Abdullah Alsaihati - Texas Intensive English Program

Abdullah Alsaihati

Here at TIEP, all of us are international students, and that mix of culture creates a fascinating environment to learn a language. All of us have shown tremendous courage by coming here. We left our homes, our friends, and our country to come to America with the goal of mastering the English language, something that is not an easy task. We are very fortunate to have been given this opportunity. Many people around the world are envious of what we are doing here, and we should be proud of ourselves that we are among the ones doing it.

At the conclusion of this course, I was able to gain acceptance to the University of Colorado at Boulder. I am here to tell you that if I can get accepted to a good institution like this then you can. To help you accomplish this, I want to share with you the experiences that helped me achieve this and some of the things I have learned along the way.

The first thing I want to share with you is the process in which I applied for college. If you guys are like me, this was something completely new to me because in my country all I had to do was enter my social security number into a website and it automatically applied for me. However, America is difficult and makes you go through a long and sometimes irritating process just to apply. The thing I had to do was take all the standardized tests such as the TOEFL and the SAT. When I originally took them I did not study at all and did not get the scores I wanted to. This made me realize that in order to get high scores I was going to have to really put a lot of time into them. I then started studying really hard and retook them and ended up raising my TOEFL internet based score by 15 points and my SAT by 300.

Another new thing I encountered while applying to colleges in America is the essay requirements. Almost every school you will apply to will have an essay requirement, and they can be very time consuming which is why you shouldn’t wait until the last minute to do them. They can be a very important factor to whether you get accepted or not, and it’s the one time in your application you can really show them your personality. I spent a lot time writing mine and thankfully received help from teachers and one of my American friends. I suggest that when you write your essays that you seek help from your teachers and peers and an American if you are able to find one since they are all used to writing essays like these.

Something else that is really important that you all need to pay attention to is the deadlines each university gives you. They are very strict with application deadlines, and there are no exceptions if you miss them. For the first university I applied to, I missed the deadline by a day. When I called them, they told me they were sorry, but there was no way I could apply for the coming fall. I was very sad about things and kind of shocked it happened, but it was a good learning experience for me because from then on out I made every single one of my deadlines and got accepted to three different universities. This is one of the most exciting things I have experienced in my life, and eventually you will be able to experience it too.  Just remember to always keep track of your deadlines and take them very seriously.

The next thing I consider really important to learning experience in America is cultural diversity.  Many of us come from very different backgrounds. This is something that most of us have never experienced before. Coming from Saudi Arabia at least this was definitely the case for me. This cultural diversity might be the single most important thing we can take away from living in America. Nowhere else in the world is more culturally diverse than America, and by being exposed to this we learn things we have never encountered in our lives before. I think this cultural diversity causes us be more well rounded people instead of just single minded people from one country. Therefore, I encourage you to take advantage of this cultural diversity and learn all you can from your peers while you have the chance.

The last thing I want to talk about is how much help and support I have received from TIEP. The teachers and advisers here have a wealth of experience and were able to help me with every single problem I had. From simply helping me with a question on my homework to big things such as long term life decisions, they never cease to give me answers. Another thing my teachers have done for me was write me fantastic recommendation letters.  It was surely their kind of highly praised words that helped me get into many good universities. So I want to tell everyone they should value and respect the teachers here for their knowledge, wisdom, and kindness.

In conclusion, I thank everyone, especially my classmates for supporting me and making it enjoyable to come to class every day. Lastly, I want to leave you all with a piece of advice which is to start strong and end strong in everything you do. Thanks for listening, and may God bless the world!