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Women's Colleges Try to Sell Liberal Arts in Middle East

Women's Colleges Try to Sell Liberal Arts in Middle East

Five American women's colleges are taking their admissions presentations overseas — to the Middle East. School officials have been speaking with young women in Bahrain, Jordan, Kuwait, Oman, and the United Arab Emirates.

The appeal to Middle Eastern women is paradoxically natural and awkward. Single-sex education is the norm in the Middle East; however, liberal ideas espoused on traditionally free-thinking American female institutions do not find a home in the conservative region.

Middle Eastern women attending a "Sister" say they enjoy the invigorating political climate on campus. But, one thing did shock many at first — open displays of homosexual affection. One student said:

At the beginning, there were times when I’d have to close my eyes and say, "O.K., I’m at Mount Holyoke, and it’s different." But that lasted only a week or so, and now I have so many friends who are openly gay, and it makes no difference.

Ironically, the biggest challenge for the admissions officers isn't appeasing fears that the schools will be too wild, nor the opposite — convincing them that they are not nunneries. Instead, the schools must sell the value of a liberal arts education, as opposed to a professional degree. Do you think they can pull that off in the Middle East?

Join The Conversation
underyourwaves underyourwaves 9 years
I'm going to attend Bryn Mawr this fall and I love the school. I really hope it works. :)
NYFashionista NYFashionista 9 years
I also went to one of the abovementioned women's colleges- didn't have the best experience but I learned a lot about myself and women. There were already many international students at my school (particularly from South Asia and the Middle East) so I'm not surprised by this move. Hopefully, it'll increase competition. We have some amazing women who choose to go to these schools but I think we need more :)
raciccarone raciccarone 9 years
I remember once my buddy, Kip, and I just graduated school and we moved to NY City. Well, the rents were insane so we had this idea to dress up as women and enroll in a womans only housing facility. Oh, the mayhem that ensued with Sonny, the sexy blonde and Amy, the spirited gal with a big heart! I always wonder what happened to my friend, Kip. I heard he made it big but we don't see each other much any more. :sigh:
UnDave35 UnDave35 9 years
Let me tell you about MY experiences at a women's college - Wait, you probably don't want to hear about that...
stiletta stiletta 9 years
Although I never attended a women's college, I do think of all the work I could have accomplished if I had. So many distractions.
bellaressa bellaressa 9 years
Great idea. I never attended a women's college but I did for HS and I loved it; I believe that it gave me a chance and experiences I would have never had if I attended coed HS.
bengalspice bengalspice 9 years
I hope they do pull it off. My experience at a Women's College is one I would never trade for a co-ed university. I grew so much from being in such an academic and free-thinking environment. I hope these girls make the same right choice that their fellow sisters have in attending the Sister Colleges in the past. I have some really great friends I met from that area that are some of the strongest most respected friends I have. Yeay for Women's Colleges!
meumitsuki meumitsuki 9 years
I graduated from Mount Holyoke a few years ago, and even then we had many women from middle east. My next door neighbor was from Dubai and across the hall was a girl from Iran, I think its great for women of all cultures to be able to come together in a safe environment like that.
bigestivediscuit bigestivediscuit 9 years
YAY - my alma mater!!!
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