Tell me about your first day when you came to the US?
Coming to the US, you know, I was scared, obviously there was a lot of differences from where I come from in the middle east. Coming to the US, I always knew that it would be different but something that really stood out to me was the walkability of when I got to Ann Arbor. Because in Kuwait it's very drive-focused and being able to walk around made me really happy with it because I'm a person who really likes nature, and, you know, exploring. So walking really was something cool which I was able to do. Other than that, people were so much nicer here going into regular stores such as grocery stores. They are so much more welcoming and much more helpful. Overall, I felt very welcomed into America, obviously there was people who weren't great and the language was different than what we talked in Kuwait. I'd be talking Arabic, over here I'm talking English. But I think I accustomed well into the culture, so from an emotional standpoint I didn't feel excluded within the community. I felt kind of welcomed in.
Did you find yourself having any difficulties during this major adjustment?
I wouldn't say difficulties, I would say there were some concerns about coming into a new culture and not knowing anyone in the city of Ann Arbor. I was scared obviously to make new friends and try to adjust to this new way of life here. But honestly everyone was really helpful here so it went pretty smoothly. Another thing is here people are more outgoing, small talk is huge here. In the lines of grocery stores or a restaurant or something, people will talk to you in the lines. And where I'm from in Kuwait, it's more like you just do you, focus on yourself, and then get your stuff done.
Can you take us through your first day?
That first day I got here I was mainly setting up my dorm so I was not really occupied within meeting people and stuff. It was stressful, it was a lot to do setting up everything, trying to find out where my classes were, trying to get around the campus. But from an emotional standpoint, I was just stressed out trying to figure everything out. But as I said before, everyone was welcoming and everyone was helpful here, so I managed to do everything smoothly when I got here.
Thank you Shaan for the insightful interview