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Extreme Field Trip: Junior honors student writes home from field trip to Kuwait

Published: Monday, October 18, 2010

Updated: Monday, October 18, 2010 16:10

Taylor Grayham

Taylor Grayham, a junior honors student poses with a camel in Kuwait. Grayham is visiting Kuwait with Gil Fowler, chair of the Department of Journalism, and three other honors students for a study abroad trip as part of a project for the International Studies Department. Grayham, Fowler and the other students will be in Kuwait from Oct. 9 to Oct. 20.

 

Oct. 11, 2010

We arrived in Kuwait just after midnight today. Our first day included a tour of the Gulf University for Science and Technology (GUST), a discussion panel and shopping of course!

I noticed several interesting things about GUST. For example, none of their students live on campus, and male and female classes are segregated. In fact, there are designated hallways for males and females!

During the discussion board, we answered many of the students' questions about the United States. Most of them were amazed that we do not have housekeepers, drivers, etc. This is a regular occurrence in Kuwait.

We tried to explain that this is not a disadvantage of living in America, but rather that we appreciate and enjoy the independence. Otherwise, the Kuwaiti students seemed to be very similar to American students.

They love Facebook! They all wanted to add us as friends. And although the method of dating in Kuwait is quite different compared with ours in America, boys and girls interacted frequently during the discussion group (after all, it was allowed to be co-ed). Everyone was extremely friendly, and it was a great first day!

 

Oct. 12, 2010

Our second day in Kuwait began with a tour of KUNA, the national news agency in Kuwait.

We were able to see first-hand how their press system operates. It was truly amazing how many of their covered stories are translated into English.

The English literacy rate here in Kuwait is over 90 percent! KUNA serves as a type of distributor for the news. It serves various publications with articles accompanied by photographs.

The remainder of the day was spent at the textile market. We went through several stores that tailor the traditional dress of Kuwaiti men.

The fabric was extremely lightweight and breathable since temperatures here reach into the hundreds.

Although stores such as these are easily accessed, relatively few people actually wear the traditional "dishdasha." Women's attire varies as well.

Brands such as Chanel, Juicy Couture and Gucci are rampant. It is very typical to see a pair of Coach shoes under a traditional female robe. Many college age girls dress exactly how we do in back home; I was very surprised.

 For lunch, we were treated to Lebanese food. It included cold appetizers, warm appetizers, the main course, coffee or tea and finally dessert.

The food was excellent, and we were stuffed! One of the offerings on the menu was lamb brain, but we decided to pass.

This evening, we attended the 2010 graduation ceremony for GUST. It was very similar to an American commencement. I even heard a few air horns! Fireworks concluded the ceremony, and dinner was offered for all those in attendance.

 It was a great ending to another great day!

 

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