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FLEFF Intern Voices

The Finger Lakes Environmental Film Festival from the interns' point of view

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Posted by Nnebundo Obi at 8:20PM
An African woman with an Afro, smiling in front of a bush with small bright yellow flowers.

Blog posting written by Nnebundo A. Obi, FLEFF Intern, South Setauket NY.

As I stepped out from the aircraft, the hot tropical Vietnamese air hit me before I could brace myself. My presence in Vietnam was no mere accident but rather the result of several years of living outside of my homeland, Nigeria. Ever since I was eight, the search for prosperity and knowledge has taken me on journeys to different parts of the world. I have found myself traveling in search of answers to social ills and my place in the world.

My name is Nnebundo Obi and I am a senior Sociology major with minors in art and the Honors Program here at Ithaca College. I grew up in Nigeria, Sweden, and the US. Born in Nigeria, I moved to Uppsala, Sweden at a very young age because my father got a new job. I eventually relocated to the US while in high school. Living in three countries has forced me to confront my identities and place in the world. Sweden was the first place where I confronted xenophobia and racism from my peers at my new school. I was forced to redefine my identity in a place that was sometimes hostile to me. I found my solace among other international students; I developed a love for intercultural dialogue and experiences. To overcome my sense of alienation, I learned more about Sweden’s and other countries cultures and languages, this allowed me to communicate with my peers.

Just as I begun to feel at home in Sweden, I left for the US shortly after I turned sixteen. I faced similar and different challenges moving to Dix Hills, Long Island. The first two years were the hardest academically and socially but living in Sweden had given me the tools to cope better. There were times where I felt the same isolation that I had felt all those years ago in Sweden. But that soon passed, my teachers, parents, and friends supported me, and I adjusted well in high school. After I graduated, I wanted to experience the world and relive the sense of community I had with my peers in Sweden. I sought out opportunities that would enable me to learn more about global citizenship.

I found my path into a global community by joining the Martin Luther King Jr. Scholarship program during my first year at IC. All scholars are required to travel domestically and internationally to research social justice issues through our individual case study projects. The focus of my case studies was how inequalities within the educational system affect marginalized communities in England and Ecuador.

As scholars, we are encouraged to give back to the local community by volunteering our time and skills to a worthy cause. Combining my passion for sociology and helping others, I started volunteering with the Cornell 4H Urban Outreach Program, whose mission it is to provide mentorship to Karen refugee youth in the town of Ithaca. It is this diverse set of interests and experiences that have drawn me the intersectionality and diversity of the FLEFF festival. After experiencing and learning from numerous courses, professors and challenges, FLEFF has the space that combines everything that interests me. Interdisciplinary collaboration, art, domestic and international social issues among other things.

I am a FLEFF blogger because I am interested in learning more about how FLEFF combines diverse artistic expression with intellectual discourses and ideas. I am looking forward to experiencing films, workshops, and dialogues. I am looking forward to learning more about how impactful interdisciplinary work is accomplished. Given my minor in art, I am also excited to discover the ways in which artists and scholars use art, music and social justice to create thought-provoking pieces.



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