The student news site of Linfield University

The Linfield Review

The student news site of Linfield University

The Linfield Review

The student news site of Linfield University

The Linfield Review

An interview with Rabea Qaiser, international student

Andrew Beauchamp

We strolled across campus at a leisurely pace along campus, golden hour softly illuminating the fallen leaves which littered the path in front of us. We started the conversation with pleasantries, the usual “how are you” and “how is classes.” However, there was an air of sadness in the conversation because I knew that her time with Linfield was ending, and she would be returning to her home country of Pakistan soon. Rabea is a part of the international student program, hailing from Bahawalpur, Pakistan and attending the Islamic University of Bahawalpur.

Q: When was your first day?

 R: It was the 18th of August, so just a little about a week before the classes started. My last day is the 16th of December.

Q: Why did you choose to come to Linfield?

R: Actually, I didn’t choose it! I applied to a semester exchange scholarship called Global UGRAD hosted by the US department of State, so every year they fly a bunch of kids over here for a semester. So, what we do is we fill out a extensive application and then based on your major they try to find the best place for you and they place you there! I don’t mind Linfield as the choice, the only struggle I have had is the food!

Q: How was your time at Linfield?

R: It has been surprisingly good! Apart from being a little lonely, because I basically am a freshman but not a freshman. They are all so young making friends with each other, and then the juniors and seniors have already made their friends! Even among the international students I am the only one from Pakistan. Apart from that, it has been wonderful! Everyone has been super friendly and super nice. The staff, the students, my instructors have been super supportive.

Andrew Beauchamp

Q: How have your classes been?

R: It’s been good! All A’s, basically acing all of my tests!

A roommate from Pakistan who came here told me “If you are planning to cook, good.” It can be especially difficult with my Halal diet.

Q: Have you been able to find “your people” here?

R: I am friends with a lot of the exchange students, some of the Japanese students, and I have connected really well with two TAs who are from Spain and France. We are close, we all went to Seattle which was fun! I understand that it’s not easy to get close to people in a short time.

Q: Why did you choose to become an international student?

 R: Back home, a lot of people are trying to go out of the country to look for new opportunities. I already had plans to explore abroad, if not here then Europe or the UAE. I saw this scholarship and thought “this is cool,” and completely forgot about it. Three weeks later, one day before the deadline, I decided to fill it out! I wrote my statement of purpose, completing it about three hours before the deadline. Then, four and half months later, I got a call that I had been selected for an interview! I was so surprised, only about 0.2% of students were selected this year which is pretty darn cool! I am very, very grateful to have this opportunity to be on campus.

Q: Anything you found surprising compared to Pakistan?

R: The only culture shock I had is the size of your soda cups! They’re so big! We stopped at Subway when my advisor picked me up at the airport, I ordered a small, and the cup was so large! Apart from that, not much. I have been exposed to a lot of Western media, both print and digital. One pleasant surprise, based on what we have heard from home, is that people aren’t too friendly. However, I have had an amazing experience here. Apparently, it’s more of a West Coast thing! I definitely noticed that when I went to New York.

Andrew Beauchamp

Q: Has It been nice to see other places than just Oregon?

R: It has! I have seen Seattle, which was on my mind before I got here, and then New York was always planned. It with the other international students from Pakistan, about seventeen of us. Back home I never really travelled, so this was very… unique. I feel like a grown-up person! I am not much of travelling fan, but my experience has made me excited to see more places.

Q: Is there any message you want to impart of the people of Linfield?

 To the community at Linfield, I want to say thank you for welcoming me with such open arms. The staff, the students, to all the good people I met here. Thank you for being so accepting. General advice? Break out of your shell, see the world! It’s truly amazing. I would never have imagined I would be able to travel halfway around the world to be here. It is such a different experience. You cannot imagine the experiences you will have.

Leave a Comment
More to Discover

Comments (0)

All The Linfield Review Picks Reader Picks Sort: Newest

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *