A Year in the Fulbright Life: Abdullah’s Story

For the next year, Fulbright MENA will be showcasing a handful of students as they study in the United States with their new series, A Year in the Fulbright Life. Each month, spotlighted students will share an update as they continue on their Fulbright journey.

August 2017

“One week after arriving in the United States, I had the chance to see the eclipse! It’s great when nature offers a way to connect with society!”

October 2017

In October, I had the opportunity to participate in the International Friendship Program supported by my university. I was lucky to be matched with a very nice and welcoming American family. They generously invited me to have dinner in their house, where I had a great time. I am also looking forward to experiencing Thanksgiving with them and their entire family next month.

November 2017

November has been a great month. I have been doing many activities with new friends, participating in workshops and projects, and progressing in my Master’s studies. I’ve made new friends playing sports, like soccer, and by going out and visiting new spots around Cleveland. One of my best experiences this month was sharing Thanksgiving dinner with my American host family for the first time, which was a very special night since I had the chance to meet their extended family and enjoy that night with them. Such experiences help me blend in better with American society, learn from them, and teach them about my country, its values, and traditions.

December 2017

In December, I experienced Cleveland’s cold and snow for the first time, which I surprisingly enjoyed. I finished the first semester of my Master’s program with all its projects and exams, and am proud that I did very well. Now it’s time to relax during the vacation, enjoy Christmas and New Year’s Eve in the United States, and do some tourism around Cleveland before the beginning of the next semester.

Picture of Abdullah at the Cleveland Museum of Art- one of the top art museums in the world!

January 2018

The first half of January was part of my winter break, so I was able to relax and enjoy the snowy winter, it’s my first time seeing this much snow! While the second half was the beginning of my second semester of my Master’s program, and although it seems to be a busy semester, I will make sure to enjoy it.

I also made a new friend on campus. ⛄️

February 2018

“In February I decided to spend more time playing and watching sports, so I started a football (soccer) team within my Civil Engineering Department and participated in my university football league. I also started supporting the Cavs and attending their NBA games in Cleveland, and I am lucky that they never disappoint.”

March 2018

“In March I participated in a Fulbright Enrichment Seminar in Saint Louis, and it was without a doubt one of the best experiences during my Fulbright Program. I had the chance to meet and get to know many great Fulbrighters that I can definitely call friends now, participate in the seminar sessions that gave a wonderful overview on how cities in the United States grow and develop, and learned how to improve my leadership skills.

I had great time exploring the city with its famous Gateway Arch and museums. This and other experiences in my Fulbright Program make me realize how this is a life changing experience and how lucky I am to be part of it.”

April 2018

As a Fulbright student, it is important to not only contribute to my university in the academic field, so I founded, along with other fellow graduates, the Graduate Civil Engineering Student Association (GCESA). This association aims to organize academic and recreational activities, help new students joining the department, and tighten and enrich the relationships between the students and the faculty members. During the last month, we organized a number of BBQs around the city so that the students can enjoy the beautiful spring in Cleveland before finals begin. It was the best way to say good bye to the students that will leave us at the end of the semester.

May 2018

After finishing another great semester at CWRU, which I am proud to say it was very successful in all aspects, it is time now to travel and explore the United States. My first trip was to Niagara Falls, and I was astonished by the natural beauty of the oldest state park in the country.

June 2018

I joined some Fulbright friends on a trip through the East Coast. We managed to visit 11 states where we had a great time and unforgettable memories and met many other Fulbrighters and friends in every city we visited. I fell in love with many cities, but New York is definitely my favorite.

July 2018

I visited many places in the Mid-West and South, including Chicago, Michigan, and Texas. I particularly enjoyed visiting the Willis Tower in Chicago and learning how it revolutionized the design of skyscrapers around the world. Moreover, I attended my first rodeo match in Dallas. I used to watch many cowboy movies when I was young, and I wanted to experience the atmosphere in person.

August 2018

At the beginning of August, I went on a camping trip with some Fulbright friends in Colorado and Yellowstone. It was an amazing trip full of hiking, mountain climbing, exploring nature, and seeing wildlife. Then, I joined another Fulbright group on a road trip through the West Coast. We started from Seattle, went south through many cities, beaches, and national parks in Oregon, California, Arizona, and Nevada. Throughout my travels, I realized how the diversity makes the United States and strong.

September 2018

After doing a lot of traveling in the summer, it was time to go back to school and focus on my research. I still made sure to have some time to volunteer with some on-campus organizations such as the Graduate Student Council (GSC) and the Graduate Civil Engineering student association (GCESA), as this gave me the chance to get to know new people and give back to the community. I also enjoyed participating in many sports with my friends, such as football (soccer), badminton, ping pong, and rock climbing. Moreover, I had the pleasure to attend my first orchestra show in Cleveland, which has one of the best orchestras in the world.

October 2018

Fall in Cleveland is such a beautiful season. To see every leaf on the trees as a golden flower is something I can never get enough of, but I’m also ready to welcome the winter and snow.

Abdullah is a second-year Fulbrighter from Jordan working on his MS in Civil Engineering at Case Western Reserve University.

Follow updates from Abdullah and other Fulbright students on our Facebook and Twitter pages. Check back here every month for more updates on the blog and Medium Series to see what Abdullah does this year!

Read more Fulbright stories here.

Fulbright Foreign Student Program in MENA blog. Sponsored by U.S. Dept of State. https://www.amideast.org/our-work/find-a-scholarship/graduate-study/fulbright