Salam everyone! ("salam" means "peace" in Arabic. It's a shorter form of saying "assalamo alykum," which is an Arabic spoken greeting, often translated as "Peace be upon you".) My name is Sara and I'm a Fulbright graduate student from Bahrain (a tiny island, the size of the city of Minneapolis, located on the east of Saudi Arabia). This is how my country looks like on a map:
I am half Filipina/Spanish also; my mother is Filipina/Spanish. Actually, my father is half Saudi as well. So, I think it would be safe to say that I come from a very diverse and colorful background :)
Well, I started my Masters in Public Policy program last spring, so this semester (Fall '10) is technically my second semester as a graduate student at the Humphrey Institute of Public Affairs, University of Minnesota; however, I moved to Minneapolis last fall. I spent the first semester taking pre-requisite courses in preparation for my official admission to the Humphrey Institute, after receiving a Fulbright Scholarship. (By the way: the Fulbright Scholarship is a program funded by the U.S. Department of State awarded to both American and international students to pursue their graduate degrees and enhance mutual cultural understanding.) I'm very interested in development issues with regards to young women, specifically from an international perspective, and that's what I'm aiming to concentrate on in my studies and research.
Aside from school, I would say traveling, making new friends, trying out different cuisines and learning new languages are a few of my most favorite hobbies. I'm also involved in several after school activities. I'm the Vice President for Diversity Outreach for the Humphrey Students of Color Association (HSOCA), and I'm a member of this year's Culture at the Core leaders. Additionally, my advisor and I just initiated an informal group called the Middle East Interest Group (MEIG) to bring together Middle Eastern students and others interested in the region to discuss current affairs. So, as you can imagine, I tend to be quite busy during the school year :)
Anyhow, as a member of the international student ambassadors team, I'll be writing blogs every other Friday about my experiences as an international student living and studying in the Twin Cities. Please feel free to leave comments, questions or ideas on interesting/fun topics you'd like me to address.
Talk to you guys later and have a great weekend!