Dear All,

The good news is that we have decided to start blogging regularly again. After a couple of dodgy years Yemen is back on the map as a superb study destination, and we have plenty of international students joining us for the summer.

The bad news is that we will not be blogging here on WordPress any more. Not for some time, at any rate. Instead, the YCMES student blog is to be found on the new YCMES website, at http://ycmes.org/index.php/blog.

Visit! Enjoy! Our web designer assures us that you will still be able to leave spam and obscene comments below each blog post, so what’s not to like?

See you there,



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Interview with a YCMES Arabic Student

Aline, a Harvard post-grad, spent her winter vacation studying Arabic at YCMES. The College’s amateur videographer caught her on the way to the airport to ask how she had found her time here…

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YCMES – Visiting Academic

An interview with a PhD student who is visiting YCMES with a view to analysing the formation of different movements and how the revolution has changed them. Madeleine is returning to YCMES in the summer and the staff at YCMES are looking forward to seeing her again.


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Student Perspective


Before departing from Yemen Kenneth  sat down with us and shared his feelings about the year he spent at YCMES.  During his stay Kenneth became a valued member of an organization which serves the needs of Somali refugees in Yemen. Kenneth was able to gain an advanced level of  proficiency in Arabic while staying at the college and we wish him the best in his educational pursuits.

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Student Perspective

Despite the current political situation in Yemen students continue to choose the Yemen College of Middle Eastern Studies as their preferred study abroad destination. Luca Nevola, a PhD candidate from Italy, has had a long history of living and studying in both the cities and rural areas of Yemen. Before arriving in July, Luca had expected to find a Yemen much different from the one he has come to know. During a brief interview Luca was asked how the picture which media outlets have depicted differs from the reality of daily life here in Sana’a.


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The Sana’a Cultural House

Looking through the window and out onto the street in the Old City.

Looking through the window and out onto the street in the Old City.

Yesterday a group of students traveled to the Sana’a Cultural Heritage House – an ancient home in the Old City that has since been turned into a museum.

The house is a fascinating glimpse into the long history of Yemen and Sana’a in particular.

The curator took a minute out of the tour to speak a little about the history of the house.


We climbed to the rooftop just in time to see the city awash in early evening light.

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Bint as-Sahn: The Perfect (Yemeni) Dessert?

Bint as Sahn (“Daughter of the Dish”)  is a traditional Yemeni dessert         consisting of light, flaky dough topped with sesame seeds and honey. Yesterday students were treated to a lesson in how to cook this tasty dish, and now we can share the recipe with you!

  • ½ Kilo of flour
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 large spoon of kreme caramel
  • ½ spoon of yeast
  • ½ spoon of salt
  • ½ spoon of sugar
  • ½ cup of sumun (ghee or clarified butter)
  • A little vegetable oil
  • Sesame seeds
  • Black sesame seeds
  • Honey, as much as you like!
  • A large, round baking tray (we used metal)

1. Heat up the sumun until it liquefies

2. In a large mixing bowl, put in your flour, yeast, kreme caramel, sugar, and salt

3. Make a hole in the middle of the flour

4. Put in your two eggs and one cup of liquid sumun

5. Add enough water and begin kneading with your hands. Slowly add water as needed until your dough reaches a gooey buy firm consistency. After about 6 minutes of kneading, add a small palmful of vegetable oil.

6. Once the dough is suitable solid, cover it with a plastic bag and let it sit while you grease the baking trays with a little leftover sumun and flour

7. Take little fist-sized balls of the dough and place them in the pan until you have used up all the dough. Then roll the balls until they are smooth and solid. Cover with plastic when you finish.

8. With the back of a spoon, lightly spread a little vegetable oil over each one.

9. Take a ball and put it on a well-floured surface. Flatten it out with the tips of your finders. Then toss it back and forth like a pizza, widening and flattening the dough until it is very thin (much thinner than pizza would be!). If it rips a little, its not a huge problem.

10. Place the dough in an empty baking tray and spread it out, pinching the sides to the sides of the tray.

11. Repeat the flattening process with each ball of dough. For one tray of bint as sahn you want around 8-9 layers of dough.

12. After you have applied the second layer of dough, drizzle a mixture of liquid sumun and vegetable oil over the dough. Spread about and repeat for each successive layer.

13. Once you have reached your top layer, drizzle sumun and vegetable oil and then spread the sesame seeds over the top.

14. Bake in a hot oven for around 10 minutes, or until the dough looks cooked. You do not want it too crispy – remember, these are very thin layers and will cook quickly!

15. As soon as the bint as sahn is removed from the oven, pour as much honey on top as you like, cut yourself a slice, and enjoy a bit of Yemeni cuisine at its finest!!


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