Vox Populi is Dartmouth Now’s opinion department. It includes commentary written by members of the Dartmouth community that is intended to inform and enrich public conversation. The opinions expressed in these essays are the writers’ own.
Nour Jaber, a 2014 graduate of the American University of Kuwait (AUK) has spent the past month on campus through the Dartmouth-AUK internship program. For the first two weeks of her internship, she worked at the Hood Museum of Art; she is spending the last two as an intern with the Office of Public Affairs.
Coming to Hanover from Kuwait was a long trip, with long flights, long transits, and an even longer bus ride. But arriving here was one of the most exciting things I have ever experienced. For the first time in my life I was alone and independent, with an internship to complete and a ton of things to learn.
Since I have always shared a room with siblings, even during my years at AUK, having my own room in the dorms on campus was certainly a treat. Nevertheless, it took me a while to get used to all the walking involved, and the first few days I sorely missed the cars back home. However, I soon got used to it and in comparison to the 120 degrees in Kuwait, Hanover’s sometimes rain sometimes sunshine and sometimes just perfectly cool breezy days made perfect weather to walk in. It helped that the town felt like it had come out of a postcard, with the New England style buildings, beautiful blue sky, and greenery absolutely everywhere.
The first few days here were spent walking all over Hanover with lunch at Molly’s or breakfast at Lou’s and walking along the beautiful Connecticut River. I enjoyed my first Farmers Market, and I don’t think I have ever seen such beautiful strawberries, which I ate sitting on the famous Green. I explored the libraries and marveled at the expanse of the campus.
All in all, it was a great first impression.
The next week, I began my internship at the Hood Museum. Though I come from an engineering background, I have always loved art—art history in particular—so beginning this internship was an exciting prospect.
The wonderful people at the Hood made me feel right at home, and I admired their teamwork and commitment to education in this home to beautiful works of art from all over the world. I met with almost everyone who worked at the Hood and they all gave me some insight into their roles at the museum. Because there are no teaching museums back home, I learned things at the Hood I would have never been able to learn anywhere else. I learned how to write curatorial reports and do research for exhibitions, and I even got a glimpse of the intricate work of putting exhibitions together. I also learned how important art education is and some of the teaching methods used by the museum to educate people of all ages.
During my free time I walked to beautiful places like Mink Brook and Nathan’s Garden with new friends whom I had met here. I enjoyed going to the circus for the first time in my life and even got to see the spectacular Fourth of July fireworks. I went to West Lebanon and explored a bit and shopped a little more than I probably should have.
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After I had completed my two weeks at the Hood, I began looking forward to my adventure in the Office of Public Affairs. The sunshine-filled offices were welcoming, and even more so were the fantastic people who worked there. I was introduced to everyone during a welcoming breakfast and began to understand how the Office of Public Affairs works. I met with staff members who told me about their roles. I got a chance to sit in on a radio interview, participate in an interview with artists, and even came up with my own questions for my first article for the College news website. I understood better how social media channels were managed and kept up to date whilst learning more about article writing and photography. I also learned a lot during staff and editorial meetings that I was invited to participate in. Soon my very first article and interview will be published and I could not be more excited.
My experience at Dartmouth has taught me that hard work and commitment pay off and to value opportunities that life affords me whatever they may be. Most importantly, it has shown me that independence is a big but rewarding responsibility.
I miss my home, but I know when I leave I will miss Dartmouth, too, because it has become a second home to me.