Hader Serour, a student of Civil Engineering at Dublin Institute of Technology, was the 2016 SUSI in Environmental Issues Awardee. During Summer 2016 she attended the University of Oregon to complete a 5-week academic program.
“When I returned home from my SUSI, settling back into my daily life with the morning struggle of not having breakfast with other 21 European friends, it was so hard to believe that the 5 weeks were over.
Last summer I set out to undertake a SUSI in environmental issues. Rather excited and nervous of what to expect, I had no concept of how much this experience would change my life.
Making new friends from countless countries, from so many backgrounds and ethics made it easy for all of us to spend the 5 weeks together and create thousands of memories of laughs and adventures that I will never forget.
Stepping out of my own culture really helped me to think about Ireland and our way of life in a different way. Having grown up in a place that has not been severely affected by climate change, and comparing this to places like Alaska, has been an eye opener for me.
Learning about environmental issues in different European countries encouraged me to think of the things we lack in our culture and what can be done about that. I feel that my American experiences can definitely help me to promote the importance of environmental issues and their impacts.
Travelling is always fun, but never as fun when you travel with 21 Europeans! All of us had different interests, backgrounds, and a different story to tell. Within a week there was already a strong bond between us. It was enlightening to sit at lunch and talk about different things that we might not have discussed at home, everything from universities, to food and life style.
I am happy to say that my SUSI was one hell of a life experience! We visited 3 states during our stay, spent the day with an American family, and had the best supervisors that made us feel at home with their kindness and support.
A few tiny tears managed to slip down my cheeks as I left D.C for Dublin, I never knew how close our group was until we had to say goodbye. It was very sad to have come to the end of the 5 weeks, but I’m glad to have achieved so much and made friends for life.”