Saudi Arabian student flourishes at SHSU

Salma Mohaimeed’s greatest challenge in studying at SHSU was speaking English proficiently. Salma Mohaimeed is 27 years old, comes from Saudi Arabia and will receive her master’s in mathematics next fall.

Before she began her master’s program at SHSU, she was studying at A&M’s English Institute in College Station.

In order to enroll in an American university, Mohaimeed was required to pass the Test of English as a Foreign Language, which is a standardized test to measure the English language ability of non-native speakers. Many English-speaking academic and professional institutions accept the TOEFL.

Mohaimeed said the TOEFL was very difficult for her because she was not confident in speaking. She was much more adept at writing in English than speaking. When she first took the TOEFL, she did not score high enough, but as time passed, her scores eventually improved.

When Mohaimeed finally scored high enough to enroll in a university in the United States, she applied for graduate school at Sam Houston State University. To her dismay, Mohaimeed missed the deadline for applications. Despite the late admission, the professor at SHSU encouraged her to apply anyway.

“It’s kind of a miracle that they accepted me,” Mohaimeed said.

Mohaimeed did not expect to be accepted into SHSU but was relieved and overjoyed at the news. If SHSU had not allowed her into the master’s program, Mohaimeed would have returned to Saudi Arabia.

While being in the United States, Mohaimeed also admits that there were some cultural differences she had to get used to. In Saudi Arabia, Mohaimeed had little to no contact with men in school, but being in America was the first time she was able to interact with the opposite sex.

From her experience, most of the Americans she worked at SHSU were mostly unaware and oblivious to Saudi Arabian culture because there were awkward instances in where she had to inform men that she was not able to shake hands with them.

Currently, there are three women and two men who are also in the master’s program with her. She has built close relationships to all of her fellow graduate students and enjoys doing research together as a team.

Justin Ball, the International Student and Scholar Adviser always enjoys helping Mohaimeed with whatever she needs.

“I’ve known her just by her stopping in and helping with her paperwork. Our interactions have always been great. Salma’s an excellent student, and I enjoy every time she comes into the office.”

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