Skip to Main Content

From One Culture to Another

Share This Story

Bay Path University Senior Zain Aldawaleebi ’18 takes the journey from Saudi Arabia to the United States to focus on education

By Mia Ryder ’18

A New Start

Going to college is a difficult transition for most people. Many students choose to study a few hours away from their home, but can easily make the trip back if needed. Imagine not only going a state away, but an entire country. That’s what happened to Zain Aldawaleebi ’18 in 2013 when she packed up everything she knew and made the journey to the United States from Saudi Arabia to further her education.

Zain’s journey began when she followed her brother to the United States. Life back home was different than the new environment she had stepped into. In Saudi Arabia, she was surrounded by family, brought up with six brothers. When one of her brothers packed up and came to San Francisco, California to learn English, she decided to do the same. He was getting a better education than what was available in her home country, and she wanted access to the same resources.

She arrived in San Francisco with no understanding of the English language and had to find her way to her new homestead with an American family and people from all over the world, none of whom spoke English either. It was difficult for her to balance so many different cultures in her living area while trying to become accustomed to American culture as well, but she seized every opportunity for learning and adventure that came her way and eventually adjusted to her new surroundings.  

Zain studied English for two years, and during that time, she was focusing on more than just her studies. She met her husband at her school in San Francisco and from there, married and had a daughter.  

Future Plans

After learning how to speak English and being integrated into American culture for two years, Zain and her husband decided to further their education and attend college. They looked at countless colleges and universities before they finally found the one that was right for both of them: Bay Path University.

Zain’s journey from Saudi Arabia to the West Coast and then to the East Coast was difficult and thrilling, but it was all to lead her to where she needed to be. At Bay Path, she feels that she can live up to her full potential and make a difference in her chosen field, communications. Communications is not a common study in Saudi Arabia, so Zain plans to travel back home once she gets her bachelor's degree and share what she has learned with her community.