By Rawaa Ali

The Arab family always aspires to support its children at all stages of their studies. For this purpose, they sacrifice much to achieve this goal, especially if their children are inclined to excel in learning. But Arab families face many challenges in order to realize theirs and their childrenrealize theirs lls goal, especially ifurposeties arise when the family is a new immigrant to America due to language challenges and understanding of the regulations and fundamentals of the U.S. educational system.

Throughout primary, intermediate, and preparatory school, families prepare for their children by purchasing various school needs such as clothes, shoes, bags and stationery. However, it seems more complicated and expensive when a student attends university. Huda Al-Khankak, Iraq, said:  said:  such as clothes, shoes, bags and stationery. However, it seems more complicated and expensive when a student attends university. Huda Al-y daughter came to study medicine, we found that new and different admission requirements were needed to make her life easier. As a first step, I studied the English language for two years as a second language at the University of Nova. That started a new journey and a greater responsibility for our family. Her father had a big burden regarding her tuition for the first year as an out-of-state student, for she did not exceed her year-long residency in Virginia. On the other hand, we have encountered a cultural obstacle of adapting to the American educational system, which is completely different from what we have previously experienced. I studied electrical engineering at the Technological University of Baghdad, and her father is a professor and a doctor in electrical engineering at the University of Baghdad, but we need someone who understands our Arab culture and what we are trying to accomplish.

Huda added that after her daughter completed her language studies and majors in general science at the University of Nova, she was required to study medicine later. They were forced to leave work and move from Stafford to Richmond, where their daughter had a full-time medical scholarship at Virginia Commonwealth University. It seems that the father of the student, Mr. Daoud al-Rubaie, found it difficult to find suitable and reasonably-priced accommodations near the university, as he also bears all the expenses for their daughter to study and maintain the grant.

The 21-year-old student explained that what her parents are doing at this stage is very different from any previous stage of her education.  My parents left work for me and bought me a car so that I could go to university, and now they are preparing themselves to buy textbooks, some of which cost about $200.”

In addition to the need to work hard to overcome the language barrier and to understand the scientific material, there were no counselors who understood exactly what was needed and could provide proper guidance. s needed and could provide proper guidance in 1991, I was accepted to study medicine at Ain Shams University in Cairo, but we emigrated to America. The most important problem I face is not finding anyone to guide me to the path I must follow to reach my goal of studying medicine. There are lots of excellent advisors, who took us on an introductory tour of the university departments and explained to us the mechanism of the educational system in an excellent manner. But no matter how much I tried to explain my goal and what I wanted, I found that they do not understand exactly what I mean. There are many medical specialties and branches, and each medical specialty has its own requirements. If you do not know the right path to your goal, you will discover that the counselor is guiding you as he understands and not as you want. So we need to have a university guide to master the Arabic language and understand our culture, so that we interact with the community strongly and positively and go beyond this important stage in our lives.”

The challenges faced by Malak to enroll in university studies are not limited to her. She is part of a large number of students facing similar challenges in order to reach their goal of higher education. This also applies to parents who may find themselves facing new challenges they have not previously planned for, especially if they are new immigrants.

بقلم‭ ‬رواء‭ ‬علي

تصبو‭ ‬العائلة‭ ‬العربية‭ ‬دائما‭ ‬الى‭ ‬ان‭ ‬ينحح‭ ‬ابناؤها‭ ‬في‭ ‬جميع‭ ‬مراحل‭ ‬دراستهم‭. ‬ولأجل‭ ‬هذا‭ ‬الهدف‭ ‬يضحون‭ ‬باكثير‭ ‬من‭ ‬اجل‭ ‬تحقيق‭ ‬هذا‭ ‬الهدف‭ ‬وخاصة‭ ‬إن‭ ‬كان‭ ‬ابناؤهم‭ ‬ذو‭ ‬ميول‭ ‬للدراسة‭ ‬والتفوق‭. ‬ولكن‭ ‬تواجه‭ ‬العائلات‭ ‬العربية‭ ‬تحديات‭ ‬عديدة‭ ‬من‭ ‬اجل‭ ‬تحقيق‭ ‬حلمهم‭ ‬وحلم‭ ‬ابناؤهم‭ ‬بالنجاح‭ ‬والتفوق‭. ‬وتزداد‭ ‬الصعوبات‭ ‬عندما‭ ‬تكون‭ ‬العائلة‭ ‬من‭ ‬المهاجرين‭ ‬الجدد‭ ‬الى‭ ‬أمريكا‭ ‬بسبب‭ ‬تحديات‭ ‬اللغة‭ ‬وفهم‭ ‬القوانين‭ ‬وأساسيات‭ ‬النظام‭ ‬التعليمي‭ ‬بالولايات‭ ‬المتحدة‭.‬

