Tuesday, December 21, 2010


Thank you to everyone who followed my blog while I was abroad! I had an amazing experience in both my studies at the American University of Kuwait and my travels throughout the Middle East. Through the AMIDEAST Education Abroad Program in Kuwait, I received a Certificate in Arabian Gulf Studies from the American University of Kuwait; where I completed course work related to Arab Politics, Middle Eastern Perspectives on US Foreign Policy, the Culture & History of the Arabian Gulf and Middle East region, and Modern Standard Arabic Language. In addition, through AMIDEAST I was very fortunate to study Colloquial (Kuwaiti) Arabic with Professor Ibrahim Naseer, the head of the Arabic as a Second Language program at Kuwait University. Thank you to everyone at the AMIDEAST headquarters in Washington DC and the Kuwait office, as well as, the American University of Kuwait, and of course, to my tutor Professor Ibrahim Naseer.


While studying abroad in Kuwait, I also travelled to seven other countries; the United Arab Emirates, Oman, Qatar, Egypt, Jordan, Syria, and Bahrain. Throughout my journey, I tried all sorts of new and exciting activities. For instance, I learned how to snowboard inside the Mall of the Emirates in Dubai. I tried my hand at sailing in the Arabian Sea. I went cliff diving in Oman. I tried sand-boarding in the desert in Qatar. I went in a hot air balloon in Egypt. I floated in the Dead Sea in Jordan. I learned how to wakeboard in Kuwait. I got certified in scuba diving in Egypt. I went dune-bashing in 4x4s in the desert in the UAE, Oman, and Qatar. I rode camels in Dubai, Qatar, and Egypt. I camped out in the gorgeous burnt orange color desert in Oman. I marveled at the pyramids and temples in Egypt, Petra in Jordan, and various Roman ruins in Syria, as well as, visited countless museums and mosques. The list of adventures goes on and on. Needless to say, I had an incredible year; I met a lot of wonderful people and had a lot of great experiences that I will always remember.

I am proud to say that I am a National Security Education Program (NSEP) Boren Scholar, as well as, a Gilman International Scholar. These are two excellent scholarship programs that provide funds to students traveling to less traditional locations to study a critical language. These scholarship programs truly afforded me the opportunity to study abroad for such an extended period of time creating a real immersion experience.


A special thanks to everyone at George Mason University who helped me through the scholarship application process. With a special thanks to Dr. Deirdre Moloney (Director of Fellowships and Undergraduate Apprenticeship Program), Dr. Susan Trencher (Dept Chair/Associate Professor of Anthropology), Dr. Alexander Benitez (Assistant Professor of Anthropology), and Erin Mateu and Sarah Mournighan at the Center for Global Education (CGE).


Lastly, I will finally be graduating from George Mason University this spring! I will be receiving a BA in Cultural Anthropology, with minors in Middle East Studies, and Conflict Analysis & Resolution, and a Certificate in Islamic Studies. Furthermore, I am on track to graduate magna cum laude! I am currently applying for employment that could lead to a great career overseas. I am extremely excited for what lay ahead in my future and all the amazing career possibilities. I am blown away by everything that I was able to accomplish and all the experiences I had while abroad, but it is only just the beginning!

And now I leave you with some highlights from the year...

Monday, May 24, 2010

Gulf Studies

I now have my Gulf Studies Certificate!!! AUK gave it to me early so that they could get pictures for a press release that was online and in one of the Kuwaiti newspapers while I was in Egypt. Of course, I still need to finish my final exams next week...But I am apparently only the third person to receive the certificate.

Here is the press release photo of Dr Kelly, an AUK Professor and the Gulf Studies Coordinator, awarding me the Certificate...

Here is a link to the AUK press release: http://www.auk.edu.kw/news/showNewsDetails.jsp?id=10489&ndate=1274081899497&newsType=N

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Dahab Pt 2

I am now a PADI certified Open Water diver...i can dive any where in the world up to 18m/60ft...the coral reef was really amazing. I saw loads of neat fish (parrotfish, Lionfish, Unicornfish, Giant Moray Eel, and lots more...It is amazing how bright (and neon) all of the colors are...

Here are some more pics from Dahab

The view from the Hotel/Hostel

Me and Jon - My Dive Instructor

Sunday, May 16, 2010


I am loving my vacation here in Dahab (an hour north of Sharm El Sheikh and less crowded)...did my first dive today and cant wait to go again tomorrow...my first dive was amazing...not gonna lie, at first it feels like you are suffocating. but then once you calm down and realize that 1) you can actually breathe and 2) you can swim...it becomes wonderful experience. I was at a depth of 10 meters for about an hour...i am actually really liking Dahab its very laid back...loads of hostels filled with back packers and other travellers like me taking advantage of this cheap and still relatively undiscovered hot spot. There is a boarwalk lined with waterfront restaurants, cafes, bars, and shops...There really isnt a beach you just walk down through the cafes and then there is a strip of beach loungers and then water...and the water is nice! and later this week i will be diving in one of the coral reefs...although, i dont have a camera that can go underwater and my instructor recommends that i just stay focused on learning to dive since i am a beginner. But i will get some photos of me in all the gear...i cant wait to go out and get some Kushari later (Yummy)...

but here are some photos of Dahab from this morning

Friday, May 7, 2010

Sharm El Sheikh

I head to Sharm El Sheikh in a week where I am going to get certified in scuba diving.


Basilica of St. Simeon