Each semester, one student from each HECUA program abroad takes on the role of student blogger, sending regular dispatches from the field. Ramah Aleryan was HECUA’s student blogger for the Globalization, National Identity, and the Politics of Belonging program in Norway this fall semester, and now she’s returned for a brief reflection on re-entry. Click here to read previous posts from Ramah.
Honestly, I could not have found a better program than HECUA’s The New Norway: Globalization, National Identity and Politics of Belonging. With HECUA, I managed to do an independent research about integration and belonging of Syrian refugees in Norway which is now going to be the thesis for my major. During HECUA, I found guidance as I developed interviewing skills and writing skills – I was provided with the the right connections to do my research. Moreover, I am going to Lebanon to continue my research and to intern with Visualizing Palestine and Raseef 22. Through the volunteer placement, I gained a long-lasting network that helped me to connect me to people in there.
During this past semester back on campus, I have also noticed professional growth in my internship at Colorado College. During my work in Norway with Syrian Peace Action Center, I honed my professional skills like attention to details, giving and receiving feedback, and organizing events. I could notice the development back in my work at Colorado College.
Coming back to college, I felt myself to be a better student, professional and a person. I could have a bigger picture of the world and its challenges. Studying abroad provided me with passion and a bigger purpose in my college career. Studying abroad with HECUA gave me the opportunity to apply academia into real life and find the purpose of academia and how it actually affects lives.
HECUA opens up doors of opportunities if you are ready to grasp it. Through class, volunteer placement, and independent study, I had a holistic approach to the Norwegian reality but also a conducive environment to learn new skills and apply my academic and professional skills through the research and the volunteer placement.
I am excited to continue my journey in Lebanon this summer through my thesis research and my internships.