Salam Blog readers,
Our blog topic this week is: "Culturally Diverse You." As you can imagine, this is a huge subject and I can talk forever about this, but I will try my best to keep this blog as short as I can :)
So this is how I identify myself: I am a Muslim, Arab, Bahraini young woman. I have dreams the size of the endless skies and ambitions that can sometimes be unrealistic. I am a loved daughter, a big sister and a childhood friend. Yet, I made the most difficult decision of moving half way across the world from everything I love and hold dear to my heart, to gain the skills and knowledge I need to pursue these dreams. Today, after spending a year as a graduate student at the University of Minnesota, I realize that coming to this school was the best decision I made. There are many resources here dedicated to support international students, all of which are especially tailored to our unique backgrounds and circumstances. I had mentioned some of these resources in my previous blogs; therefore, to avoid being redundant, I will dedicate this blog to talk about my experience with another resource offered to graduate and undergraduate students here at the University of Minnesota: Academic Advisors.
When students are admitted to the Humphrey School, the Graduate Student Services office here pairs them up strategically with academic advisors. These academic advisors are often faculty members with extensive experiences in areas that match the experiences, interests, or backgrounds of students. I was paired up with a professor who is not only originally from the Arab world, but is also incredibly supportive on the academic, professional and personal levels. Despite his crazy busy schedule, he always makes time to meet with me whenever I request an appointment. He listens to my concerns and never hesitates to advice me on different matters, in addition to academic issues. Last summer, I encountered some problems with my internship placement in Washington D.C. and he was the first person I contacted to ask for help. Even though he was overseas at the point, he emailed me back and offered his advice and guidance. Moreover, with his help and encouragement, we created the Middle East Interest Group at school. I don't think I would have taken the initiative to do a lot of these things, had it not been for his continuous support. I definitely do not see him as merely my academic advisor, but also as a mentor and a role model.
Here at the University of Minnesota, we have the opportunity to learn from and build close connections with fantastic professional faculty members. To me, my academic advisor is a major link of my support system here in Minneapolis. Because of him and all of the other endless resources offered to international students, I can say that the University of Minnesota is in fact my home away from home.
Let me know if you have any thoughts or comments. Have a great rest of the weekend, wherever you are :)