By Dr. Hanan Naser, American University of Bahrain
As a professor that is always tightened by the academic calendar, summer for me is the only inevitable time of year when all year-round routine halts. I usually find myself at the kitchen table doing Google searches and posting social media statuses, asking my friends and other family members for recommendations on what to do. However, this summer was incredibly funded by the U.S. Government, and was amazingly administered by ITD to give me and another 14 scholars an unforgettable experience!
As soon as I was landed, I was captivated by the city of Boston! Walking in this city has taken me through different time-line gates to learn history and enjoy the beautiful landscape in its parks and along its waterfront. Between the Charles River, Boston Harbor, and the Atlantic Ocean, which all together counts around a quarter of Boston’s area is water. It is also a home for too many museums and top-class universities. I find it one of the most stunning and culturally rich cities I’ve had the pleasure of visiting.
This morning, we had one of the best lectures that I have ever had in my life. The phenomenal of Rick and Rick teaching style was inspirational as it could not only encourage all scholars to extremely be engaged with the two professors, but also could fascinate us with their creativity, curiosity and their cutting-edge spirit in teaching and fostering the entrepreneurship mind-set. The effective showcasing of entrepreneur’s stories that included lots of real examples of disruptive innovations, effective change-making, and leadership were astonishing! Guzman’s session in the social and phycological features of economics has incorporated multi-disciplinary insights for economic and policy implications. We were fascinated by her touching kindness as she has awarded a memorial Bostonian mug for each scholar!
By facilitating meaningful conversations and through shared experiences on and off classrooms, ITD had put together a well-organized program to fosters knowledge gain, supportive relationships, cultural exchange between scholars, and some free time to explore the city or to do some shopping. In line with this approach, the pizza and ice-cream party which we had this evening denotes how ITD team is keen to surround us with a welcoming home away from home. The warm hospitality and pleasant host from day one did not only allow each scholar to build new friendships, but also to be very open to learn different knowledge, culture and have lots of fun. I’ve been engaged in dialogue with incredible minds from different countries in the world that I wouldn’t imagine having an opportunity to get friends from. With each friendship, I’ve been exposed to new perspectives, new wisdom, new lessons, and heartfelt letters. Although we have taken thousands of pictures yet, for me all of them are great and any picture with SUSI Scholars can be proudly displayed on a shelf in my room to remind me of my extraordinary summer in Boston.
As I am writing this blog, I’ve just realized that 50% of the journey has been wrapped up and many of SUSI scholars should start looking around for a scale to weigh their luggage before we depart to New York by next week! It is very true that beautiful moments flies! I would call the SUSI experience a lifetime educational, intellectual, and cultural exchange.
Thanks, ITD and all the 14 scholars for your inspiration!
All opinions expressed by the program participants are their own and do not represent nor reflect official views from the Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs of the U.S. Department of State, or of the Institute for Training and Development, Inc.