"I am an international student. I think a lot of international students, before coming to the US, have a lot of concerns about how things are going to go. I was the definition of how shy and difficult the transition can get so basically there’s many people coming from countries where the economic conditions are a little different. A lot of things were new, and a lot of things were… just different, you know? And basically, I would go out and simple things like going to a halal truck and I’d see the food costing $5 and converting it to my local currency and then just being extremely surprised by how much it would amount to, how much money you’re paying for chicken over rice. I would wonder, “what are you even cooking? Like what are you putting in the food!? Why is it FIVE dollars???” So all those things were very shocking to me and very different.
I would also always be doing my schoolwork. I went to a freshman party at the end of my freshman/beginning of sophomore year. I had my 4.0 and it was the only thing I cared about- nothing else. I really recommend all the international students to not do that. It is just very bad. You need to have a balance. And then I did a 180, I went through a lot of policy violations at Drexel, including the academic probation. And now I am happy that I am somewhere in the middle of that spectrum, which is good. So definitely don’t be too reckless but certainly don’t be hard on yourself by doing nothing but study. The thing that changed me the most and made me who I am today is mostly because Drexel is really trying hard and Philadelphia, in general, is trying really hard to make the environment very diverse; my country is not too diverse. My views on different communities, the LGBTQ community, and different races broadened a LOT. My views were very narrow, I was basically going by the stereotypes. It is very interesting to communicate, interact with people of different societies, different beliefs, cultures. I think it changed me in a huge way. I became more open to everyone and realized that you can learn from literally anyone. They all have their own struggles, their strengths, their weaknesses. There is something to learn from everyone, you just have to give them a chance to explain. There was no way I would be getting that experience back home."