Never Forget to Smile, Nebraska

Thursday, June 2, 2016 Never Forget to Smile, Nebraska

Student Mohammed Al Abdullah
By Mohammed Al Abdullah

My name is Mohammed Hussain Al Abdullah and I was born in Saudi Arabia where I lived for the first ten years of my life. At the age of ten, due to my career in cycling, I moved with my Road Cycling Club to the Czech Republic where I lived for nearly four years without my family. From there, I lived for a year in Manchester City, in the United Kingdom, before leaving for Dubai. While living in Dubai, I learned about myself, discovered my passions, and figured out what I wanted to do in my life.

Today, I am enrolled at the most amazing university where I am a sophomore majoring in a Chemical Engineering. As an international student, moving to the United States was not an easy decision to make. However, I had a strong belief that I would succeed due to the strong education system in the United States.

I arrived at UNL in August 2013 a little scared because I did not speak English very well. However, I remembered my mom telling me to always try my best, help others, make friends, be a good person, and never forget to smile. Nearly three years later, I have many friends at the university and making friends by smiling is easy for me.

Since I came to UNL, I felt there was so much I could do for the university and for the International students specifically. I was not sure where to start until the day I met Veronica Riepe, Director of Student Involvement. She gave me the opportunity to join a group of international students that met with her every other week to discuss issues facing international students. After that, I had more confidence to join other student organizations at the University. I first joined UNL SMILE and then served as the Chemical Engineering representative to the UNL Chapter of the American Institution of Chemical Engineering. I also joined ASUN as the International Representative where I have been involved for three years. I have also been a member of Scarlet Guard for three years and next year will serve on the Board of Directors. I also was recently named to Franco’s List for my outstanding character and volunteer my time in Lincoln by tutoring youth at City Impact and the Malone Center.

There are three key points I would like to share with international students at UNL for them to be successful. Most important, get to know the faculty and staff of the University. They are open minded, willing to listen, and will help you solve any of your concerns. They want the university to be a great place for all of us and will encourage you to share your success and how you think the University can improve. Secondly, get to know the people that make up the Lincoln community. They can help you to feel more comfortable here and assist you if you have any problems. Lastly, have confidence in yourself. Confident that you have the skills and abilities to be successful and that you are truly an important member of this wonderful community.

There is no place like Nebraska. Wherever I go I carry with me my Nebraska pride. I feel that Nebraska is my second home and I have become part of this family. Before I graduate, I will spend six amazing years here and I want all international students to have the same experience. If they follow these three suggestions, I am very confident they will have an amazing experience. Being involved with ASUN, Scarlet Guard, UNL SMILE and numerous other organizations and activities has taught me a lot about what it means to be a member of a great community. It is as important to give to the community as it is to receive and we all need to do both.

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