ففي‭ ‬سنوات‭ ‬الدراسة‭ ‬في‭ ‬المراحل‭ ‬الابتدائية‭ ‬المتوسطة‭ ‬والإعدادية‭ ‬تجهز‭ ‬الأسر‭ ‬أولادها‭ ‬بداية‭ ‬العام‭ ‬الدراسي‭ ‬بمختلف‭ ‬الاحتياجات‭ ‬المدرسية‭ ‬من‭ ‬ملابس‭ ‬أحذية‭ ‬حقائب‭ ‬ومواد‭ ‬قرطاسية‭ ‬إلا‭ ‬أن‭ ‬الأمر‭ ‬يبدو‭ ‬أكثر‭ ‬تعقيداً‭ ‬وتكلفة‭ ‬عند‭ ‬التحاق‭ ‬الطالب‭ ‬بالدراسة‭ ‬الجامعية‭. ‬حيث‭ ‬أكدت‭ ‬السيدة‭ ‬هدى‭ ‬الخناق‭ ‬من‭ ‬العراق‭ ‬ذلك‭ ‬في‭ ‬قولها‭: ‬‮«‬حالما‭ ‬يتقدم‭ ‬الطالب‭ ‬للقبول‭ ‬الجامعي‭ ‬تبدأ‭ ‬مرحلة‭ ‬جديدة‭ ‬في‭ ‬حياة‭ ‬الأسرة‭ ‬أكثر‭ ‬تعقيداً‭ ‬وصعوبة‭. ‬فعندما‭ ‬تقدمت‭ ‬ابنتي‭ ‬ملاك‭ ‬لدراسة‭ ‬الطب‭ ‬تبين‭ ‬لنا‭ ‬وجوب‭ ‬توافر‭ ‬متطلبات‭ ‬جديدة‭ ‬ومختلفة‭ ‬خاصة‭ ‬بالقبول‭ ‬لتسهل‭ ‬حياتها‭ ‬الدراسية‭. ‬كخطوة‭ ‬أولى‭ ‬درست‭ ‬اللغة‭ ‬الإنكليزية‭ ‬لمدة‭ ‬سنتين‭ ‬كلغة‭ ‬ثانية‭ ‬في‭ ‬كلية‭ ‬نوفا‭ ‬للمجتمع‭. ‬وهنا‭ ‬بدأت‭ ‬رحلة‭ ‬جديدة‭ ‬ومسؤولية‭ ‬أكبر‭ ‬تقع‭ ‬على‭ ‬عاتقنا‭ ‬كأسرة‭. ‬تحمّل‭ ‬والدها‭ ‬عبأ‭ ‬كبيراً‭ ‬في‭ ‬تحمل‭ ‬نفقات‭ ‬دراستها‭ ‬للسنة‭ ‬الأولى‭ ‬على‭ ‬اعتبارها‭ ‬طالبة‭ ‬من‭ ‬خارج‭ ‬الولاية‭ ‬لكونها‭ ‬لم‭ ‬تتجاوز‭ ‬في‭ ‬إقامتها‭ ‬السنة‭ ‬داخل‭ ‬فرجينيا‭. ‬ومن‭ ‬ناحية‭ ‬أخرى‭ ‬واجهنا‭ ‬العائق‭ ‬الثقافي‭ ‬من‭ ‬حيث‭ ‬التأقلم‭ ‬والتكيف‭ ‬مع‭ ‬النظام‭ ‬التعليمي‭ ‬الأمريكي‭ ‬المختلف‭ ‬تماما‭ ‬عما‭ ‬اختبرناه‭ ‬سابقاً‭ ‬فقد‭ ‬درست‭ ‬أنا‭ ‬الهندسة‭ ‬الكهربائية‭ ‬في‭ ‬الجامعة‭ ‬التكنولوجية‭ ‬ببغداد‭ ‬أما‭ ‬والدها‭ ‬فهو‭ ‬أستاذ‭ ‬ودكتور‭ ‬في‭ ‬الهندسة‭ ‬الكهربائية‭ ‬بجامعة‭ ‬بغداد‭ ‬إلا‭ ‬أننا‭ ‬بحاجة‭ ‬إلى‭ ‬من‭ ‬يفهمنا‭ ‬بثقافتنا‭ ‬العربية‭ ‬وبطريقة‭ ‬طرحنا‮»‬‭. ‬

