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Four AUK Students Participate in the Dartmouth-AUK Internship Exchange Program During Summer 2016

Since 2006, AUK students have travelled to Hanover, New Hampshire, USA to immerse themselves in true American academic college experiences at Dartmouth College. This opportunity comes as a result of the Dartmouth-AUK Internship Exchange which was a component of the Dartmouth-AUK Memorandum of Understanding. The student exchange program offers students internships in various disciplines and promotes professional and personal growth in academia and labor productivity.

This summer, 4 AUK students participated in the exchange program: Budour Al-Ansari, Vincent Puyat, Hadeel El-Liethy, and Omar Khalil. Each student interned in departments and programs that ranged from Budour's internship at Dartmouth's Office of Communications, Hadeel and Vincent's internship at the TUCKGO-office- that enabled MBA students to have first-hand experiences of different cultures through travel-to Omar's intensive two-week SISMAT program that explored the ins and outs of hacking, including ethics and creative techniques.

Each student gave a detailed account of their month-long experience at Dartmouth. Their tales included many anecdotes involving several aspects of their lives that would undoubtedly be affected when one delves into a new environment and culture. The following section details some of their experiences that would shed light on what future exchange students could look forward to and expect during their time at Dartmouth:-

Culture, Environment & Activities
The students who participate in this program not only represent AUK, but Kuwait as a whole. Therefore, they have the opportunity to represent one culture, while exploring another in ways that would bridge cultural gaps and stereotypes. Bedour Al-Ansari says, "Not only is the environment friendly in Hanover, but the people are too. Once, while I was eating my lunch alone in the diner, two Dartmouth students asked if they could join me at the table, which gave me an idea of how friendly the students are." The ability to communicate with locals initiates a mutual understanding of customs and tradition.

While most of their time is spent on the Dartmouth campus, the students did have the opportunity to explore their surroundings. Led by program manager for the Dartmouth-AUK Program, Elizabeth Hindmarsh, many outdoor activities were planned to immerse the students in their new surroundings. Hiking beside the Connecticut River and the Gile Mountain Tower Trail, kayaking and paddle boarding are a few that the students experienced during their stay. They were also able to attend the 4th of July Hanover parade, which made for a well-rounded cultural experience between nature and history.

There was something to be learned in every aspect of the students' time at Dartmouth; through this experience, they learned lessons and acquired skills that can not only be beneficial for their professional careers, but can also be utilized in their academic careers as well. While Budour audited a history class she found herself inspired by the other students to participate in a class debate, "Some of the students who contributed were very energetic, ready to share their ideas with everyone. I hope that this taught me a lesson to always speak up in class and to never be afraid to participate in future classes." Omar Khalil signed up for Dartmouth's two-week intensive SISMAT program; he claims, "I feel that my cognitive ability and problem solving skills are now in a state that is much more developed than it used to be before undertaking the SISMAT program, which I believe was the aim all along."

Work Experience
A part of the internship at Dartmouth is to work in an office environment, which provides the students with a glimpse of what is to come after they graduate. Hadeel El-Liethy and Vincent Puyat both interned at the TUCKGO office which involved sending MBA students abroad to learn about other cultures. The office consisted of three teams and the students had the opportunity to work for all of them which gave them a deeper understanding of how the department operated. Hadeel said, "Working and researching for all three teams was beneficial not only to the team but to myself too. I learned how to deal with ambiguity in instructions that were given to me at work. I was able to research and use their library database (which was HUGE by the way) and accommodate my own needs." Self-sufficiency and effort are important attributes for anyone entering the workforce, and the students were able to acquire these skills through their internship.

Personal Growth
For several of the students, it was their first time travelling alone for a long period of time. This gave them courage to rely on themselves and prompted them to organize their schedules to be efficient with their time. They faced challenges from delayed flights, figuring out local bus routes, to encouraging themselves to speak up in class, and living up to the responsibilities they were entrusted with.

This summer marks 10 years since Dartmouth has welcomed AUK students for the purpose of this program. Students have returned with confidence, drive and knowledge which would undoubtedly serve them greatly in their future endeavors.

From Left: Omar Khalil; Vincent Puyat; Hadeel El-Liethy; and Budour Al-Ansari

Released by the Office of Public Affairs on the 1st September 2016

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