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Our readers write from Nebraska

(Editor's note: Both Emad Bulushi and Mohammad Dwaikat are students at the University of Nebraska at Omaha. They are members of the Arab Student Association. Emad is from Oman. Mohammad is from Palestine.)

My experience in the U.S.A.
by Emad Bulushi

                        In my whole life I've always been trying to plan my future. Making dots and connecting them. But If I were to be asked whether I planned to come to the U.S., I would definitely be lying if I said anything but no. I never thought I'd end up here. I never planned it. But now that I am here, I find it one of the best things that ever happened to me. The responsibility of living by myself, the uncertainty of tomorrow and the paycheck at the end of the month are making my life so interesting. I always thought about these things but never knew how amusing they are until I lived them. By all means, I can't go back to the way my life was a year ago, before I got the scholarship.

            I find the people of Nebraska friendly, surprisingly friendly. It took me months to finally convince my mother that this area has a very low crime rate and people are nice and aren't racists. Ask any student who took a semester abroad and they will - for sure - say they had culture shock. But for me this culture shock was reduced substantially by the kindness of the people here. One time a classmate of mine apologized to me because I bumped into her and she gave me a free doughnut!

            I do honestly believe I will have amazing five more years in Nebraska and I can't wait for tomorrow to come out for another adventure to begin.


My dream came true
by Mohammad Dwaikat

                        "A dream that came true," maybe you have heard this sentence many times from international students who have been lucky enough to come to the U.S. for their studies. Fourteen months ago, I was preparing myself for the trip that might change my life and lead me to other dimensions.
            Being from a poor and even unrecognized state like Palestine had much impact on my passion to travel and start building my future. And with a prestigious scholarship like Fulbright - which knows how to take care of their scholars and prepare them for a new life challenge - things seem to be perfect.
            Culture shock and homesickness are things to expect when moving to another country to live. I was expecting all of them, but not sure if I was ready enough to face them. Upon my arrival in the U.S., I recognized the fact that I will be here for two years without a chance to visit my home. I was leaving behind a huge family and many friends.
            From an active home with eleven people living in quite a small room was a big change for me as a social person. Having to communicate with a different language, and dealing with a different culture added more stress on me.
            Giving up was not an option, I came here with a specific mission and many people dream to be in my place. I decided to build a new life and have some patience to make my dream come true. Many things helped me to overcome all the difficulties that I faced, among them staying in touch with my family and friends back home. And building new friendships and relations here in the U.S., being open to other cultures and understanding the differences between people have helped as well.
            And now, with the approaching completion of my degree, I appreciate every single moment here in the U.S.  The many friends from all over the world that I met, and learning from different cultures have enriched my personality and life.