Student talks about American culture

Hailah Saaed is originally from Yemen, a country located 7,990 miles away from the United States on the Red Sea, just south of Saudi Arabia. Saaed is a second-year graduate student getting her masters in political science and public administration. Going on her fifth year in the United States, Saaed is still learning new things about American culture, and more specifically, Southern culture.

Why did you come to America and choose The University of Alabama?

My dad worked in Michigan for 30 or 40 years and then my mother brought us here so we could get an adequate education. That was one of the main reasons. Education and personal security.

What do you like about campus?It's pretty. I went to different states at research conferences and when I come back, I have a new appreciation for campus. It's very green. It's very organized. It just looks nice and

What do you not like about campus?

The bus system. They're so slow, traffic. Those kinds of things. Well, actually, there is more students, so it's suffocated.

Was it hard to adjust? If so, what was hard and what was easy to adjust to?

Yeah, it was very hard. I came to this country knowing little English. And I did not know much about the culture, because it was very different. It took me about three years to start eating American food. And when I went to school, I would just wait until I got home to eat. And that was the case for my siblings too. It was difficult being a minority. The way I dress, according to my culture, just kind of stands out.

What’s the weirdest things Americans do?

In terms of customs, when someone gives you a gift, in American you open it up in front of that person. In our culture, you wait until that person leaves, then you open it. Just so you don’t put them on the spot.

How do you feel about football?

So, I have been here for too long. Five years at Alabama. I was convinced last year to go to a game. I was there five minutes, and then I left. It’s nice, I guess, the spirit. I think here it is almost a religion, you know. If you had to pick between Christianity and football, I think football would win.

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