Off the Beaten Path: A Visit to Iran (Slideshow)

By Andy Laub

Breathtaking, life changing and stunning are just some words I could use to describe my time in Iran this past summer. I always start off telling people about my trip by showing people the picture with me and the four children, taken in the nomadic village deep in the mountains. When most people see that picture they say “we now understand why you went to Iran…the people.” Friends and family gave me a funny look when I told them I was going to Iran, but I saw a very different Iran than is often portrayed in the news. I didn’t go for political or professionals reasons, just as a tourist as part of an organized group and that let me see Iran through a different lens and a get a chance to interact with Iran’s people.

I had heard about how hospitable and strong in character the Iranian people were and it was such a pleasure to experience it firsthand, from people stopping me to say a quick “salem” on the street, to children inviting me to play soccer or gather flowers and being hosted by Iranian families for some very tasty Persian cuisine. People were excited to see an American and were grateful I gave Iran the time day to visit and hoped I would inspire others to do the same.

Iran has a lot to offer: beyond its people, it is a beautiful country, from the bustling streets of Tehran with subways and buses to the beautiful mountainous desert countryside and scenic river of Esfahan, not to mention the incredible history of ancient Persia from the ruins, to the holy shrines, Mosques and Palaces of the former Shah’s. I hope this will give you a little taste of what a wonderful experience I had in Iran.

Andy Laub is entering his second semester in the MSGA program, concentrating on International Relations/Global Futures. Before starting his Masters, Andy spent two and a half years as a Staff Assistant to Congressman Eliot Engel (NY-16) handling constituent affairs out of his Westchester district office. Andy has a long history in democratic party politics having served as a democratic party district leader, town chairman and Membership Director of the College Democrats of America, he holds a BA in Political Science from Fordham University. Andy also currently serves as the Membership Director for Young Professionals in Foreign Policy.