Study Abroad Iraqi Kurdistan

Discussion in 'ROTC' started by Justice254, Dec 1, 2015.

  1. Justice254

    Justice254 New Member

    Dec 1, 2015
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    I'm a new 4-year scholarship holder, and I was looking into studying abroad at the American University of Iraq, Sulaimani. It's an American school, founded and run by a bunch of old George W. Bush era guys, and it's in the Kurdish region. Very safe and offers a lot of good stuff that can't be found in other places - learning Sorani Kurdish (incredibly strategic), Arabic, and familiarity with an American ally of growing significance. The University there also has a fairly serious study abroad program and is in a very safe area - all the professors are American or European and all the reports from them pretty much say it's safer than the US (in terms of crime, terror threat). So my main question is, what constitutes a hotspot that ROTC would not ok for study abroad, especially if it offers such clear benefits in terms of strategic long term significance? Would they shut it down immediately or would they actually consider it and contact the U.S. consulate there (which would almost certainly ok it)?

    I know nobody knows anything for sure. But your two cents are appreciated.

    Thanks and happy holidays
  2. -Bull-

    -Bull- 5-Year Member

    Mar 13, 2009
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    Talk with the cadre at your school. Even with active duty folks, foreign travel has to go through certain channels to be approved. I did know a cadet whose parents were missionaries that lived in Iraq so that's where he would go back to during the summer.

    Also, though I do believe the school probably has good security and is relatively safe, Kurdistan is not in the clear right now. I know guys working there now and it's not sunshine and rainbows.
    Pima and kinnem like this.
  3. cb7893

    cb7893 5-Year Member

    Dec 6, 2011
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    You mean safe, like Mosul? Also Iraqi Kurdistan, currently under ISIS control? Strategic? You bet. There are significant Kurdish populations in at least 5 different countries, including Iran, Iraq, Syria and our NATO ally Turkey, who doesn't even recognize them as a ethic group. Did you read about the assassination of a prominent Kurdish lawyer in Turkey last week:

    The Kurds are the only nation in the region willing to commit themselves, both men and women, to actually fight ISIS on the ground. Iraq is finally on board, but only since they lost so much territory and have to get it back by themselves since they kicked us out.

    Justice, I don't mean to beat you down. The fact that you are interested enough in the area to want to go there despite things you may have read or heard is great first instinct. It is straight out of my playbook 40 years ago. Do your homework and look into other countries in the region. When you say the teachers are American or Euro, that means they will be speaking English. There will certainly be Arabic speakers, but remember it is Kurdistan and remember their relationship to the Arab Saddam Hussein. If anything they are trying to ethnically cleanse the area of Arabs who were moved in by Saddam 30 years ago. You might be better off learning Persian/Farsi in Tadzhikistan or Arabic in Morocco in a truly immersive language environment.

    Best of luck and don't give up on this enterprise.
  4. Pima

    Pima 5-Year Member

    Nov 28, 2007
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    I am with -Bull- on this one. You need to talk to the leadership at your unit. Anything here would be pure speculation. This is a "go up the chain" aspect.

    I would also add you stated you are a "new" 4 yr scholarship recipient. My guess is you are still in HS with the intention of matriculating to American University in DC. If so, than I would think that the ROTC det. knows of this program in an intimate detail/way. I.E. may have cadets that have done this, or tried to do this, and can give a quick, concise answer regarding what it entails.

    No offense, but if that is the case, than enjoy your senior year in HS and wait to ask this until next fall. Nobody knows what it will be like 3 months from now, let alone 18 months. It could be yep you can as of today, but with all of the unrest in that region, it could be nope by New Years.

    ~ The one thing you can bet your bottom dollar on in the military, besides...hurry up and wait, is don't assume just because they say you will go (months in advance) that you will actually go... until you get there, are checked in and they say welcome!
    ~~ Yes, you read that right! It can change at the 11th hour, and it is more common than you think.

    I hope you get that goal, but I am also with -Bull- and cb7893 this is not sunshine and rainbows.
    ~ As an AF wife (DH flew F15E for 20 yrs.. Desert Shield, ONW, OSW, OEF, OIF) and an AF Mom (DS is a C130 driver), I am not sure I would support my DS volunteering as a ROTC cadet to do this immersion.
    ~~ That's a lie...I know I would not. Bullet was in Turkey when Kuwait was invaded and that was suppose to be a fun deployment before he left for it. Nobody saw Iraq invading Kuwait, but they did and the world changed overnight. You are saying you want to go into the rats nest for language immersion. Have you even discussed this with the folks?

    I get it, truly, I do.
    Last edited: Dec 2, 2015
  5. kinnem

    kinnem Moderator 5-Year Member

    Oct 21, 2010
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    One other thing I would add, and I'm confident you thought about this, is that your college would have to approve also. After all, you'll be asking them to accept credits from this school in Kurdistan. They may not, especially if it's not on their "already approved" list.
  6. shockrocks

    shockrocks New Member

    Dec 5, 2015
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    The American University in Suleymaniye is a great idea. I was there a year ago and they do have a great faculty and Kurds in Iraq are the best (they are the most American people group I've ever met). I'd agree with your assessment of security and say as well that you'd be welcomed with open arms by the population. You'd also find a good number of tri/quatra-linguals who did a lot of the translating for American forces ten years ago. Do your research and don't wander out of Iraqi Kurdistan -- expect a huge level of security from the peshmerga, but also a lot of courtesy, generosity and hospitality from all Iraqi Kurds. Suleymaniye has a very interesting mix of educated locals, Kurds who have returned from Europe, and expats. Sorry I can't speak to your scholarship questions though. I just wanted to affirm your desire to go, and tell you it is a safe place to be.

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