Student blog by Khadija Alaa Makki
I still remember the one question I was able to answer from the ten minute interview I had with Adam Hubley, the Manager of the Testing Center at the AUIS. The interview was done to place me in one of the Academic Preparatory Program (APP) levels at AUIS. My English understanding was limited then, and I could hardly understand the questions Mr. Hubley asked me.
After the interview, I was accepted in level two. Once admitted, I soon realized that there was no space available in level two, so I went ahead and moved up to level three. The first two days of attending APP were difficult because I could hardly understand the instructor. Once, the instructor told all the students go to the computer lab. I didn't move from my desk until most of the students left the class and headed to the computer lab because I didn't get it.
Five years ago, we managed to attend classes and learn in a ten square meter cabin made of wood and metal. We felt the coldness of the winter season and the brutal heat in the summer. As soon as class started, we would fight over whether to turn off or to keep the AC on. I recall coming to the cabin during the break, setting the AC at the temperature reading I preferred, and hiding the remote control in one of the cabinets.
Most of the people at AUIS used to know each other; students totaled less than 200, so you could manage to become a popular friend very easy. There was one sidewalk to the main building that almost everybody took to work.
The university has progressed so have I. Today, in my fifth year at AUIS, I have the language skills to ask or answer hundred questions. Professors often require us to write a four page essay about a book we read or a subject matter we discuss in a matter of 24 hours. They assign chapters of forty to sixty pages twice to three times a week. My colleagues and I manage to handle all of these assignments and tasks in English without major problems or difficulties.
The university moved to a new campus that is truly ' state of the art' as they describe it on the university webpage. A single building on the new campus is as twice as big as the old one and there are three of them so far. The cooling and heating systems are centrally controlled so the classes are warm in the winter and cool in the summer without any student's interference or disagreement.
Every time I go to a restaurant or a café around Suli, I see somebody from AUIS. The new campus now houses more than one thousand students, staff and faculty.
Over the last five years, I grew from somebody who could hardly say a few words and make simple grammatically wrong sentences to an undergraduate student who feels confident writing five to ten major papers every semester.
AUIS has grown tremendously over the last five years from a small campus that housed a little more than 200 students into a university that has astonishing buildings and a population of more than a thousand people. All this progress is done thanks to all the committed people who strongly believe in preparing students to become better citizens for a better Iraq.