July 20, 2014 —
To many people, a year is a long period of time; but to others, a year is brief and fleeting, with hardly enough time to capture all of the experiences one wishes to have. In the International Student Management Office (ISMO) at NDU, we feel both of these perspectives. Each summer, we experience the bittersweet experience of saying good-bye to those we have known so well the previous year and welcoming in new students and families who will soon become close friends.
This summer, we have had the pleasure of welcoming two groups of International Fellows (IF’s)—those who will attend the National War College (NWC) and the Eisenhower School (ES) through the International Fellows Program, and those will attend the College of International Security Affairs (CISA) through the International Counterterrorism Fellowship Program.
The NWC and ES International Fellows are here to not only earn a degree but to also experience and get a better understanding of American culture and government. They do this through the Field Studies Program in which they embark on trips throughout their year around the United States. Their purpose is to learn about various social, political, and economic aspects of the country through visiting businesses, government institutions, universities, and cultural sites. The CISA Fellows also have opportunities to travel but take part in a more specialized training program focused on counterterrorism studies, culminating in a thesis.
Each class that comes through the International Fellows program is unique, and this year’s class is no exception. Hailing from 64 different countries and speaking a total of 59 languages, there are 102 officers who arrived on campus this summer for the Class of 2015. Forty-two of the Fellows will attend CISA, 28 will attend ES and 32 will attend NWC. Sixteen more Fellows will arrive in the fall for the Homeland Defense (HD) program along with 5 international attendees of the iCollege’s Advanced Management Program (AMP).
The year is already off to a fast start. The ES and NWC Fellows traveled on their first field study to Montana—arguably one of the most memorable field studies of the year. There they were hosted by residents of Bigfork where they learned more about local government processes in the U.S., visited a Blackfeet Indian Reservation, and spent a day at the state capitol building in Helena speaking with state government leaders. Finally, they were also able to see the majesty of Glacier and Yellowstone National Parks. This trip allowed them to get to know each other and form a bond that lasts much longer than their year at NDU. There were many traditions and “firsts” on this field study. Amesinlola of Nigeria experienced his first snow, making snowballs at Glacier National Park. Lior, of Israel, wore a tie for the first time; the tie was one passed down from a previous fellow from Israel, and he intends to pass it to the next fellow.
The CISA International Fellows, who arrived a few weeks after the NWC and ES fellows, have also jumped quickly into the year. They spent a day touring Washington D.C., including Arlington Cemetery where the class leaders had the honor of laying a wreath at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier at Arlington National Cemetery. Fadi, of Lebanon, has taken on the role of class “sheriff” in order to keep discipline and morale high in briefings and activities. Family members have completed a week-long intensive English training program. The Fellows and their families have already started the bonding process which will last beyond the year.
We value our time getting to know the Fellows and their family members and learn much from our associations with them. Throughout the year, we will have opportunities to learn about their culture through holiday celebrations, international lunches, and traveling together. There will be countless unforgettable stories, moments, and laughs shared. The Class of 2015 will surely prove to be yet another outstanding addition to the university.