GUST Students Spend Summer at UMSL and GWU

Nov 01, 2015

Nine students were awarded GUST summer scholarship to the University of Missouri - St. Louis (UMSL) and George Washington University (GWU) this past summer. The UMSL group reunited this week with Dr. Jacquelyn Elliott, International Liaison Specialist at UMSL, who guided them during their summer abroad. During their discussion, all students agreed that it was one of the best experiences they have had. Dr. Elliot is looking forward to hosting the 2016 summer scholarship students. Here they talk about their experiences individually:


Btoul Obeissi - International Business Major

Classes attended at UMSL: Industrial and Labor Relations & Organizational Behavior

“No matter how knowledgeable or social a person is in his home country, it is completely different when he travels outside his country. In travelling you interact with different people from different cultures and religions. For me, it was a wonderful experience that added great value to my career. Although I was afraid of experiencing this opportunity away from my family, as an independent person, surprisingly it was an easy, comfortable and valuable trip. After attending my classes, I found that UMSL and GUST have the same system. During these two months, Ms. Jackie our U.S. mother, arranged hangouts for us at different places. We went to the biggest mosaic church which was amazing. It was my first time going into a church and attend a service; it was an experience that will never be forgotten. We also went zip lining and to the caves. We went also to the Arch, one on the St. Louis landmarks. It was the first time I’ve been to such places, and I cannot describe how much I was enjoyed my time. I really recommend this experience to any student. Go for it!”


Mais Shewaikani - Visual Communications Major

Classes Attended at UMSL: Introduction to Music & Introduction to the Arts of Asia

“I can’t imagine not having done this, it was my first time traveling alone and to the US and I absolutely loved it! I went alone with one suitcase and came back with best friends. It’s a chance that every student at GUST should take. Studying abroad in Missouri St. Louis was a life changing experience.  Every day was a new adventure that was completely different from my life at home. Studying abroad gave me a new outlook and perception to life and other cultures around me. I had a tough time convincing my parents to let me do this, as it was all so new to them as well. Being on the other side of the globe with no family was a really big step, but I would do it over and over again if I could. It changed me tremendously. In this competitive job market, study abroad would be impressive on a résumé. It tells employers you’re adventurous and curious; it sets you apart.”


Nouran Mahmoud Elhaddad – Finance Major

Classes Attended at UMSL: Introduction to the Arts of Asia & Fundamentals of Music

“Getting accepted in this scholarship and travelling to the states was a dream come true for me. At first, I was scared but really excited. Missouri was so much fun. We went to many beautiful places. The campus was huge and just walking around was fun and safe. The thing I appreciated the most in this experience was how it really bolstered my independence. And every day I went out there and encountered situations I’ve never encountered here in Kuwait, and had to figure out how to deal with it myself. Metro rides, how to read maps, and getting lost were all new to me, but it was FUN! I’ve definitely changed, for the better for sure. I’m more social, more confident and I know now that I can make it anywhere.”


Rami Yasser Meligy – Accounting Major

Classes Attended at UMSL: Fundamentals of Music & Arts in the Cultures of Asia

“First of all, I'm so glad that I was accepted in this Summer Scholarship Program, and I would really like to thank my beloved university and my second home, GUST for giving me the opportunity and to live such an experience and to see the other side of the world, as I have been always lived here in Kuwait. To be honest, it has been always my dream since I was young to visit any foreign country especially the United States, and I have never ever imagined or expected that I would do so; especially not with an opportunity to go as an honored university student with a scholarship. I can easily say that GUST made my dream come true by motivating me and giving me and my colleagues the opportunity to go there for the summer course for eight full weeks at the University of Missouri St. Louis. We had the chance to be completely independent. Being there and studying as an international student representing my beloved GUST was an honor for me that I can't ever deny and that I will be always be talking about and be proud of. UMSL was a completely new step and stage in my life. This experience has improved me personally, academically and socially. To be honest, I was a bit self-conscious about how I will be able to deal with the people there and to introduce myself as an international student who is only staying for 2 months, especially that I'm not a social person, but I proudly made it and proved to myself that I can be social and interact well with other people.”


Violla Abou Hamdan – International Business Major

Classes Attended at UMSL: Operations Management & Anthropology

“I felt I like I made a new family, we travelled, studied, laughed, cried and enjoyed the experience at UMSL. We learned how to work as a group and at the same time be responsible, independent and take care of ourselves. We were really glad to have the transportation shuttles and metro provided freely for us. We were also given the opportunity to choose and eat three times a day from any restaurant on UMSL’s campus. The campus was huge, so clean and beautiful. I felt very proud and relaxed to stay and study at UMSL.”


