STUDENT SPOTLIGHT: Allie Christianson

Allie Christianson
Allie Christianson

Name: Allie Christianson
Major/Minor: Global Studies and Political Science with minors in French and Human Rights & Humanitarian Affairs
Hometown: Omaha, NE
Year at UNL: Senior

Favorite book and why: It’s always hard to choose a favorite anything, but one of my favorite books is The Rape of Sita by Lindsey Collen. I first read it in my Intro to African Lit class with Dr. Muchiri my freshman year, which I highly recommend taking for anyone in Global Studies, and I fell in love with Collen’s style of writing and subject matter. It tells the story of a woman remembering a rape that she had repressed. I’ve always been interested in the language used to describe internal and mental struggles by those who are experiencing them, and Collen uses very dynamic concrete language to describe what’s going on in Sita’s mind as she’s digging up a memory that she buried so deeply. It’s a very powerful story and text.

Favorite movie and why: My favorite film is definitely Loving Vincent. It’s an oil-painted animated film about Vincent van Gogh’s life and the mystery of his death. More than one hundred artists came together to paint the impressionist paintings that made up each scene. It’s a beautiful and touching film, and the song at the end made me cry.

Why Global Studies? When I first chose Global Studies, I was a senior in high school filling out college applications and I had to figure out what I wanted to do with my life. I had some pretty big dreams; I had just started to wake up—to neocolonialism and the whitewashing of everything I had learned in high school—and I wanted to do something about it. I wanted to learn. I didn’t want to be another white westerner to go abroad with glossy-eyed intentions and end up doing more harm than good, so studying global studies felt like the right thing to do to become more aware and learn how I could make the best positive difference.
I added another major and two minors, with a 3 year-stint with a third, but I’ve always considered myself Global Studies before anything else. Global Studies has shaped my mindset for approaching other disciplines. I had some foundational courses that have shaped my worldview and that I think have allowed me to become a much better person; I loved the Sociology of Race and Ethnicity with Dr. Werum, Intro to African Literature with Dr. Muchiri, and, of course, Intro to Global Studies with Dr. Emira Ibrahimpasic.
Some of the best experiences I’ve had with learning and growing as a person have come from going alone to community events in Lincoln. As a freshman, I went to The Ross and watched a documentary on toxic masculinity, called The Mask You Live In, I started going to inclusive feminism workshops at Indigo Bridge, and I volunteered for a phone bank with Nebraska Appleseed for the 2016 General Election. I had to stop attending the inclusive feminism workshops due to a scheduling conflict with my RA meetings starting my sophomore year, but the knowledge and openness that I gained there has stayed with me everywhere I go. I continued my relationship with Nebraska Appleseed and had the most wonderful experience interning with them last summer (2018) and fall. If there’s one bit of advice I can give to other global studies students, it would be: 1) take the Sociology of Race and Ethnicity with Dr. Werum. She’s an amazing professor, and I am so thankful to have learned so much from her; and 2) go to events that seem intimidating, where you think you’ll be challenged to look at the world in a new way and tackle your deepest biases.

Study Abroad experience: This semester, I am studying abroad at Sciences Po Aix in Aix en Provence, France. Sciences Po is a grande école that has a campus at several universities throughout France, and I’m studying at the one at Aix-Marseille Université. I’m taking classes in EU law, French, gender and politics, and democracy and new technologies. My favorite class is Gender and Politics because we’re going through historical and contemporary political thought through a feminist lens, and it’s fascinating to reconsider everything I’ve been studying for the past 3 years through this new lens.
Being in Aix en Provence has been wonderful. It’s a beautiful southern city with an affordable and expansive public transportation system. It’s pretty easy to travel to nearby cities for a couple euros and visit the monuments, museums, and beaches. So far, I’ve visited Les Calanques in Marseille, a beach and food festival in Cassis, Romanesque churches in Toulouse, and hiked Sainte Victoire (the mountain that Cezanne painted). All the buildings for Aix-Marseille Université are spread out throughout the city. Mine is in the middle of the city center, which is half an hour away from my dorm, so I get to do a lot of walking every day past all the food, clothing, and flower markets. It’s beautiful.
While I’m here, I’m also completing a service-learning project for HRHA 400. I am volunteering for an after-school program for one of the elementary schools teaching English. I get to work with the most adorable little kids helping them learn basic English vocabulary, phrases, and cultural practices of the U.S. so that they can develop their language skills and have better opportunities later in life. A lot of students here want to learn English because it’s a language of power, and it helps them have better work opportunities in the foreign service, EU, tourism, and other sectors. As the semester goes on and their language skills progress, my goal is to spark conversation about human rights and connect it with our English lessons.

Post-Graduation Plans: After graduation, I hope to work for a local nonprofit doing social justice and community building work. My goal is to continually learn how I can best use my privilege to amplify the voices of those who are underprivileged and disempowered and to work together to fight institutional discrimination.