Four years ago when I graduated from high school, I applied to many universities in Iraq and abroad. I remember being so hesitant about deciding where to go. I also wanted to experience living away from home in a different city and making new friends other than knowing my family’s friends in Erbil. After some weeks, I remember receiving a text from AUIS saying I was accepted. It was late at night, and I ran to my dad excitedly with the news. It was obvious by then that my choice would be AUIS, and I have never regretted that. At AUIS, I did not only learn about international studies theories, Plato’s Republic, economics, world history, physics or journalism; I also had the chance to practice them through internships and activities on campus. AUIS strikes a good balance between theory and practice. AUIS is truly unique in a sense there is always so much going on at campus. There is always an interesting guest lecture, an event organized by a student club, a debate, a match, and all of these helped me grow and opened up so many doors. My best times at AUIS were spent taking part in the activities by the student clubs, especially the AUIS student newspaper,Voice. I enjoyed the bittersweet moments and the teamwork while publishing the newspaper. I learned to network and make connections at AUIS. My internship experiences during the last four years with the Iraq Oil Report publication, General Consulate of the Republic of Turkey in Erbil, Development Iraq, International Organization for Migration (IOM), and the Institute of Regional & International Studies (IRIS) were arranged through AUIS. You always find an AUIS staff member, professor, administrator, or alumnus ready to help - whether it is for a class or a job you need to find, or a personal problem. It was at AUIS that I learned how to give to others, without expecting to receive anything back, especially through volunteer work. And I am proud to say that AUIS taught me the true meaning of citizenship and how to engage with my society. At the same time, just like any other American liberal arts institution, it prepared me to be a global citizen where I can understand the complexity of issues in the world as well. It was also because of the education I received in AUIS that I could go to the oldest graduate school of international relations in the United States. Today as I sit in the class, I can make arguments and contribute to the discussions just like any other graduate student. AUIS prepared me well in those four years for graduate school in the United States because of its liberal arts style education. Are you an AUIS alumnus? Do you want to share your share your AUIS journey too? Send it to email@example.com along with one or more good resolution photos. It shouldn’t be more than 500 words, and the email message should be clearly labeled ‘AUIS Alumni Stories’. We would love to hear from you!
Student blog by Dina Meran @dina_meran It was February 9th, the last day of the Fall semester. I was feeling delirious, not from the end of long semester, but from the anticipation of going back to my hometown. I hadn’t seen my family for more than a month and I was waiting for this moment for more than two weeks. I woke up very early, packing and preparing myself from the trip home. I could hear the voices of the other girls outside my apartment. Everyone was taking their bags downstairs and saying goodbyes to each other. As soon as I was done with packing and everything, I felt different from what I was feeling for the last two weeks of school. The pressure, worries and tiredness blew away like the wind. And it was at that time that I changed my mind and didn’t feel like going back. For some reason, I started to feel sad about going back. I didn’t feel like leaving the dormitory in order to return back home. I thought about the last five months and everything I did through the semester. I remembered the times sitting with my flat mates, complaining about our studying and housework. And the times that we all cooked together. I remembered the times we stayed up late until 2 or 3 in the morning studying for our final exams. The times I woke up late and had to get ready in 10 minutes, run to campus, to arrive just as class was starting. The times I had to go to campus for the Voice newspaper’s meetings where we all discussed ideas for new stories and the editorial for the newspaper. The times I had to bear the long, tiring publication days of the newspaper. I had to stay in the library with my journalist friends from 10am to 5pm to review the content of the paper before it was published and had to come up with headlines and titles for the articles. I would get tired and hungry but I never complained because there were 8 other students just like me working hard on the newspaper, trying their best to improve it. I liked the jokes we shared and the friendly environment while working in the library. I didn’t regret devoting all of my time and effort to the newspaper, not even for one minute. The time I dedicated to the Council for International Studies Students (CISS) came to mind. The meetings which I had to set plans with my colleagues in the Council. We all had to come up with fresh projects and arrange events and it was never easy. As a matter of fact, sometimes it was frustrating because we had to arrange the events and meetings during finals exam. I also remembered the outstanding and pleasant meetings of the Jane Austen Society. Those times which we gathered to discuss the remarkable writings of Jane Austen through reading her novel: Pride and prejudice. I learned great lessons in every single chapter of the book. It was enjoyable to discuss the psychology and nature of different characters in the story with the other members of society. Each member had their own different thoughts and reflections about the characters and incidents in the novel. I remembered all those times in this semester and it stuck me that I didn’t want the semester to be over. I wished I could go back in time and redo this semester because I wanted to do even more than I have done. I wanted to use every second of it. I wanted to study more, work harder, and join more clubs and events. I wanted to contribute in other extra-curricular activities. I was sad that the great days of the fall semester were over but sadder for not taking advantage of every opportunity that came up for me. I realized that every semester in AUIS has different valuable opportunities for me to build myself and find out my potential. I would never have the same chance to put my time and energy into my future success. It was too late for me to go back. I couldn’t do anything except hope that I will appreciate and use the opportunities that the next semester offers to the fullest.