5 Year Anniversary YFL- Ahmed’s Story

3 min readSep 3, 2023


August 2022

This was the last photo I took back home, just before I took my luggage and went off to start a whole new life. My mother and I are smiling, pretending that we have it all together, but we actually don’t! We might be laughing. but we’re hiding a lot of tears, trying not to fall apart. However, we definitely know that this is not a “goodbye” because goodbyes mean going away and forgetting and we’re certainly not forgetting, it simply just means that we will miss each other until we meet again.

The good thing about being a student at UMD College Park is that you’re very close to Washington, DC (20 mins metro ride), which is a very good opportunity to visit its well-known historic national monuments and famous museums.

First day on campus was so full of action. I made some friends, got my ID, and took a photo in front of the iconic “Big M.”. They should have told us that they’re going to take the ID picture on the spot, so that we can get ready. However, I think I got lucky with my ID photo.

I had the chance to watch the NFL opening game with my American friends who had a really hard time trying to explain the game to me.

This is the great thing about sports. This photo was taken after Manchester United won against Arsenal, and here you can see Man Utd fans from all over the globe, UNITED in one photo, celebrating that great win.

Overall, the first month was the typical example of the “Emotional Rollercoaster,” where you can’t help but accept your emotions and try to come to good terms with your feelings. You don’t even have to like them. However, you just need to accept that this is how you’re feeling right now, and then you can make decisions on how you’re going to deal with them.

September 2022

Airshows are a big part of the US culture, and, as an aerospace engineering graduate student, I cannot miss this opportunity. I went to the Joint Base Andrews Air & Space show in DC with my Senegalese American friend. It was an extremely fun experience and different for me to witness this number of different airplanes with several designs and multiple functions.

I recently had the change to share Egyptian culture with other students on campus. This event was the Egyptian Student Association’s first event at the University of Maryland. There were a lot of students with many different nationalities, and we all enjoyed an Egyptian-themed night with lots of Egyptian desserts and food.

Ahmed is a 2022 Fulbrighter from Egypt. He studies Aerospace Engineering at the University of Maryland — College Park.