Students from all parts of the world are not that different from each other. Abdullah Alkamees comes from Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, but he’s just like any other 20-year old American student.
One of his favorite hobbies is watching TV. House of Cards, Breaking Bad and Modern Family rank among his favorite shows. His hobby is related to his passion, filmmaking. He said, “I learned a lot of stuff about filmmaking from YouTube and Vimeo.” Movies also assisted him in learning English. He plans to apply to the New York Film Academy and obtain a master’s degree in filmmaking, after he finishes a bachelor’s degree in software engineering from King Saud University in Saudi Arabia.
Abdullah’s experience abroad is different from most international students in that he is living with his family. His father came to the U.S. to study English to supplement his Ph.D. in business, bringing Abdullah, his mother, two younger brothers and three younger sisters. His siblings attend public school in Ephraim. While he enjoys living with his family, he also looks forward to living on his own and having new experiences. He will be returning to Saudi Arabia at the end of the spring semester to finish his degree at King Saud University.
When Abdullah first came to Ephraim, he was surprised at how helpful and friendly residents were. A friend took Abdullah’s family to Walmart on their first day, and another visited their home to make sure they had everything they needed. He says, “In our neighborhood, we have a lot of kids. They knocked on our door and asked my little brothers and sisters to play with them. It’s really cool; I didn’t expect to see that. Everyone says “Hi” to you, and everyone’s friendly. I was thinking that everyone would be more ‘Mind your own business.’ They were very helpful.”
Abdullah is Muslim, but the nearest mosque is in Orem, so his family prays and worships at home. In June through July, they observe Ramadan, a 30-day period of daily fasting from sunrise to sunset. Eid al-Adha, or Feast of the Sacrifice, is an upcoming Muslim holiday which falls on the 4th of October and commemorates the story of Abraham and his willingness to sacrifice his son in obedience to God. Abdullah’s family will also celebrate Saudi Arabia’s national holiday on the 23rd of September. Dancing and music are a big part of this celebration.