By Abdullah Haj Mohamed Buraiah
My name is Abdullah H. M. Buraiah, and I am an international student from the Republic of Yemen. I was born in the village of Al-Shihr, in the ancient region of Yemen known as the Hadramaut. I just completed my first year at Mesa Community College (MCC), and despite the pandemic, I’ve had a very productive year.
For me, as a first time student to the United States, I was really nervous when I came. Although I had travelled before, my travel has been only in the Middle East, and I hadn’t been to the United States before. This was also going to be the first time that I would be away from my family. The process of applying to MCC was online, and once I submitted my application, secondary school certificate, and other documents, I received a response within one day. An advisor from the International Education Office helped me complete the process, and in a very short time, I received an I-20 and instructions to allow me to apply for a student visa.
MCC had been recommended to me to first learn the English language and take other courses to prepare for studies in Computer Science and Information Technology. I was told that I could complete my ESL studies, some math, and other courses to qualify for a full academic admission. From the day I arrived, I found the help I received from the advisor to be very helpful. I was given orientation about the college, the USA, and many other issues along with students from many other countries. I met students who spoke the same language as me (Arabic) and many others from different countries. For my courses, I found the staff to be very used to helping international students understand the system and how to learn the language and the math and other courses.
I was given assistance to find an apartment and was taken for a tour of the city to know the supermarkets, banks, and other important places. I was also given a tour of MCC and learned about the centers to help new students. My favorite place was the international student center, where the manager, advisors, and other students were always there to help me. I also liked the library and computer labs. I didn’t feel like a new student.
When I started in January 2020, the classes were in-person and on the first day, I was nervous. But because the professors were so friendly and spoke clearly, I was able to have a good start with my studies. Many times, the leaders at MCC reminded me to tell them whenever I needed any help or had any questions. At first I was shy to ask, but since they kept telling me to ask questions anytime, I did. Then I had a lot of questions!
In my first semester, I had three classes and received all As. I also learned more language in that time than I did in all my secondary school years. Within the year, I took an exam to qualify for academic studies. The test was mathematics, reading, and writing. I was given assistance to prepare for the exam, and I passed all sections.
During my first semester, the pandemic came, and the office for international students gave us a lot of information about how to continue our studies online to stay safe. I am now a computer science/IT major and finished my first semester. I feel that I will do well in the program, although some of the classes were difficult. One time, I had some difficulty, and I was given help by my professor on how to learn the information.
I will now study for about another year and a half to earn an associate degree, which is for the first two years. Then I will transfer to Arizona State University and only need to complete two more years to finish a bachelor degree. I am happy to be a student at MCC!
Abdullah Haj Mohamed Buraiah from the Republic of Yemen is a Student at Mesa Community College.
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