Quite possibly it was Mason’s most epic fail. Despite the potential, in spite of the hype, the entity in question became a blemish on the grand story of that once minute college in Northern Virginia. Many undergrads going about the Fairfax, Arlington, Loudon and Prince William campuses may not know this, but there was a time when Mason had a satellite campus far from the shores of North America.

I was a freshman when the Ras al Khaimah campus opened up in the United Arab Emirates in 2005. It was a big deal and for someone like me who had just moved away from home to live in the dorms for the first time, I wondered what it would be like to have a semester in the Middle East.

During my pursuit of a bachelor’s degree I remember hearing very different stories from people about how good or bad it was over there. In many ways they were semi-autonomous, with their own student government and academic programs.

However it did not last long. In early 2009, months before I graduated, Mason’s abroad campus closed down. Due to budgetary problems, the Board of Visitors withdrew their support from the campus before even a single Mason-RAK student completed their degree.

There was also, apparently, a question of lacking oversight on academic standards as well. Mason administrators did what they could to help the students get to other nearby U.S.—based universities to complete their areas of study. With those efforts concluded, Mason no longer held an on-campus foothold in the world beyond America.

Amidst the embarrassment, Provost Peter Stearns told those gathered at a forum in 2009 regarding the closure that Mason “will continue to work at the global level.”

Flash-forward to February 2013 and these words hold a new potential for realization. South Korea, the land of Psy, Ban-Ki Moon, and the 38th Parallel, will soon see some more green and gold on its horizon. The Office of Global and International Studies hosted a viewing of the newest soon-to-be campus for Mason, to be located in Songdo in early February.

The exhibit, which was held at the Johnson Center, depicted a futuristic looking collection of edifices that shall be put upon 1,500 acres. Mason is one of many universities looking to establish facilities in the area. The first students to enroll at this impressive-looking satellite will begin classes in 2014.

Yet amidst the awe and wonder, the curiosity and interest, a sense of concern underscores the triumph. I still remember Ras al Khaimah. I remember it being the brave new world that showed Mason’s ever increasing expansion to glory.

Now it’s a fading memory that a decreasing number of students and faculty/staff can or want to bring to mind.

Nevertheless, life and history have shown over and over again that failure should never be the sole reason to stop. It’s not about the number of victories you achieve, it’s about the number of defeats you can absorb and still be a force to be reckoned with.

If Mason BOV has learned from its mistakes and applied said knowledge to this new overseas venture, then by all means this is a time of celebration as Mason reclaims lost ground abroad. Here’s hoping that in four years someone at Broadside will not be writing an article about another lost opportunity to spread Mason spirit across the oceans.