أضافت‭ ‬السيدة‭ ‬هدى‭ ‬إلى‭ ‬أنه‭ ‬بعد‭ ‬أن‭ ‬أكملت‭ ‬ابنتها‭ ‬دراسة‭ ‬اللغة‭ ‬والتخصص‭ ‬بمادة‭ ‬العلوم‭ ‬العام‭ ‬في‭ ‬جامعة‭ ‬نوفا‭ ‬كمتطلبات‭ ‬لدراسة‭ ‬الطب‭ ‬فيما‭ ‬بعد‭.‬‭ ‬أصبحوا‭ ‬مضطرون‭ ‬إلى‭ ‬ترك‭ ‬العمل‭ ‬والإنتقال‭ ‬من‭ ‬مدينة‭ ‬ستافورد‭ ‬إلى‭ ‬مدينة‭ ‬ريتشموند‭ ‬حيث‭ ‬تقع‭ ‬جامعة‭ ‬فرجينيا‭ ‬كومونولث‭ ‬بعد‭ ‬أن‭ ‬حصلت‭ ‬فيها‭ ‬ابنتهم‭ ‬على‭ ‬منحة‭ ‬دراسية‭ ‬كاملة‭ ‬بدوام‭ ‬كامل‭ ‬لدراسة‭ ‬الطب‭. ‬وعلى‭ ‬ما‭ ‬يبدو‭ ‬فإن‭ ‬والد‭ ‬الطالبة‭ ‬ملاك‭ ‬السيد‭ ‬داوود‭ ‬الربيعي‭ ‬وجد‭ ‬صعوبة‭ ‬في‭ ‬العثور‭ ‬على‭ ‬سكن‭ ‬يناسبهم‭ ‬بالقرب‭ ‬من‭ ‬الجامعة‭ ‬لإرتفاع‭ ‬الأسعار‭ ‬وكونهم‭ ‬يتحملون‭ ‬كافة‭ ‬مصاريف‭ ‬ابنتهم‭ ‬لتتفرغ‭ ‬إلى‭ ‬الدراسة‭ ‬وتحافظ‭ ‬على‭ ‬المنحة‭ ‬التي‭ ‬حصلت‭ ‬عليها‭. ‬

أوضحت‭ ‬الطالبة‭ ‬ملاك‭ ‬ذات‭ ‬21‭ ‬عاما‭ ‬بأن‭ ‬ما‭ ‬يقدمه‭ ‬والديها‭ ‬لها‭ ‬في‭ ‬هذه‭ ‬المرحلة‭ ‬يختلف‭ ‬تماما‭ ‬عن‭ ‬أي‭ ‬مرحلة‭ ‬أو‭ ‬احتياج‭ ‬دراسي‭ ‬سابق‭ ‬مضيفة‭: ‬‮«‬لقد‭ ‬تجاوز‭ ‬الأمر‭ ‬ما‭ ‬كان‭ ‬عليه‭ ‬في‭ ‬السابق‭ ‬فقد‭ ‬ترك‭ ‬والديّ‭ ‬عملهما‭ ‬من‭ ‬أجلي‭ ‬وقاما‭ ‬بشراء‭ ‬سيارة‭ ‬لي‭ ‬حتى‭ ‬أتمكن‭ ‬من‭ ‬الذهاب‭ ‬إلى‭ ‬الجامعة‭ ‬إضافة‭ ‬إلى‭ ‬أنهم‭ ‬الآن‭ ‬يجهزون‭ ‬أنفسهم‭ ‬لشراء‭ ‬الكتب‭ ‬الدراسية‭ ‬التي‭ ‬تصل‭ ‬تكلفة‭ ‬بعضها‭ ‬إلى‭ ‬200‭$ ‬تقريباً‮»‬‭.‬

