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AUK Sends Two Students to George Washington University on Study Abroad Program Summer Scholarship

Over the summer of 2017, AUK sent two students to George Washington University (GW) in Washington D.C. on an AUK Study Abroad Summer Programs Scholarship. Over the course of six weeks, Leena El Hawary and Yara E. Al-Quorashy took on education and life at a university in the United States capital before returning to AUK. The immersive experience shed light on cultural differences, similarities, and learning and teaching styles across borders that the two students reflected in essays upon their return to AUK.

Learning Inside the Classroom
Both El Hawary and Al-Quorashy took two academic courses during their stay in Washington D.C. For El Hawary this included Cultural Anthropology and Historical Geology, while Al-Quorashy was enrolled in (Level 2) Introductory French and Introduction to International Relations. Reflecting on her experience Al-Quorashy stated, "Being surrounded by students who enjoy what they learn, and learn with persistence and determination to make sure they grasp concepts, created the atmosphere I needed to function better academically. Every student truly cared about their courses, and did not procrastinate or miss class; students strived to impress the professors with the smallest details."

The opportunity to take classes at GW not only exposed the students to a different teaching and learning environment, but helped them discover more about their individual learning styles and what things help them thrive in classroom settings.

Living in D.C.
During the six weeks abroad the students learned to balance and navigate school, fun, and business. These skills will continue to serve them as they continue their studies at AUK, graduate and begin to build lives for themselves—having already gotten a bit of experience being on their own. "One of the biggest challenges I had to face was finding balance between work and leisure. I was in DC for a mere six weeks and was therefore determined to make the most out of it. I wanted to explore the whole of DC, from visiting all the monuments and museums, to going to local shops and restaurants. However, I also wanted to succeed academically, therefore I had to make time for both by finding the right balance," El Hawary remarked. Though finding the proper balance took time, both students were able to explore the city while also succeeding in their classes. They were able to attend baseball games, go kayaking, visit the Smithsonian Institutes, and attend programming workshops and panels held by the University.

Not only did the students immerse themselves in and learn about the GW environment, but they also were able to share pieces of their own culture. El Hawary felt that she was able to enlighten people as she explains, "Locals were interested to know more about my culture and where I am from, which allowed me to represent myself, AUK, and Kuwait as a whole. I was able to bridge cultural gaps and try to eliminate any pre-existing stereotypes." Al-Quorashy was also comforted by seeing how she and people she met were able to overcome differences as she mentioned, "I was exposed to many cultures and met people from all kinds of backgrounds, and soon we became friends and our differences faded."

The American University of Kuwait (AUK) established a Study Abroad Summer Programs Scholarship in the spring of 2016 to enable AUK students to take summer classes at the George Washington University (GW) - Washington DC. The scholarship provides an opportunity for selected AUK students to engage in a short term international academic experience, and is awarded to AUK students providing tuition and fees for two classes, round-trip economy airfare, room and board, and health insurance. This initiative is in addition to a previous agreement with GW to establish a program for undergraduate student exchange. The GW and AUK student exchange agreement allows for nominated students to attend a maximum of two academic semesters (fall or spring) with the other institution on a non-degree basis.

For more information on AUK International Programs, please visit:

About GW:
The George Washington University was created by an Act of Congress in 1821. Today, GW is the largest institution of higher education in the District of Columbia. The university offers comprehensive programs of undergraduate and graduate liberal arts study, as well as degree programs in medicine, public health, law, engineering, education, business and international affairs. Each year, GW enrolls a diverse population of undergraduate, graduate and professional students from across the country and around the world.

AUK Student, Yara E. Al-Quorashy

AUK Student, Leena El Hawary

Released by the Office of Public Affairs on the 26th September 2017

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