Howdie Tuana Ozok!

Ozok is a senior who loves to travel and explore new things.


Mari Alvarez

Ozok posing in front of the peaceful scenery of Tanzania.

By Kabria Earp, Staff Writer

The Wrangler: In all of your life, where have you lived? 

Ozok: In my life, I have lived in Istanbul, Turkey – which is where I am originally from. San Francisco, California; Richmond, Virginia; Scottsdale, Arizona; Reno, Nevada; and now in Sugar Land, Texas! I have also visited several other states and countries! 

The Wrangler: Which destination has impacted you the most? 

Ozok: The destination that has impacted me the most has definitely been Arizona! In the fourth grade, I found my love for the violin and played for around seven years. Here I was also able to attend group classes at Arizona State University where I had some of the most wonderful orchestra teachers I have ever had and will never forget! 

The Wrangler: Which place has been your favorite place to live? 

Ozok: My favorite place to live in has probably been Arizona or Texas! I lived in Arizona for close to five years and I still love talking to all my friends I went to elementary school with while I was there. I also love Texas because I have made so many amazing friends here and have plans to continue my education here! 

The Wrangler: What has been your greatest challenge? 

Ozok: One of the greatest challenges I had to overcome when I was younger was both the language and cultural barrier I experienced. When I moved to the states at five years old, I had never learned any English in my life, making it even harder to make friends in kindergarten. I would go to school crying for months, not wanting to talk to any of the other kids and teachers. I eventually started to pick up more words while still studying Turkish at home with my parents so I would not forget my native language, and now, I am fluent in both English and Turkish! 

The Wrangler: How has your ability to make friends shifted with each move? 

Ozok: Moving around a lot made it pretty easy to get used to meeting new people, so I feel like my ability to make friends was a lot easier and not as stressful with each move we made, especially as I got older.  

The Wrangler: What advice would you give to someone who has or is moving? 

Ozok: Don’t stress yourself out. I promise it will make it 10 times harder on yourself! Keeping an open mind to meeting new people and getting to see new places always helped me to not feel anxious when moving. It’s always sad leaving all the people you knew at your old home, but just remember the new experiences you’re going to get to live through, and you’ll always be able to reach your old friends and family with a phone call! 

The Wrangler: How has moving impacted your relationship with your family? 

Ozok: As I got older, I understood the reason for us moving around so much, whether it be a promotion my dad had received or a transfer to a new hotel where he could grow his career more, but earlier on it was difficult. When I was younger it did not make sense as to why I always had to make new friends in a new place every few years, which definitely could make things tense whenever I was begging us not to move, but now I am so grateful for all of the places we have moved and all of the friendships I made all with my parent’s never-ending support towards my education.  

The Wrangler: How has your senior year been so far? 

Ozok: My senior year so far has been going amazingly. I was so fortunate to have been given the opportunity to travel on a medical internship program to Dar Es Salaam, Tanzania in Africa over winter break! Over the course of two weeks, I learned everything that goes on behind the scenes at a private university hospital in Dar Es Salaam and made long-lasting friendships with my peers who traveled with me and the doctors at the hospital. It was an eye-opening experience that showed me how people in different parts of the world practice medicine and also allowed me to experience a wonderful new culture in the heart of Tanzania! 

The Wrangler: How has your background impacted your ability to be successful in life? 

Ozok: My background has helped me in many ways because I am so fortunate to have grown up in a family where I was able to learn both my native language and English at the same time and learn about my culture while in the states. All of the friendships and places I’ve gone to have given me so much knowledge and amazing relationships in new places and I believe this will allow me to grow and be successful in the future! 

The Wrangler: Do you have any further comments? 

Ozok: Always live your life to the fullest! Don’t be afraid of new things that come your way and keep an open mind to new opportunities!