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Meet Mohammed, an Iraqi Pre-Med Student in Minnesota

mohammed
mohammed
Name:
Mohammed Al-Suraih

Home Country: Iraq

School: The College of St. Scholastica

Year: 2013

Major: Biochemistry/Pre-Med track

Why did you decide to study in the US?

I have always wanted to make it to the States since I was little kid. It was like a promise that I made to myself that I should come here. However, big part of it was because of unstable situation in my hometown. I would also say it’s because of big numbers of American shows I used to watch back in the time, and how the western culture got into my head. And also because I never liked the education system in my hometown.

What show do you think most informed your opinion on what the US would be like? Was it accurate?

Numbers of shows but they are all inaccurate! Shows only inform you about how much fun you are going to have in the States but never bring the hard work students do every single day.

What’s one thing you like better about the US than your home country so far?

Absolutely the Internet. I like how everything is just connected to one single and huge system, which is the World Wide Web. I mean how great it feels when you can simply do homework online, talk to your professor via e-mail, and do all of your shopping online.

What’s one thing you like better about home than the US so far?

Definitely the food. Oh man I miss my mom’ delicious white spicy rice. Oh my god I miss my favorite Iraqi dish, Biryani.

What one thing from home did you make sure to bring with you to the US?

I brought my Iraqi flag, my Qur’an, and my prayer rug.

What’s the one thing you most want to teach Americans about your country?

It’s a difficult question; I think I want them to know every thing about my culture. Most of the people I have met don’t know anything about my country. I want to tell them that we are not very different from you guys, we do live in houses (not in tents), and we do ride cars (not camels), and surprisingly we do eat ice creams, lol. I want Americans to know how beautiful my country is, and how friendly, lovely, and generous Iraqis are.

What’s one thing (academic or not) that you’re really interested in besides your academic major?

Every year, I look forward for Intramural league in my school. I get to play soccer, tennis, and doge ball. Intramural league always keeps the academic stress down.

What three words do you think your friends would use to describe you?

I have heard people saying I’m a nerd, not my favorite. I have heard smart, funny, and cool.

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Which schools have biggest alumni networks?

FILE - In this March 14, 2019, photo, students walk on the Stanford University campus in Santa Clara, Calif.
FILE - In this March 14, 2019, photo, students walk on the Stanford University campus in Santa Clara, Calif.

In addition to considering the cost and reputation of a school, prospective students should consider alumni networks – connected graduates who can help with the job search once classes are complete.

Writing in University Magazine, Anwar Abdi takes a look at the 25 U.S. universities with the largest alumni networks. (June 2024)

Report: Number of college dropouts remains high

FILE - The name for the University of Southern California is displayed at a campus entrance in Los Angeles, April 16, 2024.
FILE - The name for the University of Southern California is displayed at a campus entrance in Los Angeles, April 16, 2024.

Enrollment in U.S. colleges and universities is increasing, but the number of dropouts remains high, according to a report in the Chronicle of High Education.

Amanda Friedman writes that more former students are returning to school, but many want shorter-term programs, such as certificate programs. (June 2024)

Xi wants more exchanges between US, Chinese universities

FILE - Chinese President Xi Jinping talks to U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken (not seen) at the Great Hall of the People, on April 26, 2024, in Beijing, China.
FILE - Chinese President Xi Jinping talks to U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken (not seen) at the Great Hall of the People, on April 26, 2024, in Beijing, China.

Mutual understanding between China and the United States can be improved by having more university exchanges between the two countries.

According to Bloomberg, Chinese President Xi Jinpin told Xinhua News Agency that exchanges could develop young ambassadors who understand both countries. (June 2024)

Students learn protests can affect job prospects

FILE - Students protesting against the war in Gaza, and passersby walking through Harvard Yard, are seen at an encampment at Harvard University in Cambridge, Mass., on April 25, 2024.
FILE - Students protesting against the war in Gaza, and passersby walking through Harvard Yard, are seen at an encampment at Harvard University in Cambridge, Mass., on April 25, 2024.

Some students in the U.S. are learning their public stances on the Israel-Hamas war are having an impact on job prospects.

Financial Times reports that protest activities are turning up in background checks, and employers have revoked employment offers to students as a result. (June 2024)

UCLA names new chancellor as campus is still reeling from protests over Israel-Hamas war

Dr. Julio Frenk, the next chancellor of UCLA, listens to questions at a news conference, June 12, 2024, in Los Angeles.
Dr. Julio Frenk, the next chancellor of UCLA, listens to questions at a news conference, June 12, 2024, in Los Angeles.

The president of the University of Miami was chosen Wednesday to become the next chancellor of the University of California, Los Angeles, where the retiring incumbent leaves a campus roiled by protests over Israel's war against Hamas in Gaza.

Dr. Julio Frenk, a Mexico City-born global public health researcher, was selected by regents of the University of California system at a meeting on the UCLA campus, where there were a swarm of security officers.

Frenk will succeed Gene Block, who has been chancellor for 17 years and announced his planned retirement long before UCLA became a national flashpoint for U.S. campus protests. This spring, pro-Palestinian encampments were built and cleared by police with many arrests, and again this week, there were more arrests.

Frenk has led the 17,000-student University of Miami since 2015 and previously served as dean of the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health and as Mexico's national health secretary, among other positions.

In a brief press conference, Frenk said he was approaching the appointment with excitement and humility.

"The first thing I plan to do is listen very carefully," Frenk said. "This is a complex organization. It is, as I mentioned, a really consequential moment in the history of higher education."

Frenk did not comment on specific protests at UCLA this spring or the current administration's response, which initially tolerated an encampment but ultimately used police to clear it and keep new camps from forming.

During public comment in the regents meeting, speakers criticized UC administrators, alleged police brutality, complained of a lack of transparency in UC endowments and called for divestment from companies with ties to Israel or in weapons manufacturing.

Speakers also talked about experiencing antisemitism on campus and called for an increased law enforcement response to protesters.

Later, about 200 people rallied, including members of an academic student workers union and the Faculty for Justice for Palestine group as well as students from other UC campuses. Participants held signs calling for charges to be dropped against protesters who have been arrested.

Block departs UCLA on July 31. Darnell Hunt, executive vice president and provost, will serve as interim chancellor until Frenk becomes UCLA's seventh chancellor on January 1, 2025.

In previous roles, Frenk was founding director of Mexico's National Institute of Public Health, held positions at the World Health Organization and the nonprofit Mexican Health Foundation, and was a senior fellow with the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation's global health program.

Frenk received his medical degree from the National University of Mexico in 1979. He then attended the University of Michigan, where he earned master's degrees in public health and sociology, and a joint doctorate in medical care organization and sociology.

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