VOA's Global College Forum Series profiles students from abroad studying at America's colleges and universities. In this edition, we profile Dima Nuseibah. The Kuwaiti native is stying adverstising in Missouri.
A native of Kuwait, Dima Nuseibah has traveled far to come to the United States. She says it is a privilege to be studying in the United States. "When I first graduated from high school, I wasn’t allowed to come to the United States. Some of my friends were coming, but I wasn’t because first of all my parents couldn’t afford it." she explained.
"Second of all, it is not really appropriate for a girl to come to the United States unless she is either married or accompanied by her brother. So of course I am not married and my brother was not coming with me," she says. "Then my mother came up to me one night and she said 'if you apply for a scholarship and get accepted' then she is not going to stand in my way and I would be able to come to the United States and pursue my education. And I did apply for a scholarship and I got it."
"I think Kuwait is getting better about the whole idea of women going abroad to study, but it is still not accepted by everybody. So the fact that my parents are open-minded and pro education," she says. "I am so glad, because I have been getting a good experience by coming here and I am learning about myself not just education. I am just very happy."
Dima received an undergraduate degree at Penn State University and is now pursuing her master’s degree at the University of Missouri. Her area of study is advertising. She wants to use what she has learned to help women back in Kuwait. "I am doing my masters actually at the University of Missouri. I am doing [an] advertising sequence," she explains.
"When I first came here I didn’t know anyone so I was kind of nervous," she says. "I was scared. I didn’t know what to expect but what I found was people are so friendly here in the midwest. Everybody is willing to help. You just have to ask. It has been a really good experience. The thing is about the university itself is the professors here are so eager to meet the students which is something I wasn’t use to back at Penn State, because at Penn State you just go to class and you leave and if you want to make an effort to meet the professors you really have to put the effort. They are not that friendly," she says. "But over here they really stress on professor and student relationship which I actually really love."
"Right now I was just with my chair-committee member and I have decided that I am going to do my master’s topic on ‘How woman are portrayed in advertising in Kuwait.’ I knew I wanted to do something with Kuwait because first of all I am from there and eventually I will go back to work there," she says.
"Since my field is advertising, I started looking at previous research that has been done on Kuwait and there was nothing. Right now currently in Kuwait there is a lot of feminist movements going on to gain like voting so that woman can vote and stuff like that," she says. "So I thought it would be perfect to see how woman are depicted in magazine advertisements in Kuwait and if they reflect the change that is going on in this society at the same time."
Dima says she enjoys living in the United States. But she says Kuwait is a place that everyone should consider visiting.
"I love Kuwait. Kuwait is my home. It is a great country. It is different in its own unique way. And it is not like what everybody thinks about desert and camels. she says. It is an actual city and it is not like what people image it is a very pretty place. I think everyone would fall in love with it if they went to Kuwait." she said.
Dima Nuseibah says she is interested in furthering her education by pursuing a doctorate degree. Then, she would like to return home and teach at the University of Kuwait. Dima is enthusiastic when talking to other students who are interested in pursuing their education in the United States. "I would tell them that is it an invaluable experience. It is the greatest thing I have ever done and it will definitely change their life in a good way."
Dima Nuseibah is one of more than 500,000 international students currently enrolled in U.S. colleges.