For the next year, Fulbright MENA will be showcasing a handful of students as they study in the United States with their new series, A Year in the Fulbright Life. Each month, spotlighted students will share an update as they continue on their Fulbright journey.
Mohamed A. completed his pre-academic program at San Diego State University this month. With students from Paraguay, Colombia, Russia, Indonesia, Algeria, Bahrain, Afghanistan, Japan, Iraq and Mongolia, he spent three weeks preparing for his Fulbright program.
“We have participated in many volunteering activities, team building activities, attending Comic-Con festival, culture enhancement classes and academic English classes.
It was amazing experience which I learned a lot from it.”
The first month in school was very challenging since the education system in the United States is totally different than the Egyptian one. Being away from your family and adapting to a new way of learning was big challenge, but at UND, they usually try to help you to relax and help you to be more effective in your study. They held a monthly dinner where I can meet the other residents and enjoy dinner while playing some games at the on-campus housing office. I really enjoyed the first meeting and I had a lot of fun with the games.
October was the month where I had the opportunity to meet the most diverse and great group of my friends at UND, including friends from the U.S., Germany, Australia, Sweden, Norway, France, Ghana, India and South Korea. They make me feel that I am really with my family. As Hubert H. Humphrey said “The greatest gift of life is friendship, and I have received it.
“My adventure in North Dakota continued this month when I met my roommate Dennis, who is a Native American from Mississippi. Since he is a graduate student in Chemical Engineering at the University of North Dakota, and I am studying petroleum engineering, we always have exciting technical conversations which enhance our knowledge. We do many activities together such as biking, reading, shopping, and hanging out with friends. Grand Forks, North Dakota, is one of the coldest cities in the United States, but I’ve been able to enjoy the snow for the first time.
I also had the chance to attend my first hockey game with friends when the University of North Dakota (ranked second in the United States) played against Miami University, another good sports team here. A few other international students from Germany, Mexico, Norway, India, and Australia attended with me as well as some American friends. I love meeting new people from different countries since it helps enhance my cultural knowledge and Fulbright experience.”
In Grand Forks, North Dakota you do not need to search for a place to learn snow skiing-you can just go outside your door after a snow storm and start practicing. That was my first time practicing skiing, and it was one of the best adventures in my life.
This winter break was not one of the normal ones since I spent 4 days in Las Vegas with one of my best friends. Walking around “the strip” makes you feel like you are traveling around different countries, even your home country. Being in the Luxor Hotel reminded me of Egypt. After spending a few great days in Vegas, I continued my trip with my friend to Arizona where we met other Fulbrighters and went to the Grand Canyon, one of the most amazing places ever.
“It is cold if you are standing still.” With this quote I have been inspired to face the challenge of being from a warm place like Egypt and living in one of the coldest cities in the United States. You can imagine coming from 50 oF to -50 oF. Being in Grand Forks has been one of the most wonderful experiences in my life though.
Here was the start of being the Public Relations Officer for the Society of Petroleum Engineers Chapter at University of North Dakota. Being part of this organization gives me the opportunity to help the new petroleum engineering students and helping with organizing many useful events such as lunch and learn, volunteering activities and many of other events that enhance the knowledge of the students.
“Adventures in the States never end, as I’m both learning and enjoying life. This month I had the opportunity to visit Tulsa, Oklahoma to attend the SPEImproved Oil Recovery Conference which was one of the best and more diverse conferences I have attended. I met talented people from all over the world and from many universities in the United States. We discussed a lot of technical issues, which definitely enhanced my skills and knowledge. Also life in Grand Forks, North Dakota became more wonderful when the winter ended and the spring started. Nice weather and green nature are two main things that make me happy.”
Mohamed A. is a First-Year Fulbright student studying Petroleum Engineering at the University of North Dakota. He is from Egypt.
Follow updates from Mohamed and other Fulbright students on our Facebookand Twitter pages. Check back here every month for more updates on the blog and Medium Series to see what Mohamed does this year!