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Podcast explores international experience

Mustafa Jaihuni has a passion for exploring the world around him. Originally from Afghanistan, he was studied in Turkey, South Korea and is now pursuing a Ph.D. at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville.

In all his travels he finds the people around him have unique life experiences to share. To capture those stories, he started a podcast “Wayfarer’s Duet,” which finds him sitting down with others from around the UT campus to learn from their unique backgrounds.

“When I moved here to the states from my country, I settled down here with my family, and I was kind of curious about the environment here and trying to explore different tastes and different vibes here,” Jaihuni said. “The university environment is very rich. There are all types of people from different backgrounds working on different areas. For me it was desire to have contact with and listen to them.”

After coming the United States at the start of 2022 as a prospective Ph.D. student, Jaihuni found an interest in listening to other podcasts, including those by experts in his field from MIT and Princeton. The idea to do his own podcast felt natural as he was accustomed to deeper discussions during his time studying in Europe and Afghanistan where he would often sit and talk with friends over tea.

Mustafa Jaihuni

“I want to experience life,” Jaihuni said. “My podcast would also reflect that. So whoever listens to that will know different aspects of life, people who have experienced and have a taste of life.”

The name of the podcast “Wayfarer’s Duet” came from Jaihuni’s passion for traveling the globe. He wanted to find the right English word that captured the idea of a traveler walking to an eventual destination and appreciating the journey along the way. He translated several ideas before landing on the word wayfarer.

Jaihuni has recorded four podcasts so far and plans to sit down with others around campus in the future.

“Everybody really has something to say,” Jaihuni said. “Every one is kind of a whirlwind. They provide and convey a different perspective. So I have learned some things from sitting with these people.”

Much of Jaihuni’s interest in different cultures and world travel is linked directly to his growing up in Afghanistan where he saw two separate world super powers — the United States and Russia — hold political influence.

“In my very short lifetime I’ve seen, and other young people have seen and experienced a lot that normally you would live in two or three lifetimes,” Jaihuni said. “… More than half of my life now I’ve been out of Afghanistan. I have seen the worst of times, I have lived the best of times and I have been through ups and downs. But I’m very grateful about my life and where I’ve lived. If I die now, I wouldn’t have much regrets.”

You can watch or listen to “Wayfarer’s Duet” on YouTube or Spotify.