Nawaf Alshammari from Saudi Arabia: Studying Management Information Systems at Eastern Washington University

Nawaf Alshammari from Saudi Arabia: Studying Management Information Systems at Eastern Washington University

Why did you decide to study in the USA?

I have always wanted to be fluent in English, pursue a degree studying abroad, and experience a new culture. I applied for a scholarship and I got accepted.

Why did you choose Eastern Washington University?

I chose Eastern Washington University (EWU) because its English Language Institute (ELI) offered conditional admission for undergraduate students with no TOEFL score requirement.

Furthermore, EWU is located in the Pacific Northwest, which has a unique geography, climate, and culture within the U.S. The location of EWU played a major role in my decision, because cost of living is affordable and eastern Washington is a safe place to live. I like outdoor activities and the Pacific Northwest has a lot of outdoor recreation to choose from.

What do you like best?

There is no TOEFL test score required for international students who successfully finish the ELI program.

What do you miss most?

I miss my parents, siblings and the food. 

What was your biggest surprise?

Life on campus is very organized, and there are many services that are included in tuition (but if not, the fees are reasonable). EWU offers many events, services, and resources both on and off campus. These activities allow international students the ability to participate in the local culture safely, and become more comfortable with their new surroundings.

... your biggest disappointment?

In America, social connections and food are much different.

How have you handled:

... finances?

I have a scholarship so finances have not been an issue, but I am thinking of pursuing a master’s degree, which I may need to finance myself.

... adjusting to a different educational system?

Personally, it wasn’t very difficult to adjust.

What are your activities?

Personally, I like to travel. I often visit friends’ hometowns and meet their families before exploring new cities with them.

How easy or difficult was making friends?

It was very difficult for me to make new friends at first, because I had to overcome language and cultural barriers; however, it became much easier with time, and I have managed to learn how to make many new friends from different backgrounds.

How relevant is your U.S. education to your personal goals and to the needs of your country? 

I am still learning a lot about my major and I am gradually figuring out my career goals. I am hoping to get an internship in my field, which will allow me to continue my education while applying what I’ve learned. An internship will show me more of the options that will be available to me once I am out of school.

What is your advice to other students who are considering a U.S. education?

The best advice I can offer is to find a school that has a good ELI program at the same university that you are going to study. I also recommend speaking less of your own language, as this will help you communicate with Americans more easily, and ultimately learn more about American culture. I suggest sharing your customs and culture with other students. Also, housing is very important. Living in the dormitories or with a homestay will allow you to practice your English more often.

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