Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Next stop ... Saudi Arabia

Hello everyone!

My parents and I traveled to Washington D.C. early this morning (Dec. 27) so that I could attend the National Council on U.S. – Arab Relations orientation meeting this morning. My parents and I checked in at the Mayflower Renaissance Hotel, and I then made my way a block up the street to the National Council’s headquarters.

The first thing we did was to get to know each other. All 10 of the fellows are each from a different state, so we are all very diverse! Despite our differences, we are all passionate about the Middle East and we quickly became very comfortable with one another.

We went over some dos and don’ts in Saudi Arabia. For instance, I learned that it is rude to show the bottom of your feet to people and you should avoid eating, passing things, or doing other actions with your left hand.

Also, men do not touch women outside of their family so instead of shaking hands when they meet the female in the group, they put their hand over their heart to show respect without physical contact.

We had many speakers come and talk to us including representatives from the Saudi embassy, Aramco, a board member from the National Council, and a Middle East Foreign officer from the Army. The representatives from the embassy brought traditional dress for us to try on!

After we spent the afternoon together, we were dismissed. Tomorrow’s flight leaves at 6 p.m. and will last about 12 hours. Until then, I’ll just be chilling in this overly large chair in the lobby of my hotel.

xoxo Maddy

— Madalyn Goss is a junior political science major with a Middle Eastern Studies minor.

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