Like a Kid in a Candy Store | The American University of Iraq Sulaimani

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Like a Kid in a Candy Store

Sunday, July 26, 2015 - 17:00

Faculty blog by Rachel Laribee, Director APP 

When I accepted the offer to come teach at AUIS, so many friends, family, and colleagues were nothing less than amazed that I had done so. Yet there were so many reasons why this opportunity appealed to me, and several of those reasons were sufficient reasons in their own right. Perhaps the greatest reason was my sense that were I to pass up this rare opportunity, I would look back with regret for the rest of my life. This was simply an opportunity for personal growth and development that I just couldn't refuse.

Now in my second year, I have to say that this has been one of the more fascinating and transforming adventures of my life. Was it the daily interaction with delightful students and interesting colleagues?  The opportunity to explore and photograph so many historic and prehistoric sites I've only read about?  The rich experience of learning an entirely different culture?  The fascinating experience of taking a fresh look at my own culture, beliefs, and assumptions from an entirely new perspective?  Having a base camp in the Middle East from which to explore several other countries and cultures?  While I really can't narrow it down to just one reason or benefit, I cannot imagine that I'll ever be the same because of this experience.  And I'm grateful.

For any who regards oneself as insatiably curious, addicted to learning, new experiences, and gaining new perspectives, this could be the richest "kid-in-a-candy-store" experience of one's life.  Rather than feeling like I'm at work, I've generally felt like I'm on an extended study sabbatical.

I keep in daily touch with friends, family, and colleagues through face-to-face conversation using Skype, G-chat, or FaceTime.  Some occasionally tell me they feel like they're living vicariously through my frequent Facebook, blog or photo album postings.  Yet I know they're getting but a tiny glimpse.  I keep saying to them, "Come and work here!  You'll love it!"  Of course, others continually ask me when I'm "coming home."  All I can say is, "well... not yet!!"