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January 26, 2011 - Image 12

Resource type:
The Michigan Daily, 2011-01-26

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Wedesay 21156

has remained devoted to the sport, traveling
to almost every college football stadium and
witnessing big games with his friends. These
experiences, as well as the sports culture in
Ann Arbor, make the University of Michigan
the right place for Concha.
"I really feel that a college life anywhere
else in the world wouldn't give me the oppor-
tunity to experience all these things in the
same place," he said.
Though Concha has adjusted to life inAnn
Arbor and has made friends easily, he said he
still maintains a large group of close friends
who are from Latin America.
Other cultural practices he continues
include drinking scotch - the beverage of
choice forEcuadorianmen - and asearchfor
healthy foods, a task Concha said is almost
impossible when navigating the campus eat-
Though Concha ultimately plans to return
to Ecuador, he says he has enjoyed his col-
lege experience and plans to maximize the
remainder of it.
"As much I love my home, I love this place
too ... I'm enjoying it very much, and I never
regret a single moment coming here," he said.
Comparing his recent North American
experience to a childhood in Pakistan, Engi-
neering junior Abran Khalid notes one large
difference that to some may seem trivial:
Khalid spent his childhood in Lahore, Pak-
istan - the second largest city in the country
- where electric light was sometimes pre-
cious due to occasional outages. He lived in
a busy neighborhood with narrow alleys and
bazaars he described as akin to scenes from a
Bollywood movie.
Completing the city's vibrant picture,
Khalid described games of cricket played
on the streets. Kites were often seen in the
air, with children gluing powdered glass to
kite strings for the popular, yet currently
banned, sport of kite fighting. The resulting
cuts on participants' hands and fingers from
tightly holdingthe string were the reward for
knocking another kite out of the air.

As Khalid explained, life in the city
revolved around food, with shops opening
at 5:30 a.m. to meet the demands of the hun-
dreds of people waiting in line to be served.
Inside, a shopkeeper would diligently make
lassi, a drink made from yogurt and water,
with their hands.
As a teenager, Khalid moved from the city
streets to suburbia. Though the scenery was
beautiful, Khalid said there were no more
cricket games or kites flown in the air. And
though suburbia included large lawns and
expensive cars, it was far removed from the
numbers of children and adults living in pov-
erty who Khalid became accustomed to see-
"I (had) stopped noticing beggars on the
street," Khalid said. "It's something you get
used to."
Attending McGill University in Canada
before returning to Pakistan and later com-
ing to the University of Michigan in 2010,
Khalid said he was "extremely, extremely
excited" to begin classes at the University.
And as he approaches anew semester, Khalid
said he feels he has grown and changed from
his cricket playing days in Pakistan.
"I feel that I'm much more independent
than I was back home and much more confi-
dent," Khalidsaid.
Khalid said he feels lucky to have the
opportunity to study abroad in the United
States. It's an educational environment far
different from that of his own country, where
he claims women are lucky if they reach an
undergraduate education, and lives are dev-
astated by floods.
"Education is free here, education in Paki-
stan is not free. It's very, very limited ... I feel
that even if you have basic quality of educa-
tion that still motivates you to do something,"
Khalid said.
Balling his hand in his fist and striking the
table, Khalid said he is determined to com-
plete his education and eventually return to
Pakistan to teach children about world reli-
gions and historical events that most have
never heard of, like World War II. But most
of all, like his friends who have returned to
Pakistan, Khalid wants to see a change.
"I want to do the same because we all have

to put in effort to bring about a change. It has
to change sooner rather than later," he said.
Engineering sophomore Issa Fakhoury
jokes that in his hometown of Amman, Jor-
dan, he doesn't live in a tent or ride a camel
to school.
In fact, when looking out his window at
home, Fakhoury saw a street that looks a lot
like a modern American city - one brimming
with cars and the vibrant lighting from fran-
chised restaurants. It's even possible to hear
the dim humming of Western films and tele-
vision shows in neighboring homes.
But each modern household contains a
family, a set of principles and traditions. For
Fakhoury, it's because of the close-knit com-
munity that allowed the large city to become
a hometown and gives Jordan life.
In his community made up of friends,
family, cousins and cousins of cousins, news
travels fast and, as Fakhoury says, almost
everything is public knowledge.
"It's a smaller community, you feel like
everyone knows each other. It seems like
wherever you go, you're going to see someone
you know and everyone knows what's going
on, which is a good thing and a bad thing," he
But Fakhoury thrived on this proximity
as he met for Friday lunches with one set of
grandparents and spent Tuesdays with the
other. In between visits, Fakhoury found
time to play soccer (or football, as he calls it)
and attend a private school in the city.
Though he lived a modern life, the ancient
city of Petra is only three hours away, with
stone buildings surrounded by roads busy
with the traffic of donkeys and camels. As
one of the new Seven Wonders of the World,
the stone buildings of Petra are one of Fak-
houry's favorite places in the country. They
represent the older culture he carries with
Bringing his culture from Petra's ancient
streets to the ivy-covered buildings of the
University, Fakhoury still likes to maintain a
connection with his country - waking up at
7 a.m. to watch soccer games in Jordan and

reading about current events and listening
to Jordanian radio stations, which Fakhoury
admits often play American music.
And even after he's attended American
football games and weathered the freshman
15 - which he jokes was actually 15 kilos
- Fakhoury said he still feels some of that
freshman uncertainty that initially led him
to the University.
"I never knew what I was going to be. I
still don't know what I want to do really. But I
wanted to come here, I wanted to get a differ-
ent experience," he said.
Last semester, LSA freshman Zera Eri
Arika Zulkifli celebrated her first snowfall
by creating a snowman and snow angels
with her friends. It was one of many firsts for
Zulkifli, who is accustomed to the climate of
her home city, Ipoh, Malaysia, where a con-
stant warm rain falls from the skies.
"We (felt) kind of kiddish," Zulkifli said,
For Zulkifli, the island of Penang, which
connects to the coast of Malaysia by a long
bridge, is a haven. Water skiing on the Malacca
Strait and lying on the island's sandy beaches
is how Zulkifli and her friends unwind from
the stressful schoolyear.
Last fall, however, Zulkifli found herself
in a much different setting. Walking into her
first day of class at the University, unsure but
excited, Zulkifli said she was shocked by the
openness of students, both in their friendli-
ness toward her and their frequent question-
ing of the professor. Faced with these friendly
students, Zulkifli said she was forced to over-
come her own shyness and adapt to the class-
room environment.
"I was really nervous like, 'am I going to fit
in?,' but it went well," she said.
Thoughshe describes the Malaysian people
as reserved and quiet, Zulkifli enthusiastically
described the adventures she wants to have in
college, which include trying ballroom danc-
ing, rock climbing and bungee jumping.
But even after one semester at the Univer-
sity, Zulkifli has had many new experiences.
See WORLDLY, Page 8B


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