Hello! I’m Danya, an international student from Saudi Arabia. I moved to the States with my husband and son three years ago, and this year is going to be our last, and we’re going home for good hopefully right after I obtain my degree in ESL education. Leaving the States by the end of this year hasn’t really sunk in yet, I guess it’s because my studies are keeping me occupied, which is a good thing, because I’m SURE when my departure gets closer and closer, I will be COMPLETELY miserable. I will be leaving behind friends who are like a family to me, and a beautiful country.
Even though it has been three years, and I believe I have a pretty solid background knowledge in the American culture; what’s appropriate to do, what’s not, common protocols, social greetings…etc but I learn something new EVERYDAY. I mean, recently, I learned from a cartoon show, which my son loves to watch, that you need to ask for permission before you pet someone else’s pet. I thought of the MANY MANY people my son petted their dogs without permission, and thought to myself “how sweet of them to allow my son pet their dogs and actually allow their dogs to play with him in return!”. Of course, we started asking for permission after that. And this is just an example of what I learn everyday. I guess it’s a good thing that I chose an ESL major, I will have a lot of empathy for my future students, and if they struggle with the new school culture, my advice to them will be “been there, done that. You’ll catch on”.
As a future educator in Saudi Arabia, I would really like to shift our lecture-based, “one size fits all” instructional methods, which I like to call “spoon-feeding” info to students, and create more stimulation in the learning experience of my students by implementing hands-on activities, cooperative and interactive learning, reflective discussions and assignments, and of course, using technology. The plan is also to get them to use technology in assignments , which is VERY rare in our schools.