We work at the grassroots level throughout the Muslim World to counter violent extremism before it takes hold, to promote tolerance and understanding, and to foster better relations with the United States.
As I sit in my room and think about the coming summer, I can’t help but be filled with feelings of excitement and nervousness about the coming six weeks I am about to spend in Zanzibar. While in Zanzibar I will be teaching English and helping with various after-school activities at the Zanzibar Commercial School.
As I look at all of the resources provided by AUA, I think about what it really means to be an Unofficial Ambassador. When I think of America’s Unofficial Ambassadors, I think of a collective group of people dedicated to enriching the lives of young students and adults alike by providing them with the resources they need to effectively form a lasting relationship on a people to people level, which helps to improve the relationship between Americans and the Muslim world. That in itself is a lot to take in.
Some of the things I’m worried about include not being able to reach the children due to the language barrier between us, as well as my ability to learn how to manage a classroom and to make sure that each student is engaged and involved in class. Even though I’ve been thinking about all of the difficulties that I might encounter, I also think about the lasting effect that my short 6 weeks may have, and I can only hope that I am able to help these children reach their goals and impact them in a positive way.
Through this experience I hope to learn about the culture in Zanzibar as well as myself. I am grateful to AUA for the experience of a lifetime and I hope that I can help to change the minds of people in the Muslim World with regards to common stereotypes about Americans. Being a Muslim American myself, it will be interesting to see how I am perceived by the locals due to the fact that I am Westernized and have the mentality of an American. All factors considered; I can’t wait to immerse myself in an entirely different culture!