Saudi Arabian student thrives at UVU

There is a long list of factors and questions students must ponder about when preparing to attend college.

Picking which college, earning and saving enough money for tuition, deciding whether it is smarter to attend a school in a home state or move to a new state, and whether to live in dorms or at home. The list goes on, but one decision that may not be considered for students living in the U.S. is whether or not to leave the country for school. For students like Mohammed Shami, however, this decision was the most important on his list.

In 2011, 20-year-old Shami left his home in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia and came to the U.S. to attend college. His life in Jeddah consisted of friends, family and familiarity, so one might wonder why he chose to leave and travel to the other side of the world for school. Shami explained that the decision to come to the U.S. for college was important to his family and for his future.

“My father told me in order to be successful, I need to learn English,” Shami said. “So even though I didn’t want to leave my family and friends, I knew it was important that I come here.”

In hopes of improving education scores, the Saudi Arabian government offers scholarships to students who choose to study in the U.S. Each student who accepts this scholarship receives money to cover tuition and books, as well as a monthly salary to help pay for housing, food and entertainment.

When Shami first moved to the U.S., he lived in D.C., but after realizing how expensive the cost of living was in that part of the country, he moved to Utah.

“It has been nice living here where my monthly
salary pays for more than just my rent,” Shami said.

When he chose to come to Utah, he had to consider all of the universities here. There were many reasons why Shami chose to attend UVU rather than another school. Shami said the ESL program offered at UVU is very helpful and has high success rates. He also knew he wanted to study aviation and was very
impressed with UVU’s aviation program. The safe and friendly environment was another thing that attracted
Shami to Utah County and UVU.

There are many things
Shami misses about home, and it has taken courage to move to a new country, but Shami said it has been worth it. In Shami’s opinion, there aren’t as many fun things to do as in Jeddah, and he
misses his friends and family, but he has grown to enjoy his life here in the U.S.

After graduating with his Bachelor’s degree, Shami plans to obtain his pilot’s
license and return to his homeland.

By MELISSA LINDSEY

Assistant Life Editor

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