Each month, Office of International Students and Scholars introduces one international student/scholar by highlighting their cultural background, personal experience in both home country and U.S. It is our hope that this mini introduction will help Lehigh community to have a better understanding of the international students and scholars on campus. We encourage every student to participate in this activity. If you would like to be featured, send your message to firstname.lastname@example.org.
1) Hi Saleh, so tell me a little bit about yourself. Where are you from? What are you studying here at Lehigh? When will you be done with your studies?
(Saleh AlSaleh, an exchange student from Saudi Arabia, Fall 2014)
I am originally from Al-Hasa, Saudi Arabia. I am an exchange student from King Fahd University of Petroleum and Minerals (KFUPM), so I will leave Lehigh University at the end of the current semester (i.e. Fall 2014). I am currently taking four Computer Science courses and a single Psychology class. I will graduate from KFUPM at the end of Spring 2016, which is less than two years from now.
2) So far, what do you think about Lehigh? Do you like the campus? The faculty? The people? Your housing?
The first couple of weeks in this semester, I felt strange since the education system in Lehigh University differs from KFUPM. The campus is fascinating since it is a place full of trees and nature. However, now the professors are very nice and very helpful. I found some of Lehigh students are haughty, but most of them are nice. I live in Brodhead House and it is a great place to live in because it has study rooms, training room, and big lounges.
3) What is your daily life like at Lehigh?
I usually wake up a couple of hours before my first class to take a shower and have breakfast. After that, I go to my classes and during the breaks I have between them, I spend them on reading the material for the upcoming class. When I finish my classes, I have lunch, and then I start studying for the next day in one of the study rooms in Brodhead House.
4) So in this short new journey of discovering America in terms of the culture, language, ideals, and traditions, what have you discovered or learned about the American culture?
I found out that Americans respect time a lot. At the beginning of this semester, I had a meeting with a faculty member and since I did not know the exact place, where we are meeting. As a result of that, I was at location around 20 minutes earlier than the meeting. The faculty member was shocked to see me very early and said “I did not expect you to show up early”
5) What is the most obvious difference between American culture and the culture in your home country?
The most obvious difference is the greeting. In America, people usually hug each other, while in Saudi Arabia shaking hands is the way of greeting one another.
6) Describe what daily life is like for you in your home country.
There is not much of a difference between the life in USA and in Saudi Arabia except that the day in Saudi Arabia is divided into five parts because of the five prayers. The five prayers are Fajer (Dawn), Dhuhur (Noon), Aser (Afternoon), Magrib (Sunset), and Isha’a (Evening).
7) What are your hobbies? Interests?
I like reading about technology. Moreover, I am interested in anything related to computers such as robots, software and more.
8) What kinds of adventures have you been on here in the US?
A couple of weeks ago, I went to Six Flags in New Jersey and that was the only biggest adventure I had.
9) What kinds of adventures have you been on in your home country?
There are only few places, where we can have adventure in Saudi Arabia. The most common one is camping in the desert. Furthermore, in my hometown we have a place called The Qara Mountain.
10) What do you miss most about your home country?
I miss mostly my family and the food especially when it is not easy to get Halal food around Lehigh.
11) If someone was going to visit your home country, what would you tell them to do there and where would you tell them to visit?
In the first place, they should a visit at least one city of each province. I recommend Makkah and Madinah as religious cities, but for having fun Jeddah is the best place. However, if they want to see the beauty of nature, they should go to Al-Hasa which is an oasis. On the other hand, if the purpose is for business, they should go to Riyadh (i.e. The Capital) and Dammam.