Two Exchange Students Study at Koya University

News #13, Issue 38Feb 2018| Núcey #13, Jhimarey 38, Mangí 2 Sallí 2018 | نوچەی 13، ژمارەى 38  مانگی 2 ساڵی 2018

Maggie Smith and Carl Breadshaw are two students who are studying at Koya University at the Departments of History and Arabic. Maggie is from Ireland and Carl is from Sweden. Before they came here, they had studied at London University in Sweden. At the moment, they are studying their masters’ degree which is about the Middle East. They will stay in Kurdistan for six more months after that they will go back to finish their MA in their home countries.

Although Maggie and Carl are busy studying, they are doing some other activities as Carl mentions that it is very difficult and it takes a lot of time as we have to work for London University and we have to do our studies as well. We sometimes do some sports like running, jogging, and swimming but, we could not do it regularly as Maggie travels to Duhok every week which is 150 miles away from here (Koya)". It is worth mentioning that Carl is doing his research about (Iranian Kurdish Identity in political arena). In addition, Maggie says that “we are both carrying researches, and I am carrying out a research about Yazidis after Genocide”

They arrange their time and have their own schedule as Maggie says from Sunday to Tuesday she has classes At Koya University in both Arabic and History Departments in the morning, and in the afternoons, they usually have to work on their assignments for their university in Sweden if they have assignments here. Furthermore Carl states that they spend a lot of time having classes and studying here.

Carl and Maggie have had interesting moments so far that they will never forget as they have stated. Carl’s story starts from his first week here in Koya as they went to the cave archeologists and they found an ancient poem from the archeological site and they were surprised that people lived there about 8000 years ago. But, for Maggie it is different as she liked driving to Shingal (Sinjar) because it was a fascinating place for her. After that, they talked about those bad things that they have experienced firsthand during their staying here in Kurdistan Region, "the first thing I don’t like is this social pressure, people are free in some sense if you compare it with other places, but when it comes to sexuality for instance there are hard norms as having sex is not allowed and it is even forbidden before marriage and staff like that. There are a lot of rumors going around that people are telling about each other and the things” Carl said. On the other hand, Maggie thought that the society has a sense of ownership about women and it is very restrictive society were people can't express themselves and practice their full rights when they want to.

What are their plans for the future?

On the one hand Maggie says “it depends, I like doing research and I’d like to continue studying or learning Arabic. On the other hand, Carl says that because they are studying in the Middle East, they can choose any course that they want or interested in, for instance history, science, politics, or environment”.

The story about Kurdistan

Maggie’s story starts in June and she has been here in the summer. She liked the idea of conducting the Kurdistan referendum after the referendum I was looking forward to seeing an independent Kurdistan, as she has a good sense about Kurdistan, but unfortunately it didn’t happen. We were able to tell people about it and explained them the complex situation and place to our people, but it is still interesting and I like Kurdistan”.

Carl also says that "there are a lot of issues that happens around here such as the political situation in Kurdistan right now, I think there are a lot of challenges in this society, but I like people a lot, I think people are friendly and I like meeting them on a daily basis. The society has a lot of problems that everywhere else has. Of course, the current situation will hopefully changes into a better one by the passage of time. Furthermore, they have plans for their future after finishing their studying; for example maybe she will do more researches or continue studying and she is interested in learning Arabic.

In the end, Maggie talked about how they were accepted in that exchange program and come to Kurdistan. She said I found a website and read about scholarship programs and she told Carl and they both applied to it, after a short time Koya University accepted them. So, she thought that they were first students to apply for master’s degree and first exchange students who come to Koya on an exchange program. In addition, they like the idea of exchange program and they think that it is really an essential and important program for students.

Prepared by : Bnar Rashid
Translated by : Koya University Translation Unit (TRU)