By Mohammed Baqer Al-Jubouri
Being a student in the United States has been my dream since I was in the high school in Iraq. I studied hard to be the highest ranked student in undergraduate nursing program and the master program in Baghdad University in order to get a scholarship. After a hard competition with thousands of Iraqi students, I got a scholarship to complete my doctorate degree in nursing at Oklahoma City University (OCU) in the U.S. The first few months in the U.S. were very difficult for my family and me to live because of a new culture, language, people and even food. Stress was at its higher level. The main challenge after arriving to the U.S. was the English language. I was afraid to speak English, and it was challenging my educational journey. However, after spending five months in the English Language Center at OCU, I began my doctorate program in fall 2014 in Kramer School of Nursing.
In fact, every beginning is hard for everyone, and the first month in the PhD program was really hard for me to understand the educational system in the U.S. Over time, I have become used to the teaching and learning styles in the U.S. Learning modern styles of teaching strategies, leadership, and research have added a lot to me. Also, I loved to compete with domestic students in terms of getting high grades. In 2016, my grades were amazing, and they were higher than even domestic students. In fact, my goal changed from passing the PhD program to be the first ranked student in the PhD program.
In time, I was used to living in the U.S. and arranged my time to study and live. My son was enrolled in kindergarten, and I started to play soccer with American people. Also, I became an official referee at Soccer City in March 2015, and this increased my charisma. As a result of adapting to the new life in the U.S., stress has been decreased, but my wife, my kids, and I are still missing our families, relatives, and friends in Iraq.
At the end of spring 2017, I got my doctorate degree with a high standing level. This ended the journey that I began three years ago, which was full of bumps. In fact, I consider my life in the U.S. as an open buffet that I should take whatever I want; put them in my luggage and take them back to my country. I should eat and I should take to go as much as I can. In fact, whatever I have learned is not a knowledge that belongs to me, it belongs to Iraqi people, too. The Iraqi government paid my salary and tuition from people’s taxes, so it is my responsibility to share what I have gotten from the open buffet with Iraqi people. This thought made me learn more; not just for myself, but for my country. Cultural diversity was one of the dishes in the open buffet. I learned how to be honest with people because I noticed that most people in the U.S. tell the truth. Also, I noticed that people in the U.S. do not say scandal. They do not care what you wear, eat, drink, ride, etc. Furthermore, I have learned that law is law for everyone, and everyone should respect it even if it is not forced. Indeed, no community is perfect, and the American community is not without bad things. Therefore, I take whatever I like from the open buffet, and for sure I will leave the rotten food.
Now, I am ready to go back home to share what I have learned in the U.S. with Iraqis. I will miss my friends in the U.S. especially in Oklahoma. They made Oklahoma my second home, and I really appreciate their help and support. Thank you all!
Mohammed Baqer Al-Jubouri, an international student from Iraqi, is a recently graduated from Kramer School of Nursing at Oklahoma City University with PhD. Dr. Al-Jubouri started his journey in March 2014 and finished it successfully in April 2017. He published many studies and participated in many conferences. He is a faculty member in the College of Nursing at Baghdad University in Iraq. Dr. Al-Jubouri will go back soon to serve the Iraqi people with the knowledge and practice that he have earned in the U.S.