From Albania to Zimbabwe: Interview with Ma’an Odeh ’16

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No matter where you are in the world, From Albania to Zimbabwe is the right place to find out about international happenings at Brown University! Hi, I’m Celina Stewart, a sophomore concentrating in International Relations here at Brown, and this is my space to give you updates and info about all things international at Brown, including international student life, international speakers, and different clubs and activities with an international focus. Read along and explore everything international at Brown! 

Guess what? It’s interview time! Since this is the first interview of the semester, a brief introduction to how I do interviews: essentially, I ask questions, and the interviewee responds. I just edit for grammar, so the content is all them. You’ll see my questions in blue and the response below.

This week’s interview is with Ma’an Odeh, a Palestinian student in the class of 2016. Last year, we lived on the same hall, and had some great times chilling in the hallway with the rest of our unit (Perkins 3rd floor, reppin’) playing indoor soccer (don’t tell our RPL/Cs…). Here goes:

1. Why did you choose to attend Brown? Did you consider any other international schools? 

I was first introduced to Brown by a Brown alumnus who had just graduated from Brown and had a wonderful time, and so I was convinced that Brown was the best university ever. And it turned out to be true. What I liked most about brown is the high percentage of international students as well as the open curriculum feature brown has.

I considered one other school but Brown was my first choice.

2. How has your transition to living at Brown and in the United States been? Do you get homesick, get to visit home often, or have language barriers between other students? 

Although Brown was not my first experience in the US, my transition into Brown was different. Brown is an amazing place and being part of this community has been great. I consider myself very attached to home so I get homesick from time to time but being surrounded by an international group of friends makes me think about home less often. I visit home every summer. Language is part of the culture, and sometimes it’s hard for us international students to explicitly express what we want to say but through time it gets easier and easier.

3. Had you attended classes in English before arriving at Brown?

I did a postgraduate year at the Lawrenceville boarding school before coming to Brown so I had attended classes in English.

4. Do you participate in activities with the international community at Brown? If so, which ones?

Not really.

5. Do you hang out with other international students? If so, do you share similar experiences with them? 

My closest group of friends at Brown is all international students and we share similar experiences.

6. I know that there is a lot of discussion about Israel and Palestine on campus, not to mention the Middle East. Do you feel that these discussions are aware of the opinions of students from the region? Have you felt welcomed as a student from Palestine? 

Everyone talks about the Palestinian-Israeli conflict, not only at Brown, but also all over the world. I have always felt welcomed at Brown as a student from Palestine because students are more aware of the reality. As a Palestinian refugee, I always get asked questions about my background and my opinion about the conflict, and it makes me glad that people actually start to care.

7. Do you have any advice for students wondering about applying to Brown?

Brown is a very diverse community that welcomes all kinds of people. It has been great being an international student at Brown for me. My advice for students wondering about applying to Brown is to come visit here and I am sure Brown will be one of their top choices.

Have  questions or comments? Feel free to email me at celina_stewart@brown.edu and I’ll get back to you as soon as possible! Or, if you’d rather, just comment on the blog! 

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