Monday, January 6, 2014

Whew, what a day!

Today we visited King Saud University. KSU was the first institute of higher education created in the Kingdom in 1957. They have over 50,000 students studying at the university, and yes, women go there too.

The girls of the group were sent to the girl’s campus and the boys went to the boy’s campus. Because the girls are completely separated from the boys, once in the girl’s campus, the women can remove their abayas and hijiabs.

Our tour was given by a group of young women who were members of the Student Partnership Program at the university. These young women were absolutely amazing! They are leaders amongst their peers and they have high aspirations. One of the graduates of the university, Rana, who lead our group, is currently teaching at the university. Another young woman Meshail, goes to school at KSU and volunteers part time at the Warif Youth Center.

We were taken on small visits to the central library, many different student organizations, and other buildings around the girls campus. The campus is brand new and some of the colleges have yet to move to the new facilities. The campus was absolutely breathtaking. I think was surprised me most was how driven these young women are. We as Americans see that they can’t drive and wear veils and we automatically think that they have no lives.

Obviously, they would like the right to drive, but more importantly they want to be able to be on the same playing field as men professionally, have careers, be more involved and included in the political system, and have more representation within the Kingdom. Before you judge these women, lift the “veil” and look underneath.

They blew me away, inspired me, and they changed my life. Insha’Allah (God willing) I will keep in touch with them. We then visited the National Museum and saw many antiquities of Saudi Arabia. I learned about the old city, the Bedouin lifestyle, and the Hajj pilgrimage. It was very interesting to learn about pre-Islamic as well as Islamic Saudi Arabia.

In the evening, we went to the Masmak Fort when in 1902, Abdulaziz bin Abdul Rahman bin Faisal Al Saud captured the fort an therefore restored Al Saud control over Riyadh. It was a lovely first day and I’m already in love with this city …

xoxo Maddy

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

#BUAbroad #HuskyUnleashed #CoCurricularLearning

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