Thursday, 27 April 2017

Jodi Hicks Visits IXO

Jodi Hicks, Assistant Director of Overseas Programs from Chapman University in California, visited IXO on March 15. She met with Administrative Assistant Lillie de Guzman and the IXO team during her visit. Chapman University is also a listed ISEP Exchange Partner university.

Left to Right: Jodi Hicks and Lillie de Guzman

AUS Wins Moot Court Contest

Three students from the AUS Department of International Studies won the first annual GCC Jessup Friendly Moot Court Competition hosted by Kuwait International Law School in March. The team will represent the UAE in the Philip C. Jessup International Law Moot Court Competition in the US, where they will be the highest ranked GCC participant. We extend our congratulations to them on their achievements! Find the news article at https://www.sharjah24.ae/en/studiesand-research/universities/205491austeam-wins-first-annual-gcc-jessupfriendly-moot-court-competition

International relations students in Kuwait


NDSU Visits IXO

Tanya Kramer, Assistant Director of Study Abroad/International Student and Study Abroad Services, along with her colleague Matthew Dunham, brought 11 students from North Dakota State University (NDSU), USA, for a Friday visit to AUS last month. They were given a campus tour and engaged in conversation with our peer advisors at the IXO lounge.

We thank those in IXO who facilitated the tour and discussions, especially given that this visit took place during the weekend.

NDSU students with the IXO team

Pizza and Conversation

Just before Spring Break, IXO and the Academic Support Center (ASC) jointly hosted a Pizza and Conversation night for current exchange students to have a relaxed discussion on cultural issues related to AUS, Sharjah, the UAE and the Arab/Islamic world. Topics included views on Emirati hospitality, relationships, modest dressing, study abroad experiences so far, and other cultural differences. This event created a positive space, halfway through the semester, for the students to further understand the Arab culture and get a new perspective into their experience of the UAE.

IXO, ASC and students at the IXO Lounge

Bullfighting and Archaeology

Exchange students, along with the IXO team, ventured to the corniche in Fujairah to witness traditional Emirati bullfighting. On the way over, students also made a stop over at the Mleiha Archaeological Center. At the center, students learned about the UAE’s historical Bedouin culture and saw artifacts from the historical village of Mleiha.

IXO team and exchange students at the bullfight

World Patch for Graduates

IXO will be handing out world patches to all graduating students who have studied abroad via IXO to honor their achievements and congratulate them on completing their higher education.

We encourage students who are graduating in Spring 2017 to stop by and collect these badges from our office in the main building (MG 43).

World patch for graduating students who studied abroad

UAE voted best country for study abroad!

According to a survey completed by 8,000 Millennials, UAE was ranked the best country to study abroad (followed by Singapore and India) as reported by the US News. The attributes assessed during the survey included cultural accessibility, enjoyment and cultural attractions. Please find the complete article at https://tinyurl.com/n75ncsd

IXO Participation in Global Day

A couple of our exchange students participated in cultural club performances at the AUS 2017 Global Day. Jade Williams from Howard University participated in the Nigerian Cultural Club performance and Rainie Grant from Butler University participated in the Palestinian Cultural Club performance.


Jade performing with the Nigerian Cultural Club


Rainie performing with the Palestinian Cultural Club

Mohammed Joins IXO

Mohammed Abdelsalam joins the IXO Team as a new Peer Advisor. Mohammed studied abroad at Virginia Tech, USA, in Spring 2016 through ISEP Exchange and has been an active member in all IXO events. We are pleased to have him join our team!

New peer advisor Mohammed Abdelsalam

Zachary Londo Visits IXO

IXO enjoyed a surprise visit from Zachary Londo in March during his spring break in the UAE. Zachary is an aerospace engineering student at the University of Alabama and had studied abroad at AUS in Spring 2016 via API. We hope Zachary enjoyed his spring break here in the UAE!


Zachary Londo with Grace Morales in IXO

Welcome Back

IXO welcomes all students after an exciting and adventurous spring break!

Scholarships Abroad

Former IXO Peer Advisor and international relations major Anusha Grewal is currently studying abroad with a scholarship at Cyprus International University as a visiting student. She had previously been abroad in Spring 2016 as a part of the Semester at Sea program. 

Anusha found schools outside of the US and UK that provide scholarships for international students. She advised that students consider going abroad as a visiting student, as these programs can sometimes be very affordable.

Outbound Summer Study Abroad Process

Are you studying abroad this summer? Please remember that all outbound summer study abroad applications are processed directly through the Office of the Registrar (MG10B). IXO does not collect applications for outbound summer study abroad.

Students can download the Summer Study Abroad Course Approval Form here: https://www.aus.edu/downloads/file/1442/permission_to_take_summer_courses_outside_aus.

Study Abroad, Spring/CY 2018

Applications are now open for AUS students who want to study abroad in Spring 2018, or for the full calendar year of 2018. The deadline to apply is May 6, 2017.

Visit IXO (MG43) to talk to a Peer Advisor about your many options. To apply, or for more information, visit www.aus.edu/ixo or contact us at ixo@aus.edu.

