Where are you from?
“It’s complicated. So, the country is the United Arab Emirates and Dubai is the city everyone knows. I was born and raised there, and it’s basically my home, but I don’t have citizenship so I can’t really call it my home. My father is Pakistani and my mother is Syrian, so I say I’m from Syria and Pakistan because of my parents.”
What was your life like back home?
“Compared to Missouri, it’s really different. Back home, it’s all city life, which was a shock for me when I came here. Here, everything closes early and people go to bed so early, but back home we leave our houses late at night. There are all of those tall buildings and here it’s just houses, so it was a big change for me when I came here.”
What do you do in your spare time?
“When I had the time, I used to read books. But, now I have no time because of school so my free time is spent watching Netflix or hanging out with my friends.”
What’s your major and what made you choose it?
“My major is forensic science. It took a lot of time for me to figure out what I wanted to major in; I didn’t even know it existed, to be honest. I’ve always been interested in the detective field but it wasn’t up until I started reading about it that I knew I wanted to major in it.”
“My sister graduated from here in 2015 and my uncle lives in St. Louis, so it’s closest. It just made sense, plus it’s a great university.”
How do you cope with being homesick?
“I used to get homesick every other day. I miss my siblings mostly, but I Skype them often. The time where I really felt homesick was when we had Eid, which is a muslim holiday that happens twice a year. That’s when I usually spend time with family and we dress up and eat good food but this year I had to stay home and do homework, because it’s just another normal day in America.”
What does a typical day look like for you?
“I go to class, hang out with friends and play pool in Saints. You’ll mostly find me in Saints if I’m not in the library doing homework.”
How lucky are you and why?
“I feel very lucky to be here. In our culture, you’d rarely find parents sending their kids away to have a good education.”
“Without a second, my parents sent me here to get the best education I can get. I’m 16 hours away and they didn’t even hesitate.”
What makes you angry?
“I’m a very short tempered person. Everything can tick me off, the littlest of things. I get more frustrated than angry.”
How would you describe yourself in three words?
“I’m nice, open and outgoing.”
What motivates you?
“The fact that my parents pay a lot of tuition money to send me here. I don’t want to waste their money.”
What was the process of making friends like?
“To me, it wasn’t very hard because I’m an outgoing person. I can randomly go up and talk to people or talk to a group of people with ease because I’m very open.”
What do you like and not like about maryville?
“Everyone is really nice here and I like it. I can’t say I dislike a lot because I’m just a freshman. I don’t think I’ve discovered anything yet. Ask me after four years.”
What are your pet peeves?
“It’s weird, but I don’t like feet. They disgust me even looking at them. Some people know that and purposely shove their feet in my face to annoy me.”
Is there anything I didn’t ask in this interview that you wish I would’ve asked?
“I know it’s easy to stay stuck to your own culture, but don’t be afraid to open your mind to new things. My culture is way different than most people know here, I even speak 3 languages: Arabic, Urdu and English.”
Have an intriguing story you want to share? Contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org so it can be heard.