In November the YCMES, like much of Yemen, took an official break for the Eid al Adha holiday. During this time, several students took advantage of their free time and traveled to Aden, the famous port city of southern Yemen.
The view of Crater, a district in Aden, from the site of the old Zoroastrian temple
Traveling to Aden from Sana’a, one is able to fully grasp the geographic and cultural diversity of the country. Aden’s history as a trading center and its almost 200 years under British rule have resulted in a a cosmopolitan center much different from the capital to the north. One is immediately struck by the wide streets, post-colonial architecture (the traditional ‘gingerbread houses’ of Sana’a are not to be found), and relatively laid back and liberal atmosphere.
Danielle hanging out with some new friends on the beach
During the trip, we made the most of our time by first exploring the old district, Crater. Evidence of its multicultural past could be seen in the numerous churches, Hindu temple and even a defunct Zoroastrian tower of silence. Afterward, we settled down for a cup of tea by the sea, climbed the famous Seera Castle (video above) and ate freshly-caught seafood. And of course, we spent plenty of time on the lovely, secluded beaches!!
Laila (featured in the video below) is participating in a Yemeni-German exchange program administered by the YCMES. Five German students arrived to the College a week ago and will remain here in Sana’a for 5 months. Today, our five Yemeni participants embark on their semester-long journey to Germany. In this video, Laila shares her thoughts about the upcoming trip.
-Mac (Houston, TX)
September 25th was my birthday. A few of my Yemeni friends made every effort to ensure that I had the chance to make a wish and blow out candles just like I do back home in the States. In this video, you’ll hear both the English and Arabic “Happy Birthday” songs.
Last week David and Tik’s two-month stint at the Yemen College of Middle Eastern Studies finally came to a close. During their final hours before heading off to the airport, both had some last-minute cosmetic preparations to handle. In the first video, David gets his beard and hair trimmed.
In the second video, Tik purchases a Yemeni shawl and Mohammad (the store owner) shows him how to wear it properly.
It’s been one week since the beginning of Ramadan – the month of fasting for Muslims worldwide. Almost without exception, Yemenis over the age of 14 or 15 abstain from food and drink from dawn till dusk. In the video above, Jan breaks the fast in a bustling Yemeni restaurant among a group of students from the Yemen College of Middle Eastern Studies. Towards the end of the video, you’ll hear the call to prayer – which is the signal that it’s time to eat.
In the second video, you’ll get a glimpse of what the streets of Sana’a look like at 9am during Ramadan. Continue reading
After a month at the Yemen College of Middle Eastern Studies, Betsy Myers comments on her experience of Yemeni culture and friendships. Betsy is a senior at George Washington University in DC.
The oud is about as close as one can get to a guitar in Yemen. Though it is most often played at weddings and other special events, it is not uncommon for groups of friends to enjoy the instrument in more casual settings. In this video, my friend Ali showcases his skills on the oud as well as his impressive singing voice (which is all the more impressive given the large quantity of qat stored in his left cheek).
–Mac (Houston, Texas)