Rania Zahi Abu Dabaseh - Marketing Major

Classes Attended at UMSL: Industrial and labor relations & Organization Behavior

“When I got accepted to the program I was so excited and happy. I could not believe that I am travelling to the USA for the first time in my life. I was so excited to attend my classes; I took two management courses and learned a lot from them. The layouts of the courses were similar to the one I take at GUST. As an overall my studying experience, UMSL did not differ for me from GUST. But, I had the chance to meet so many international students, got to know to new culture, learn about different traditions, and visit so many places and even traveled to other states.”


Rayan Al-Mutawa - English Linguistics and Translation Major

Classes Attended at UMSL: Introduction to the Arts of Asia & Fundamentals of Music

“I applied for this summer scholarship because it’s always been a dream of mine to experience studying abroad. I never had the courage and guts to do so earlier. But, after being at GUST, I felt completely ready to take on this adventure, and handle this responsibility. Another main reason why I felt like I had to experience this is that I am planning on attaining my masters in the U.S. as soon as I graduate from GUST. So, having gone through this and having a little taste of how it’s going to be like will definitely help prepare me for that, and ease things when I go there. Starting with the personal level, I have matured so much and learned how to be a responsible person when I wasn’t at all. My self-confidence rose so much and my communication skills improved a lot, as did my time management skills. I was a bit of an introvert, but after being in the U.S. it changed me into being a social, outgoing person who isn’t afraid to speak up and show people what she’s capable of. Being in the U.S. gave me the chance to discover new cultures, ways of thinking, history, customs and lifestyles. Academically, I got the chance to improve my language because I was surrounded by native speakers so I had more exposure to the language, and therefore had more chance to practice it around them. My listening and speaking skills progressed as well because of that exposure. This experience has been a fulfillment of a dream. I will forever be holding onto the beautiful memories I created over there, and to the amazing people I met.”


Reem Lawand - Public Relations and Advertising Major

Classes Attended at UMSL: Introduction to Arts of Asia & Fundamentals of Music

“Words cannot even describe how amazing my UMSL journey was. This trip, studying abroad in America, has been the fulfillment of a dream. The chance to travel to a country that I have never been before allowed me to learn so many new things, meet plenty of people, and have lots of adventures. What was absolutely gorgeous about the campus was the greenery surrounding it. We don’t usually get to see that kind of greenery here in Kuwait so it was all so very new to us. We did all the cleaning, the cooking and it made us all feel like grown ups. I believe that this part of the experience made me rely on myself more and it made me more independent. The accommodations were really nice and the people there were extremely pleasant. I am extremely grateful to GUST for giving me this wonderful opportunity where I got to discover who I really am.”


Shaima Abdulla - English Linguistics and Translation major

Classes Attended at UMSL: Ceramics I & Alcohol, Drugs and Society

“What struck me about St. Louis was the abundant greenery and the mild weather. It rained quite often, which I found to be excellent as I love rainy days. Also, the temperature was very suitable for daytime walks. What I admired about the UMSL campus in general, and our residence hall in particular, was how safe it felt. My courses were very enjoyable and intriguing. Both the instructors and my classmates were friendly and helpful. I was especially delighted in having discussions with the instructors about all sorts of topics – whether directly related to the subject or about other matters. Similarly, and equally fascinating discussions were had with Dr. Elliott whenever there was a chance. I feel fortunate to having the chance to experience and do many things which I’ve been wanting to do for a long time. The first of which was attending a jazz performance at UMSL’s performing arts center, The Touhill. Moreover, I attended a play – My Fair Lady - at St. Louis’ Muny Theater in Forest Park. That was my first play and I enjoyed every moment of it immensely; and the park was one of the most beautiful parks I’ve ever seen. All in all, it was a wonderful experience and I advise all interested and capable students to apply for the scholarship, as they are truly guaranteed the time of their life.”


Muneera Al Mulla – Public Relations and Advertising Major

Classes attended at GW: 18C Europe: Golden-Silver Age & Anthropology of Human Rights

“To rate my overall experience of studying abroad out of 10, I would give it an 11. Yes, it was that amazing; it definitely surpassed my expectations. The International Summer Program’s staff were very accommodating and caring towards international students. Every week a newsletter was sent with planned trips for us. What I loved about studying in a university abroad is the culture diversity, of course. But I also realized that students put in so much effort in their classes and respect their professors, which challenged me to work harder. This experience not only made me gain friends, but more of independence and learning to depend on myself rather on someone else. This trip made me know myself better. Thank you GUST for this unforgettable opportunity.”


