Your name sounds Middle Eastern, where are you from?
I think this is the number one question I get when I recruit in the Middle East. I don’t look like what people think an average Middle Easterner looks like. So, to answer this question, I was raised in Palestine and continued my secondary education in the U.S.
Where have you traveled in the Middle East?
I’ve traveled to Jordan, Kuwait, UAE, Bahrain, Oman, Saudi Arabia and Qatar. I hope to travel to more areas soon!
What is your favorite part about traveling in the Middle East?
My favorite part would be eating all of the food that my grandmother would make when I was a child. The great thing about CU Boulder is that one of the dining halls has halal options so I can always enjoy Persian cuisine!
What do you do for fun in Boulder?
I love accomplishing items off the Boulder Bucket List and eating at new places on Pearl Street.
What’s the most common challenge for international students when they first arrive in the U.S.?
When I first arrived to the U.S., my biggest challenge was acclimating to a different culture and living in a large city. I was coming from a small town near Ramallah where the majority of the people in the town were my family members. Getting involved in a new community and meeting other international students in ESL courses really helped me get my bearings and helped me feel welcome.
Is it safe to live in the U.S. as a Muslim?
This is becoming a popular question for me when I am recruiting abroad. I actually moved to the city of Boulder within the past year, and one of the main reasons I moved here was because of its welcoming atmosphere! Boulder has recently been ranked as Happiest City in the U.S. by National Geographic and has continuously been ranked as one of the safest cities in America by Business Insider. At first, I was wary of strangers being so friendly, outgoing and interested in starting a conversation. But after time, I realized that is just what people do in Boulder – they strike up a conversation for no other reason than to just connect with someone else.
At CU Boulder specifically, there are many offices across campus that offer support and programing for international students, including: the Cultural Unity and Engagement Center, the Office of Diversity, Equity and Community Engagement (ODECE), International Student and Scholar Services. Additionally, there are more than 400 clubs and organizations at CU Boulder, with a variety of opportunities to meet any interest, including academics, ethnic culture, leadership, environmental issues and much more. One specific group for Muslin students is the Muslim Student Association, which is open to the community and has events throughout the year.
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