As a high school counselor, I am looking for opportunities to connect American and Kurdish students for cultural growth.

Traveling to Kurdistan in 2009 was my first opportunity to learn about Kurdish culture and meet families from diverse backgrounds. I was inspired by the hope the Kurdish people
maintained despite the challenges they faced in a post-Saddam Iraq. Many families are dealing with past atrocities and trauma, relocation, and rebuilding infrastructure.

Having worked as a high school counselor for eighteen years, I was particularly struck by the enthusiasm of Kurdish students to learn and experience new things. Some of the students at our high school created a humorous video greeting to share with the Kurdish students, showing clips of life for an American high school student. This exchange was a highlight of the trip for me as an educator, for it was a joy to see how students of both cultures can connect through technology.

In 2013, my desire is to continue helping make connections that provide hope and encouragement to Middle Eastern populations, whether through education, counseling, or business partnerships. Since 2009, I have maintained relationships with some of the families I met, and this year, I look forward to seeing them again in person. In addition, I am looking for opportunities to serve longer-term in Kurdistan.

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