I did not know much about Khaled until he narrated to me about his past when I met him for the first time in California State University. Having been born in Kuwait, Khaled always wished to study in a foreign country during his academic life. He was born by wealthy parents and had a comfortable upbringing. Unlike most of the children born in the same city, Khaled had English as his first language. His father knew that expertise in English was important for him and had him learn in a private school where English was the sole language used in lessons and the general communication. He would then learn Arabic through interactions with society. This meant that Khaled would have all it required to study abroad. Much of his encouragement came from his father who had studied in Russia. His life was smooth since money was always available and provided by his parents. Much of his time was spent studying and socializing with friends and other family members. He did not have to perform any domestic chores since there were house helps to cook, wash his clothes and tidy his room. Khaled could fantasize at times thinking how wonderful his life would turn by studying in a different country.
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His mastery of English was highly affected when he transferred to a public school after only two years of its study. This seemed to affect his confidence considering that the new school taught in Arabic. Moreover, majority of the other students spoke Arabic only making it difficult for him to apply English he had learnt in the private school. By the time he graduated from high school, Khaled had almost forgotten the English language altogether. My friend was aware that proficiency in English was important if his dream of studying abroad was to be realized. He knew he would have an uphill task to understand the language. Coincidentally, this boy earned himself a scholarship to study mechanical engineering in the United States of America last year after his high school graduation. Such an opportunity required that Khaled had to find an American family where he would stay to guarantee a fast adjustment to the new environment.
After getting a family to host him, Khaled knew that the opportunity to enter an engineering class in U.S. would involve several procedures. To begin with, he had to adapt American culture fully. His initial days in the host family were tricky and he could only fake smiles to pretend life was alright. My friend could not understand anything said to him by his new family members. Overcoming this challenge was quite difficult for him. He found that the Arabic culture was totally different from what he had to practice on daily basis during his stay in the U.S. For instance, he had been used to the Islamic way of life which was quite dominant in his country from the Middle East. This boy had got used to a highly sociable life in Kuwait where he had several friends and caring family members within his reach. As a result, he had to establish new friends and such a move was only to be realized by getting well- acquainted with the English language.
Life in America was a bit confusing for Khaled. He learnt that customs and traditions varied across countries. It was funny how some of the habits he had regarded as unacceptable in his native country were being practiced by Americans. People could hug and kiss each other as a way of greeting. Unlike in Kuwait where people ate from the same plate as a show of togetherness, such practices were termed as unhygienic in America and everyone had to take meals from different dishes. All these cultural differences changed Khaled’s previous expectations for studying abroad. My friend had never thought life would be as tough as it had proven during his initial days. However, he was sure that he would get used to the new life and establish new friends after acquiring all the required skills. Despite the difficulties that this boy had to undergo, he was sure that the cultural diversity would make his entire life more appealing. Khaled would be able to work anywhere around the world, since America incorporated cultures from different ethnic backgrounds.
To get his life in U.S. started, Khaled enrolled for intensive language program to attain the required accreditation before he could begin his engineering course. It took him about three semesters to acquire the desired English skills. Passing the International English Language Testing System (IELTS) was a tough test but he had to work hard since it was the only way he could begin studies in the university. The language program made him attain a deeper understanding of the American culture. Ability to socialize more freely with people from different countries made life easier for Khaled. He liked the learning and accommodating diverse lifestyles. Getting used to the environment meant that my friend could begin studies and be able to make purchases more easily. Foreign students, especially those from countries of the Middle East, have had it rough in the U.S. and Khaled was glad to settle enough soon. He had excelled in his language program and went on with his career course.
Studying in America was enjoyable for him. Life did not begin as smoothly as he had imagined earlier. Khalid had never thought it could take him some time to get used to the new environment. It meant that he had to cope with new customs, traditions and climatic conditions. It came to his notice that despite the hurdles he had to overcome during his initial days in the country, attaining his education in a cultural diversified country offered him an opportunity for a bright future: by increasing his chance of securing a good job after the completion of his academic life. In addition, a new environment helped him to develop helpful skills to overcome challenges that he could never handle if he had completed his education in Kuwait. Khaled had the anticipation to study outside Kuwait one day, but he never imagined that he would one day gain expertise in the English language and study in America.
Khaled’s life has been smooth in the U.S. Though it was only the second semester of his mechanical engineering course, he became determined to excel in education and attain all the skills he could only dreamt of some years back. However, Khaled has had other challenges different from the social issues he had to prevail over in his initial days. He felt lonely as a result of the huge distance between him and his family members. Even though technology is advanced now, and people can communicate watching each other through social Medias such as Skype, my friend still feels the pinch of living in a place far away from home. Khaled has been able to overcome this challenge by living with belief that he would return to his native home as a well educated man with the ability to conquer challenges of different magnitudes. Owing to his ambition, it is evident that there will not be anything to stop Khaled from attaining his desired accomplishments.
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