Hadeel Qarnous - Management Information Systems Major

Classes Attended at GW: 18C Europe: Golden-Silver Age & DC in the History of Punk Music

“During my time in GWU, I undertook many responsibilities; and came to find out the limits of my own self-determination in a way that made me stronger, more independent, and more mature. From the very first step I took on American grounds, I could smell a new adventurous sensation. I was enthusiastic to experience the six week program; but somehow nervous about handling responsibilities on my own. In the beginning, it was a challenge for me to get to know the city and the places around the campus. We had a nice guide assigned by the international summer division at GWU, to show us around and guide us to the most important places we need like grocery stores, pharmacies, and metro station. I admit that visiting museums was my guilty pleasure the whole time I was in Washington, DC. I loved the museums and everything about them, the peaceful atmosphere, the amazing art pieces, the dreamy visitors, and especially standing in front of a painting while imagining how it was painted by the artist; only to find out that three hours had already passed and the museum was about to close. Other than the museums, I enjoyed the river activities that we used to do on the weekends. I loved canoeing and paddle boating since, in contrast to Kuwait, it was my first chance to practice such energetic outdoor activities. In general, studying in the US really broadened my understanding of other curriculums, and how other universities offer their learning experience to students, thus, gave me a clear idea about the nature of studying there and prepared me to pursue my Master’s degree in a few years. The staff that worked at GWU became like family to us; they organized group activities, trips to other states, and periodic meetings to keep up with us and make sure that we have the maximum possible benefits while we stayed in DC. I would like to thank GUST for the incredible opportunity that was handed to us on a golden platter.”


Ramzi Abou Ghalioum - TV & Radio Major

Classes Attended at GW: International History of the Cold War & Dutch Golden Age Painting

“Over the last six weeks, we would not only come to understand the city, but lapse into the routines of its inhabitants. Whether by joining the sleepy-eyed early morning crowds waiting patiently (or impatiently) at traffic signal crosswalks, or by standing anticipatorily at the edges of metro platforms waiting for the train to come, each of us integrated ourselves with the local culture in some way. Most of what you will come into contact with is the teeming diversity of the students, the stunning aesthetics of the city, the twenty-some odd Smithsonian museums it boasts, the tourist area of Georgetown, and the beautifully landscaped National Mall - all of which will serve, as they did me, to occupy one’s time in Washington truly pleasurably.”


Sara Al-Taqi - Management & Organizational Behavior Major

Classes Attended at GW: Interpersonal Communication & Developmental Psychology

“From a personal perspective, I’ve become more mature, self-confident, independent, adaptable and responsible. I was able to understand and live with people from different cultural backgrounds; in fact, one of my roommates was from China and to this day we still correspond through email and I hope that someday soon I will get to travel there and visit her in her hometown. The heads of the International Summer Program arranged many field trips for all the students so that we could experience as much of D.C. as we could in the short time that we had there. They took us to Annapolis and Philadelphia. They organized an iftar at the end of Ramadan, and we were also invited to attend a basketball game. And I only have GUST to thank for this amazing experience. Because of this experience I will graduate with the knowledge of what I want next. I want to travel abroad and continue my education, I want to see new places and make new friends, and once again, thanks to GUST, I am not afraid to go and do just that. This summer was amazing because I experienced a lot of ‘firsts’; the first time to travel to a foreign country alone, first time I lived alone, first time I did my own laundry, and the first time I completely relied on myself.”


Ali Aakash – Marketing Major

Classes Attended at GW: Anthropology of Human Rights & Interpersonal Communication

“Throughout our 6 weeks, we visited a few places but the one place that was by far the best was six flags amusement park. We spent a whole day there and it was an amazing experience. Other trips included our visits to museums, historical sites in Annapolis (Capital of Maryland), the naval academy and many more. The trip was a great success and a huge stepping stone for me personally, I felt like I learned a lot from it and I am a far better person now, a far more mature individual. I had to exhibit responsibilities I never had to before such as controlling my spending, making my own food, doing my own laundry etc. I learned the value of staying close to people but also keeping a distance, and most importantly, I learned the value of alone time. It was one of the best experiences of my life and I have been encouraging all my friends who are eligible to this scholarship to seize this great opportunity.”


Taibah Almansour – Public Relations and Advertising Major

Classes Attended at GW: Interpersonal Communications & DC in the History of Punk Music

“The dorms were surprisingly clean and spacious, and my roommate from GUST and I shared ours with two very kind Chinese exchange students. We had to learn to manage our budget, shop for our own groceries, and even take out the trash which we rarely happen to do at home. During the trip, we experienced so much that we would normally not be able to experience. We went kayaking, rode rides at Six Flags, and walked practically everywhere. All in all, I would describe this experience as eye opening and magical. Nothing in my life was quite like it. I met amazing people, went to beautiful places, and learned so much in just 6 weeks and I owe it all to this experience.”