Tuesday, April 3, 2012


Lately I've been wondering a lot: what exactly qualifies as success for an exchange student? How is that defined? At our orientation, they say that you're a success if you stick it out through the whole program. I think it's a bit more than that, and here are some moments that I deem as being some indicators of a successful exchange, in this case mine.

1) Embarrassing others: I was at the ice rink with my youngest host sister the other day, and there was music on. So, without thinking, I started dancing and singing along. My host sister said to me "Emma, stop dancing!" I asked her why, and she said no reason...but the reason was indeed clear to me. I consider this to be an outstanding success because the aura of American-ness and foreign-ness that I carry has been depleted enough that I am no longer cool enough to fend of embarrassment of others by my actions. YES.

2) People thinking I am part of my host family's tribe when I wear an abaya. Pretty self explanatory :)

3) My blog being a source of inspiration for future YES Abroad students.

4) Getting fat: Perhaps this is negative in some ways, but in Oman, food is love and therefore getting fat is a sure sign that you're loved!

5) Speaking Arabic: I feel like I can finally actually have a conversation, albeit a brief one on limited topics, in Arabic. With simple topics, I can have a conversation 95% in Arabic, and I know all of the basic words and expressions used in Omani colloquial. Along with this goes understanding Arabic, which is amazing. I often completely understand when people talk to me, which is an amazing feeling!

6) Buying Omani clothing: Yes, this is an outrageously vapid point on my list, but I just bought my first jalabiyya and I am very proud of myself. Admittedly, my host mom did the bargaining for it, but I feel very excited that I picked it out on my own! And it is awesome--so awesome that I might just be the Oman-obsessed kid who wears it to Senior Prom next year.

7) Being outrageously out of touch with American affairs: Sometimes I regret this one too. However, I know what's going on in Oman and Middle Eastern events, and I think that is very important. If I only knew about American affairs, I would be trying to live in another life of mine. Knowing more about the situations in Israel/Palestine and Syria are honestly more important to where I am right now than knowing about the Republican Primaries.

Anyways, I liked to consider that the cumulative efforts of the last seven (GASP!) months have been a success, and that the next two and a half will be even more successful! 

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