'Worry less, and just do it!'


Mohammad Almagweshi in the mountains at WuTaiShan: “I gained the grit required to seek my passion”

Mohammad Almagweshi ’18 arrived in Beijing this summer with “zero” knowledge of the language.

So the chemical engineering major had to rely a lot on his IES friends to show him around and order food.

eidalfitr Until one Friday night, when - equipped with what he had learned from his friends and the Mandarin language classes he was taking – Mohammad ventured into an alley that had a restaurant on every corner. He walked up to curry place, and spoke the Mandarin words for "I want chicken breast curry over rice."

The workers understood him. They asked if he wanted the order to go. Mohammad understood them -- and said yes.

 “That simple encounter made a huge difference in my Chinese learning,” Mohammad said.  “That night marked one of many encounters with Chinese that I had later on as I learned more words and phrases.” The photo at left, for example, was taken in QingDao during the celebration of Eid Al-Fitr.

Mohammad was in Beijing as part of the Beijing - Summer Language Intensive program offered through IES. He took the equivalent of two language courses and a Chinese history course to satisfy his humanities electives here.

But he came back with much more than a handful of credits to count towards his major.

“Through my time there I learned more about the people of China, the different ethnicities, the environmental challenges, and the Chinese Dream,” Mohammad said. “And, eventually, I fell in love with the culture. I discovered that half of my previous perceptions were imprecise and inaccurate.”

He also learned some things about himself.

“I gained the grit required to seek my passion and push forward to reach my personal goals of discovering more and adventuring through the unknown. Before, I had doubted that I could seek opportunities like this. But now that I did it, I know that I can do more and more, and I will.”

The hardest part, he said, was worrying – sometimes unnecessarily – about all the details of arranging his trip. “Thankfully, this is easily managed and solved by immediately consulting with the Study Abroad staff  - very cool and helpful people, by the way. Other than that, the process was relatively easy – a 4 on a scale of 10, with 10 being very hard.”

For example, two of the things that worried him most – getting his visa application done and a medical report – were taken care of in a single day.

His advice to other students contemplating study abroad:

“Worry less, and just do it!”

forbidden city  Mohammad took this selfie at The Forbidden City in Beijing.