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Faces of Studying Abroad: Diversity in the United Arab Emirates

January 18, 2019

An amazing thing happens when you study abroad: you meet lots of interesting people from different backgrounds. They may become your friends, study partners, tutors, or lunch company, but they also have a story. This is a tribute to their stories, and the beauty of people from all around the world.

Anna Terekhova

My name is Anna Terekhova, and I was born and raised in Saratov, Russia. I am a senior at American University of Sharjah studying Management Information Systems. My dream is to find my place in the world; I want to discover where I belong, because even though I miss the changing seasons, snow and skiing, I have not achieved full contentedness in one place. However, I have a happy place on campus: it is a garden in the women’s dorms. I like to sit, break out my books, and read amongst the flora and fauna. My favorite quote is from a Russian short story titled Dark Avenues by Ivan Bunin. It reads, “Everything passes, but not everything gets forgotten.”

Something I wish that more people understood is that Russians aren’t negative because they don’t smile. The perception of our nationality is cold and straightforward because we typically do not waste words. However, when you get close with a Russian, we open up and become more friendly.

Suleiman Khaled Bahbouh

My name is Suleiman Khaled Bahbouh. I am from Damascus, Syria, and am a sophomore studying mechanical engineering. My dream is to work in Germany’s Mercedes-Benz factory. My happy place is quite obvious; I love being in my garage, working on my car.

Something I want the world to know is that Syria becomes anyone’s second home. Everyone has a country, but your second country is Syria. You will discover yourself there, no matter where you’re from. Also, the weather in Syria is fantastic; it’s always cool, not too hot, and the food is always natural and home-cooked style. The Syrian people are friendly and ready to welcome you into their hearts.

Zainab Mohammed AlGhareeb

My name is Zainab Mohammed AlGhareeb and I am from Malkiyah, Bahrain. I’m a junior studying chemical engineering, and my dream is to have a successful career in chemical engineering for cosmetic products. After working in industry, I want to pursue a master’s and doctorate studies to become a professor in Bahrain.

I like how my country is simple. It has good beaches, good food, and is small; it’s home-y. My happy place is sitting on the beach, watching the sunset. Also, Bahrainis have an expression we use as an affirmative interjection pronounced “ila!” (اي لا). It’s an immediate identifier of other Baharanis and loosely translates to “yeah, right!” or “exactly!”

Something I want to share with the world is about the hijab. It is a personal choice; it is not an obligation, nor is it synonymous with oppression. It is a symbol of modesty, like a protection from the outside.

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