Ras Al Khaimah, United Arab Emirates, Teleghraph : The Department of International Programs and Partnerships of the American University of Ras Al Khaimah (AURAK) participated in the global “International Education Week” by promoting cultural understanding with a series of events and activities, introducing students to the opportunities at AURAK for Study Abroad and Student Exchange.
AURAK is a public, non-profit, independent, coeducation institution accredited by the UAE Ministry of Higher Education and Scientific Research devoted to delivering an integrated American-style, undergraduate and graduate education strongly focused on the native culture.
The “International Education Week” is a three-day extravaganza encouraging student involvement in the international travel opportunities offered at AURAK. The Dean of the Office of Academic Support Services, Professor Steven Zani, launched off the first day with a welcoming speech of anecdotes of his college study abroad experiences, illustrating how “It changes your life.” He emphasized differences between tourism and travel. Tourism is a short trip resulting in a superficial view of the country and travel is an extended stay in which a person experiences day-to-day cultural traditions. Study abroad and exchange programs allow students this extended experience, providing an authentic cultural experience, teaching tolerance, and changing lives forever.
Day one continued with a presentation differentiating between the study abroad and exchange programs and describing the requirements for each. American visiting student, Tyler Kleinsasser, and French exchange student, Radostina Trifonova, presented over their Ras Al Khaimah and AURAK experiences. Tyler reported about his preconceived apprehensions about living in the culture, but he learned quickly that his fears were unfounded and has felt right at home. He already has plans for future international travel. The day ended with a potluck lunch featuring several international dishes. The rest of the week was filled with international games and a movie, celebrating AURAK’s variety of identities and nations.
AURAK President, Professor Hassan Hamdan Al Alkim, is enthusiastic about student involvement in this program, “The more we learn of each other’s cultures, the more we understand, and the less we fear one another. Programs like these enables us to break the chains of fear and live fuller, more enterprising lives.”