‭ ‬وإلى‭ ‬جانب‭ ‬ضرورة‭ ‬اجتهاد‭ ‬ملاك‭ ‬لتتجاوز‭ ‬عائق‭ ‬اللغة‭ ‬وفهم‭ ‬المادة‭ ‬العلمية‭ ‬لزيادة‭ ‬معدل‭ ‬درجاتها‭ ‬من‭ ‬أجل‭ ‬الحفاظ‭ ‬على‭ ‬المنحة‭ ‬الدراسية؛‭ ‬إلا‭ ‬أنها‭ ‬افتقرت‭ ‬إلى‭ ‬المستشار‭ ‬الذي‭ ‬يفهم‭ ‬ما‭ ‬تريده‭ ‬بالضبط‭ ‬مبينة‭:‬‮»‬‭ ‬بعد‭ ‬تخرجي‭ ‬من‭ ‬المدرسة‭ ‬الثانوية‭ ‬بمصر‭ ‬وبمعدل‭ ‬91‭, ‬تم‭ ‬قبولي‭ ‬لدراسة‭ ‬الطب‭ ‬في‭ ‬جامعة‭ ‬عين‭ ‬شمس‭ ‬بمدينة‭ ‬القاهرة‭ ‬لكننا‭ ‬هاجرنا‭ ‬إلى‭ ‬أمريكا‭. ‬أبرز‭ ‬مشكلة‭ ‬واجهتها‭ ‬هي‭ ‬عدم‭ ‬إيجاد‭ ‬من‭ ‬يرشدني‭ ‬إلى‭ ‬الطريق‭ ‬الذي‭ ‬يتوجب‭ ‬عليّ‭ ‬أن‭ ‬أتبعه‭ ‬للوصول‭ ‬إلى‭ ‬هدفي‭ ‬في‭ ‬دراسة‭ ‬الطب‭. ‬يوجد‭ ‬الكثير‭ ‬من‭ ‬المستشارين‭ ‬المتميزين‭ ‬حيث‭ ‬أخذونا‭ ‬في‭ ‬جولة‭ ‬تعريفية‭ ‬لأقسام‭ ‬الجامعة‭ ‬وشرحوا‭ ‬لنا‭ ‬آلية‭ ‬النظام‭ ‬التعليمي‭ ‬بشكل‭ ‬ممتاز‭. ‬لكن‭ ‬مهما‭ ‬حاولت‭ ‬أن‭ ‬أشرح‭ ‬هدفي‭ ‬وما‭ ‬أفكر‭ ‬به‭ ‬أجد‭ ‬أنهم‭ ‬لا‭ ‬يفهمون‭ ‬ما‭ ‬أقصده‭ ‬بالضبط‭. ‬توجد‭ ‬اختصاصات‭ ‬طبية‭ ‬متنوعة‭ ‬وفروع‭ ‬كثيرة‭ ‬ولكل‭ ‬اختصاص‭ ‬طبي‭ ‬متطلباته‭. ‬أخشى‭ ‬أن‭ ‬أسير‭ ‬في‭ ‬طريق‭ ‬لا‭ ‬تكون‭ ‬نتائجه‭ ‬كما‭ ‬أتمنى‭ ‬فإذا‭ ‬لم‭ ‬تكن‭ ‬تعرف‭ ‬الطريق‭ ‬الصحيح‭ ‬لهدفك‭ ‬فستكتشف‭ ‬بان‭ ‬المستشار‭ ‬يوجهك‭ ‬كما‭ ‬يفهم‭ ‬هو‭ ‬وليس‭ ‬كما‭ ‬تريد‭ ‬أنت‭. ‬لذا‭ ‬فنحن‭ ‬بحاجة‭ ‬إلى‭ ‬وجود‭ ‬دليل‭ ‬جامعي‭ ‬يتقن‭ ‬اللغة‭ ‬العربية‭ ‬ويفهم‭ ‬ثقافتنا‭ ‬حتى‭ ‬نتفاعل‭ ‬مع‭ ‬المجتمع‭ ‬بقوة‭ ‬وإيجابية‭ ‬ونتجاوز‭ ‬هذه‭ ‬المرحلة‭ ‬المهمة‭ ‬في‭ ‬حياتنا‮»‬‭. ‬

فالتحديات‭ ‬التي‭ ‬تواجهها‭ ‬ملاك‭ ‬للإنخراط‭ ‬بالدراسة‭ ‬الجامعية‭ ‬ليست‭ ‬حكراً‭ ‬عليها‭ ‬فهي‭ ‬جزء‭ ‬من‭ ‬عدد‭ ‬كبير‭ ‬من‭ ‬الطلبة‭ ‬يواجهون‭ ‬نفس‭ ‬التحديات‭ ‬من‭ ‬اجل‭ ‬الوصول‭ ‬الى‭ ‬هدفهم‭ ‬في‭ ‬التحصيل‭ ‬الجامعي‭. ‬وهذا‭ ‬ايضاً‭ ‬ينطبق‭ ‬على‭ ‬الأهل‭ ‬اللذين‭ ‬قد‭ ‬يجدون‭ ‬انفسهم‭ ‬امام‭ ‬تحديات‭ ‬جديدة‭ ‬لم‭ ‬يخططوا‭ ‬لها‭ ‬من‭ ‬قبل‭ ‬وخاصة‭ ‬ان‭ ‬كانوا‭ ‬من‭ ‬المهاجرين‭ ‬الجدد‭.‬