Program: KAUST Foundation Year
Fisher Bennett Hall was the first building I stepped into at the University of Pennsylvania. I remember how I pushed the heavy doors in order to get in, and was welcomed by the face of William Shakespeare just in front me. It felt so new and strange. For a week or two, it was all about meeting new people and getting to know the place. The food trucks, the famous places, and running between classes just to get there in time, were all things that made this place so special. What is so great about the ELP and Philadelphia in general is that there is always something to do. I enjoyed all the events I went to, from musical nights to political debates. They were memorable times. In class, I’ve learned so much about thinking critically and truly giving it my best. I enjoyed how I was challenged in many classes to give more than what I think I’m capable of. My English developed greatly, and I am now more confident in my communication skills. I feel like I’m a better thinker and a more adept writer. I am sure that these skills will help me greatly in my life. I loved how Philly is so close to New York City, but at the same time, it is so full of historical places and breath taking landscapes.
I came to the ELP program just a little after I turned 18. To be honest, it was scary and I was the furthest thing from sure when I came here. It was a full ride. I had some tough times when I wondered what I was trying to do and what really I was trying to accomplish. I had my moments of thinking about the reasons that I came here for, and I questioned my decision, but you know what? I had the thrilling moments of trying new things. I felt the happiness overwhelm me when I saw my hard work pay off. The moments when I tried new things that I could not have even thought about. I remember many deep conversations with strangers I just met, and other fun incidents that I went through. A year had passed, but it was such a transformation that I couldn’t have wanted to be at any other place than the ELP.
I spent about ten months at the ELP, and I can certainly call it home now. Between sitting in the Student Center room, drinking the addictive hot chocolate, and meeting new people from different parts of the world every now and then, I gained so much about myself in terms of who I am and what truly matters to me. It was truly such a rich and full experience in many ways. I genuinely had the time of my life.