International student takes advantage of single Boston semester


Sarina Tracy
Journal Staff

Walking through Suffolk’s campus is almost like walking through a foreign embassy.  Dozens of languages are heard on a daily basis, and hundreds of foreign pupils are taking advantage of what the university has to offer.  However, no student is more accomplished in this than senior Houssam Saeed. Saeed, an international student hailing from Cairo, Egypt, is at Suffolk for his fall semester.  According to Saeed, the similarities between his Egyptian and American schooling are few and far between.

“It’s a lot more organized here,” he said. “There’s a plan, there’s a system to getting somewhere.  In Cairo, it’s not as academically oriented.” When asked about his view of the American higher education system, Saeed deemed it a success.

“People are competing to be the best in class.  Others back home, they aren’t as committed.  I was sort of in that path before coming to the United States, and being here has totally changed my future, especially just by being in Boston.  It’s a great city.”

Saeed is taking advantage of every opportunity that Suffolk, as well as Boston itself, has to offer.  “Every event that the university holds, whether it’s regarding my career or future goals, I attend.  Career week was a great resource.  Suffolk’s affiliation with the ALFPA (The Association of Latino Professionals in Finance and Accounting) has held great executive summits.  There’s also an event over at Harvard Business School that I will be going to, with keynote speeches by some of the leading Arab world figures of business, economics, and education. The Queen of Jordan will be there too.  It’s a great opportunity.”

Saeed is also a member of The Journey, Suffolk’s four-year leadership program which allows students involved to “find their vision and develop their leader within” by going on retreats, learning the ropes of different tasks (such as sailing), and taking part in service-learning initiatives. Remarkably enough, Saeed is able to participate in The Journey for his one semester at Suffolk.  “I’m trying to do as much as I can while I’m here,” he said. “Sailing was just one of the things we did.   We also took a trip to New Hampshire in the White Mountains where we zip-lined. It was awesome. I had never seen snow in my life, so I’m a little nervous seeing it here,” he laughed.

Rest assured, as all seasoned New Englanders know, he is in for a treat with the relentlessly cold weather. However, Saeed’s introduction to the winter months will be abbreviated, as he will be leaving Boston at the end of the semester for a long-awaited reunion with his family.

“I haven’t seen them since June 4.  The only contact I’ve had is through Skype, and thank god for Skype.”

Unfortunately, Saeed is unsure about his future in Boston.

“My plan after graduation is to look for a job, because I’m a business major and need two years of work experience,” he said.  “That will hopefully be in Boston, but there’s always the issue of sponsorship.  So I don’t know if I’ll be coming back just yet.  But hopefully.”