Khaleed Hayes (Class of 2005)
Greetings from Abu Dhabi,
I just completed a year teaching English to 11th and 12th grade public school students in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates. Hopefully, many more years of being in the Middle East will come. It has been a very enjoyable learning experience. Directly from college, I entered the teaching field and spent five years at Dobie Middle School in Austin teaching U.S. history. In a desire to challenge and expand my teaching skills and learn Arabic, I relocated to Abu Dhabi. This Emirate is in the midst of totally reforming its public education system in order to transform the Emirate into a knowledge/innovation-based economy.
As a history major, I have been able to incorporate many aspects of the field to my personal and professional life. The different histories and cultures we learned from Southwestern have helped me to establish quality relationships with people from all over the world. From my experiences, even knowing just a small amount of another person’s cultural or national history, they give you respect and appreciate it. It opens the door for conversation.
Furthermore, the historical tools we were taught have helped me ease or even avoid the complications associated with culture shock and have helped me assist others in their struggle to bridge cultural communication gaps. For example, within my school, I have colleagues and students from Somalia, Egypt, Palestine, Jordan, the Sudan, and other places in the Arab world. My historical knowledge and understanding of history of the region and religion, colonialism, post-colonialism have helped me conduct healthy and bridge-building conversations. From these conversations, we have accomplished good amount of progress in the midst of a turbulent, reformative environment.
Indubitably, my professional training from Southwestern’s history department gave me a foundation of understanding, and methods of how to reach understandings, that can lead to better cultural, social, and professional connections.