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Authored by:
Rawya Abu Hajleh

Person of the week: Elia Martin

Hello CIEE and welcome back to a new semester and a new year! 2020 has many amazing things in store for our students here at Sharjah, and our first few weeks have kicked off with a bang. Our students are excited to explore the area around campus, and have dived into their studies. Elia Martin notes that he his most excited about his Arabic Heritage course, where he is learning a lot about Arabic and Islamic culture. He also states, “the biggest difference has been the small class sizes. I’m in classes currently that have only 20 students, and it’s so different from my home school where lectures were always 100+ students. It’s cool to know that the professors here will know me and who I am, and I will know them too.” Right on, Elia! We can’t wait to get to know you too. 

            Here at CIEE, we aim to not only give our students a holistic on-campus experience, but also a country wide adventure. Elia shared with us this week about his adventures at Khorfakkan, a small town a few hours away from campus, where he went hiking with some new friends he met. “We woke up at 6 am and got into a car and drove to this place, and it was so rewarding watching the sunset come up through the mountains. It took about 3 hours longer than we anticipated, but it was an awesome experience, especially being around non-exchange students.” A good morning hike is exactly what we need for a great start to a year! “People here are very friendly and welcoming, which is really nice,” he adds. 

            Elia being our person of the week has given us something to ponder: how rewarding is it to meet new people from all cultures, all walks of life, and different nationalities? Many exchange students across the globe struggle with reaching out to local students, and tend to stay in their own little exchange bubble. One of our biggest challenges at AUS is finding our circle, maintaining our group and going with the flow. AUS is such a special campus because of its colorful diversity and glimmering opportunities, and taking advantage of that will be one of the highlights of your lives, and will add to an experience that will live in your heart forever. 

            So, next time you’re choosing between McDonald’s and the local paratha shop, or when you’re torn between going clubbing or visiting the desert, remember that these few months will flash by, so make the most of them! Look for experiences that you wouldn’t normally have access to back home. Take risks, make new friends, put yourself out there, and have fun!

 

See you next week, CIEE! 

 

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