Tuesday, 11 April 2017

A Musandam Adventure

Dr. Linda C. Angell shares a recent IXO adventure:


Every semester, IXO plans a dhow cruise out of Dibba in the Musandam Peninsula for that semester’s cohort of study abroad students.
 
For our Spring 2017 trip, we planned an early departure from campus, with 32 of us leaving at 6:30 am from the Library Roundabout. We arrived at the Omani border by 9 am, and sailed right through immigration without any problems. We parked our bus in the sandy parking lot just next to the marina and climbed on-board our dhow.
 
The weather that day was perfect, and we had a fabulous day enjoying the views, swimming in the sparkling emerald waters in several coves, snorkeling, exploring the little beach villages, falling off the banana boats, visiting the natural limestone caves, having our lunch, jumping off the boat, reel fishing, and catching a barracuda.

By the time we pulled back into the harbor at 6:30 pm, as the sun was setting and the fish market onshore was bustling, we were all tired and sunburnt and happy – looking forward to a nap during the ride back to campus. We jumped into the bus and set off. As we were departing the parking lot, we found the way was blocked by a variety of boat trailers that had parked haphazardly around the entry points. The bus driver saw an incline just ahead that looked like it led to a more spacious area, so off we went. We got about 50 meters before the wheels started spinning, and the bus became mired in sand.

The guys all piled off, and soon were busy working to put stones and wood under the tires, to provide some traction. After a couple of attempts to drive away, the women also clambered down to lighten the load a bit and hopefully, to help free up the bus. 

Over the next two hours, we all watched in fascination as a parade of progressively larger vehicles and bigger crowds stopped by to try their luck at freeing up the bus.  First, a very nice Omani gentleman in a Land Rover with a winch parked nearby, and after a lot of fuss and confusion around the front of the bus trying to figure out the best place to attach the winch, the Land Rover gave it a try.  The attempt drained its battery without any sign that the bus was budging, and the Land Rover had to be jump-started. 

Next, another Omani gentleman in a pickup truck stopped and offered to get the bus unstuck for a mere 1,000 AED. He had a ‘special system’, he told us, that was guaranteed to get the bus out. We talked him down to 500 AED, and told him the money was his if he could get us out of there! He tried, no luck.  So that was Plan B.

Meanwhile, the crowd was growing thicker – it appeared that we were to be the Friday night entertainment for this small Omani village.  Probably, there were 200 people all milling about, in a rather carnival atmosphere! Someone must have called Civil Defense, because they showed up around then, along with some guys in hard hats. There was a lot of conferencing going on. Every effort to move the bus also involved a group of 20-30 people at the back (or sometimes the front), pushing with all their might – it really was a Herculean effort for all involved!

Eventually, a large flat-bed truck pulled up, the kind you see towing broken-down dump trucks, etc. The flat-bed was hydraulically lowered down to form a kind of platform, and a larger winch was attached. After a lot of hubbub, another attempt was made until the chain snapped with a loud cracking sound. Still the bus made no sign of moving. The large flat-bed truck pulled away.


A few moments later, shouting could be heard all around us as a backhoe-type of heavy earth moving vehicle came up to lend a hand. We all thought that this must be the moment we were waiting for, and we were filled with hope and good cheer! The backhoe tried pulling from the front of the bus, and then went around to the back – it tried rocking the bus back and forth – but really that bus was simply not going anywhere. That was becoming abundantly clear. 

Meanwhile, we had been standing on this beach, with no facilities of any kind nearby, for approximately 2 hours, and we were all beginning to feel the need for some personal comforts. The situation was looking progressively more hopeless, and the bus was now displaying cracked windows and peeling paint from all the pushing and shoving. 

Increasingly desperate phone calls to the bus company, and the Transportation people at AUS, were being made while these attempts were going on. It transpired that the bus company was unable to send another (replacement) bus to pick us all up in Oman, as that meant a driver with a visa to enter Oman, and that required a day or two to organize. So, after two hours stranded, the decision was made to walk the two kilometers to the UAE border, where a bus could actually be sent to rescue us.

We started walking, and we must have been a real sight, the 32 of us all strewn out and straggling along the road to the border. Some of our amazing Peer Advisors began flagging down cars and asking if they could assist by shuttling us in groups of 2-3 to the border. The driver of one of the cars we stopped said he had a bus, and went off to get it – a few moments later he pulled up with a bus that was miraculously big enough to fit all of us. Once to the border, we walked across, and over to a pleasant beach park just inside the UAE border – a place where we could sit and rest and where we had facilities and restaurants nearby. There were several families out and enjoying the park, with camp fires, etc., and truly the situation could have been far worse. The moon was beautiful and the stars were out, and we had a football in our midst.




We waited there for 2 hours while a bus was dispatched from AUS to come and get us. The bus arrived around 10:30 pm, and we all clambered exhaustively (but happily) on board. We got back to the AUS Campus around 12:55 am, literally 5 minutes before the curfew! Success, in the face of adversity! And another great story to tell our friends and colleagues.