continue reading Turning Dreams Into Reality through USC’s “Dance Off”

Speaking Spanish in Spain

By Jacob Birsen

I spent the majority of my senior year in high school saving up money  to go spend a portion of my summer with my best friend in Spain. For two years, I had been dreaming of visiting her and taking in another country’s culture.  I had taken three years of Spanish in high school and I was finally ready to try out my Spanish in a real world environment.

However, on my first day in Barcelona, I realized that Catalan, not Spanish, was the primary language spoken. The ones who spoke Spanish primarily spoke it at a pace that was too fast for me to understand, so I wasn’t as vocal with the locals as I could have been. Towards the middle of my trip we were scheduled to go visit my friend’s extended family who lived about an hour outside of Barcelona. My lack of Catalan took me from very exciting to this portion of the trip to very nervous. Many of her older family members only spoke Catalan, and the few that did speak Spanish were always speaking in Catalan so it didn’t make a difference. When we arrived at the house of my friend’s grandparents, I was lost. I sat myself down on the couch and was basically waiting for it all to be over. I stayed this way for at least half an hour, completely intimidated by locals speaking a language I couldn’t understand.  Some of the adults tried to speak to me, and although I responded in Spanish, they grew bored of my limited vocabulary and went back to speaking with the main group once again.

Continue reading Speaking Spanish in Spain

Mardi Gras Celebrations

By Lauren Anderson

Green, purple, and gold. Decorated masks, elaborate costumes, lively parties, fragrant food. All of these are commonly associated with the holiday Mardi Gras; in French meaning “Fat Tuesday”.

Mardi Gras is celebrated in various countries around the world, New Orleans, Louisiana hosting one of the most popular celebrations, along with Venice, Italy and Nice, France. While this is the case, many do not know where Mardi Gras originated, or what the celebrations are meant for. Each year, millions gather the day before
“Ash Wednesday,” (usually in the month of February) counting down 40 days until Easter. Generally, those who religiously practice Lent indulge in their favorite activities and foods before giving them up for the fasting of Lent.

Continue reading Mardi Gras Celebrations