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Sunday, December 9, 2012

Marhaba--Welcome

On December 27, I will be flying to Riyadh, Saudi Arabia to begin a 10-day tour of the kingdom, led and organized by the National Council on US-Arab Relations (NCUSAR).  Two days after I return to DC, I will fly to Dubai, UAE to complete a semester at American University of Dubai.

This blog will be my primary method of cataloging my experiences in the Middle East.  I have no gift for creative writing, but working on this blog appeals to me as a challenge to write more frequently, a resource for future study abroad students, a means to bridge the gap between Americans and the Arab world created by misunderstanding, and a foundation for my own future writing projects.  My goal is to write about the things that can only be seen by an observer on the ground in The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and United Arab Emirates.  I'll include details that would be withheld from travel guides.  I will also give some advise for travelers or researchers likely to follow me to the Middle East, explaining the many lessons I'm sure to learn the hard way.  My intention is to blog through essays and photos regularly, likely uploading most posts after the weekend (which is Friday and Saturday in most Muslim countries).  Most of my school assignments will be "due by Sunday," so why not include my blog in this scheduling?

I am completely inexperienced in blogging and would appreciate any feedback you may offer.  I anticipate having four types of readers (or, more realistically, temporary surveyors) :
1.) Friends and family interested in what trouble I'm getting into in a foreign country (and because this is easier than teaching my grandmothers how to Skype),
2.) Study abroad students from Troy University who are maybe discouraged by a lack of precedent in travelling to certain places by Troy students or could use some encouragement and advise for the planning stages of their trips,
3.) Students interested in either NCUSAR programs or studying at AUD,
4.) The general wanderers of the internet, drawn in hopefully by pretty pictures or intelligent prose, not embarrassing drabness or immaturity in my writing.

Thank you for taking the time to read this post, but follow me in order to experience these two amazing opportunities with me.


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About Your Author

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Troy, AL, United States
I am a Political Science student at Troy University in southeastern Alabama. I have been given fantastic opportunities to travel to Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates, among other brief trips, to study and glimpse other cultures. I believe there is much to be learned about other people while studying, and I want to share my experiences with you.