A Year in the Fulbright Life: Maryam’s Story

The first person I met after my arrival in the United States was Rei. They’re an exceptionally nice person all around. Soon after we became friends, they treated me to a trip to the Kansas City Renaissance Festival. During our time on the road, they bought me my first spice pumpkin latte and it has since become one of my all-time favorite beverages! At the fair, we participated in many activities such as face painting, buying Renaissance-themed crowns, listening to Renaissance music, watching stage acts, and engaging in several sports, including high striker and archery games!

Alyse was the second person I met after my arrival in the United States. Not only has she been very generous, she has also introduced me to many different fun activities. She also introduced me to two lovely individuals: Ali from Pakistan and Shamna from India. While traveling, we have engaged in many conversations about our respective cultures and shared many laughs.

We visited the Nelson Atkins Museum of Art in Missouri. I was astonished the entrance fee was free! The art was mesmerizing and almost alive. I was utterly captivated by the artists’ accuracy and the perfect execution of their works. Moreover, the museum exhibits an encyclopedic collection of art from nearly every continent and culture, including ancient Egypt. I was so honored to be given this opportunity to tell my friends about the rich history of my homeland. When we were done, we went to an Indian restaurant, where I had some of the best shrimp masala I’ve ever had. Afterwards, we sampled Korean sweets and purchased some souvenirs. We were especially thankful to learn some basic Korean greeting phrases from the helpful shopkeeper! I thoroughly enjoyed myself and want to do it again.

My new friends have been incredibly kind and considerate. Since I arrived shortly after my birthday, they bought me many hoodies and gifts themed after my favorite anime. They invited me to numerous celebrations, both private and public, including Halloween. I was so grateful to connect more with the local community thanks to my friends!

One of the most active organizations that I have been introduced to since my arrival is Bridges, an organization welcoming and serving international students studying around San Francisco Bay Area. I participated in many of their events, including hiking at Konza Prairie Biological Station, where I first met Hunter. We ended up becoming friends, and he invited me to join him and his family and friends during Thanksgiving. I had a great day; the turkey was fantastic, and I especially liked the casserole — my first ever! I also tried a lot of other new types of food that I ended up absolutely loving.

The pleasant climate is one of my favorite aspects of living here. When the sun goes down, the sky takes on the most beautiful hue. I also enjoyed my first snow this month, and I hope next time I can build a snowman and share this experience with you.

Maryam is a first-year Fulbright student from Egypt. She is studying Entrepreneurship at the University of San Fransisco.

Follow updates from Maryam 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 Maryam does this year!



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

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