5 Things You Need to Know About...Kirk Duclaux
What do you miss most about the USA?
I grew up camping in the national park system. Some of my fondest memories involve hiking, biking, and hanging out by the campfire in untrammeled wilderness. I always tried to imagine that I was the first kid to walk the path we were on, or to see the stars at night. The thing I miss the most about the USA is the incredible amount of nature or green space that American has to offer. From small city parks to the vast national park system, the US has one of the greatest natural patrimonies available to any country and I miss it dearly. When my two boys were little we made a trip to Norman and we had to stop every couple miles because there was a new playground to explore! Italian kids do not grow up with decent playgrounds the way most American kids do and what counts as a national park in Italy pales in comparison to what the US offers its citizens.
What’s your favorite part about being able to see students travel abroad?
That is a complex question..... The answers are vast and profoundly important. Imagine a job that requires you to take people out of their natural environment, out of their routine, and far from family and friends. The job requires you to create a series of events, courses, and opportunities that asks them to learn about a subject while at that same time appreciate the way they perceive the world around them. Keep in mind, the job does not require you to change their perceptions - though that does happen more often than not based on their expectations - only to appreciate the differences. So to answer the question - my favorite part about working with study abroad students is seeing their preconceived notions of a foreign culture dissipate like so much smoke. What they were told about the culture is replaced by what they experienced first-hand. As a result, they appreciate that life is full of infinite variety and perspectives and each one is a valid point for learning and personal growth.
Can you translate Boomer Sooner and Live On, University to Italian for us?
Boomerissimo Soonerissimo! Viva universita'
Name your favorite local food.
My favorite food here in Italy is tortellini al ragu'. I could eat it everyday but I think my 'dad-bod' would get a full caloric work out!
You got your undergraduate degree from Cincinnati and your graduate degree from Syracuse’s program in Italy. What attracted you to be a part of the Crimson & Cream?
Going to school at the University of Cincinnati's DAAP was a great experience. It is where I found my found my love of art history. It is also where I found my true love, my wife Charlotte. Graduate school at Syracuse University in Florence was more a stepping stone in my career, as well as an excuse to stay in Europe! Though my experience at OU is more a professional one, I was delighted to find out that OU was so community-oriented and that there were so many opportunities to help develop students into working professionals, as well as conscientious citizens. From the Big Event to the numerous study abroad programs all over the world - from programs like PCS and PLC,and all the other organizations whose mandate is to improve the world around them - OU is place where students grow up knowing the value of helping others. As the Director of OU in Arezzo, I would tell parents everywhere that my children have grown with your children and my children are growing up to be better people because of the experience. I would be proud to send my two boys to OU.