Ancient History, Mountains, Kurdish Dance & Food!
Welcome to Kurdistan!
Iraqi-Kurdistan is a free autonomous region in northern Iraq lead by the Kurdish government and its capital is Erbil. It has a population of more than five million people. The official language is Kurdish but many can also speak Arabic and English.
In Kurdistan, you can distinctively experience all the four seasons. Hot and dry during summer and wet and cold during winter.
Kurdistan has a very rich culture and history. The people are very friendly and you will receive lots of welcoming smiles! They love teaching tourists their unique traditional dances. (There are lots of different versions!)
Traditional Kurdish food is very tasty and you can find them in many restaurants, while the best ones are made inside their homes. (Hence host families, so you taste our awesome food!)
Kurdistan has several hospitals in each city and they are gladly accpeting students for exchange programs from anywhere in the world. Most of the doctors speak English very well and if you ecnounter patients who can't speak English, you can ask your colleague medical students who are taking the same training course or the doctors for translation and they will be more than happy to help. Fortunately almost everyone in the healthcare field – from pharmacists, physicians to nurses – understands and speaks English.
There are 3 public universities in Erbil, Sulaymaniya and Duhok collectively, which all accept exchange students. Medical students in Kurdistan study for 6 years and then receive their MBChb certificate and they directly work in EDs as Junior House Officers. Depending on the speciality they choose for later trainings, they are required to do rotations for 1-3 years.
International: There are currently two international airports in Erbil and Sulaymaniyah city.
National: Bus and Taxi.
Local: Bus and Taxi.
Since they live in a very mountainous region, hiking is a shared interest among them and there are several hiking groups who are mainly active during the weekends (Friday and Saturday).
Newroz, which represents Kurds' national feast, is on first of March, which is the first day of Spring. Almost everyone goes on a picnic during Newroz celebrating that day wearing Kurdish traditional clothes and enjoying their special traditional food.
Last but not the least, since Kurdistan is a very important place both politically and economically, don't be surprised if you encounter frequent conversations coming up about politics. :)