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Field Trip!

So, this week was fairly normal; but I still had a lot of fun. The highlight of my week was actually a field trip into Washington DC as part of my Arabic Class. We went to various different locations throughout the city and I had a lot of fun and also learned a lot about different places in the Arab World.

Our first stop was the Palestine Center which presented on the issues between Israel and Palestine, its progression over time, and also possible outcomes. The center is very interesting and displays art that relates to the Palestinian issue. The art was really pretty and I was rather sad that I didn’t have my camera on that part of the trip. Still, it was an interesting presentation and the other students asked some very good questions about the conflict between Israel and Palestine. It was also interesting because a friend of mine who is Jewish and traveled to Israel was a part of the trip and she offered a lot of insight about the Israeli side, but still acknowledged of the mistakes made by the Israeli government as well.

Our second stop was the Saudi Arabian Embassy. The embassy is absolutely beautiful and I really enjoyed seeing it. We were not allowed to take in cameras, or I would have grabbed it first. They presented on the country and also its relationship to the United States and then there was a Question and Answer session as well. After that, they did a fashion show with Saudi clothing – Alyssa, one of my friends, was one of the volunteers and her clothing was truly lovely. They had five girls and two guys model the clothing and it was very neat to see the different styles of clothing they wear.

After the Saudi Embassy, we had lunch and then went to the National Mosque. All of the girls had to put on scarves in order to cover their hair before we entered the mosque.  We had a short presentation about Islam before being able to watch the afternoon prayer. The man who presented was the Imam and the prayer itself was interesting. We also got to go to their bookstore and Phil bought two sets of prayer beads, so they gave him a few books about Islam as well. I am not sure why, but it was very nice of them. We also did a few group pictures outside of the mosque before leaving.

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Our final stop before heading back to campus was the Egyptian Embassy. They also did a quick lecture about Egypt before a question and answer session that focused on the post Arab Spring unrest in the country. The speaker gave some good answers and was actually fairly frank about the issues that Egpyt is having. It was an interesting session, although people were definitely getting tired, and we left soon after the session to return to campus. It was a really fun trip and spending it with Phil and Alyssa also made it more fun. On the way back, most of the people on the bus were dozing and relaxing after the trip.

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