Photo: University of Dayton mechanical engineering student Ibraheem Alawadhi
International student Ibraheem talks about what it's like to study at the University of Dayton in Ohio.
What is your name and what country are you from?
My name is Ibraheem Alawadhi. I am from Kuwait.
What is the name of your university or program institution?
What is your level of education and field of study?
I am junior at mechanical engineering.
Why did you decide to study in the USA?
My dream was to study in the US since I was a kid. I have been always dreaming of being a student here so I can enjoy my education as well as all the nice places here in the US. I was looking for the best education that entitles me to pursue a higher education and allows me to design and innovate the things I have been dreaming of since I was a kid like cars, robots, and mechanical machines. Here I am and here I go.
Why did you choose this particular college or university? What attracted you about your school? What is special about your school and its location?
Both my uncle and aunt graduated from University of Dayton and they were the one who told me about this awesome place. When I first came to the US, I had no clear idea about where I want to pursue my bachelor degree. But after visiting UD for the first time, I knew that was the place for me so I decided to join. I have heard that UD has nice facilities that assure the best education but when I became a student here I became impressed with the facilities that UD provides such as library fully equipped, labs, tutoring, student clubs, and high-tech classrooms. I also was impressed with the location since it is surrounded with beautiful parks and all the essential needs for life which makes it easy for students to live and study.
What do you like best about your program/university?
Teachers at UD are exceptional! No matter how I emphasize on how awesome they are I won’t be able to say it perfectly. They use very creative methods of teaching where they can show nice skills of communication. Being a student at UD does not mean having lectures only but also means to be a part of group of nice people who are willing to learn, lead, and be creative. The professors are always by my side when I need help and they are always there to give me courage and support. Also, I like about UD that there are lots of opportunities of participating in group/team work. Either for projects or regular homework, having group studies and team work allow to share ideas and opinions and to be more creative. There are always new things to learn when it comes group work. It helps to have a better understanding of the materials and to improve the communication skills. Also, being a student at UD allowed me to join the summer program that UD provides at UDCI (University of Dayton China Institute). It was an amazing experience for me, and it added a lot to my education and experience.
What do you miss most about home?
My family! The guidance of my father and the care of my mother. Not to mention being with my siblings, especially my little brother.
What was your biggest disappointment about U.S. life and education?
I was disappointed to see the American unhealthy diet. I mean, the dishes or drinks are so big most of the time. Comparing to other countries, it is way bigger which I think is unhealthy. That’s been said, there are always healthy choices and UD provides big variety of food that includes american, Chinese, and Mediterranean food.
How have you handled: ...Language differences?
I have been through many embarrassing situations due to the misunderstanding of the language differences, especially when it comes to idioms and slangs; however, I have learned new things and it was a funny nice way to make new friends.
I am sponsored by the Kuwaiti Ministry of Higher Education.
...Adjusting to a different educational system?
It was hard at the beginning to be adjusted to the educational system here at the US since there are many differences between the system here and back home. Many professors here ask students to do some research rather than lecturing them all the time. Also, they require to do tasks and homework as a group which was difficult to handle at the beginning. However, as the time moved on, I started to like this system of education. Now. I am very comfortable with working as a group and doing research has be come an essential part of my life.
What are your activities? (clubs, student associations, home stay programs, your travel, sports and special activities or field trips sponsored by your program.)
I like that we have lots of student clubs at UD. I have joined many clubs like, Anime Club, Arabic Club, Japanese Student Association, Muslim Students Association. In terms of Academic clubs, I am a member of Tau Beta Pi (Engineering Honor Society) and Pi Tau Sigma Delta Nu (The Mechanical Engineering Honors Society). In my free time, I play pingpong at the recreation center at UD and I go for hiking most of the time when it is nice outside. In winter, I go to snowboarding which is something I have experienced for the first time when I came to UD.
How easy or difficult is making friends? At the begging it was a little difficult due to the language barrier, but it didn’t last for long since people here are super nice and they offer help and smiles all the time. They were the one who offered to be my friends and that itself was the biggest step to overcome the language barrier.
What are your career goals? How relevant is your U.S. education to your personal goals and to the needs of your country?
I am doing my best to learn as much as possible about mechanical designs and robotics since I believe it will be in a very useful use in my home country. I am looking forward to sharing my knowledge and experience with students and teachers in Kuwait so they can learn from it.
What is your advice to other students who are considering a U.S. education?
Go for it! It is an amazing experience that might change your life. Studying in the US will not only let you have an excellent education but it will also grant you to explore other cultures, make new friends, and have a better understanding of the sense of community and how to be a productive member in the human family.