Name: Abdullah Al-Owisi
Major (s): I finished my undergraduate years with a finance major and an accounting minor. I am now finishing up my Master’s of Science in Accountancy (MACC)
Languages spoken: Arabic and English
I picked the University of San Diego firstly because it was on the list of approved schools I could attend under the scholarship from the Kuwaiti Ministry of Higher Education. The list of schools I could choose from was rather broad but choosing a school in the beautiful city of San Diego, which I had heard a lot about was easy. I had never been the United States prior to my college career but I had a friend who started college in San Diego before me. So I consulted him about San Diego in general and the University of San Diego in particular, he told me I shouldn’t think twice about coming here, and the rest is history.
In terms of transitioning from Kuwait to the United States, I thankfully did not face as much of a culture shock as I initially anticipated. Academically speaking, I had attended an American school my whole life back in Kuwait and so the academic setting required almost no adjustment whatsoever. Culturally speaking, it was the college culture that was relatively new to me. I think this is the same regardless of where you go to school, the transition from high school to university always requires some form of adjustment. For me personally the biggest difference was living alone for the first time in my life, away from my family, my friends, and my country. I was truly independent for the first time in my life, and I flourished with this newfound independence.
I had always had plans to pursue higher education and not stop at a bachelor’s degree. So after completing my four years of undergraduate studies, I stumbled upon the MACC program at USD. Due to my solid academic performance in my four undergrad years, I had qualified for a scholarship to pursue a Master’s degree. At the same time the job market back home in Kuwait was flooded with recent graduates, especially with business majors like myself. I needed to go one step further to distinguish myself from the other recent graduates and stand out from the pack. I can’t say I had had enough of San Diego at the end of my four-year adventure, but on the contrary. I was eager to stay. And so I applied for the MACC program at USD, and I got in. Being a numbers guy, I liked finance and accounting, and I did very well in those classes, so naturally I jumped at the opportunity to pursue the Masters of Science in Accountancy at my same school, USD.
The MACC program is only one year long so before I knew it I was staring at my last remaining months here in the United States. At this stage of my life, I had spent five years in undergraduate and graduate studies and was ready to enter the job market to apply all that I had learned. I welcomed the prospect of working in San Diego but acknowledged the potential difficulty regarding my international visa status. So I applied for the Optional Practical Training Program (OPT) and I am expecting to receive my card any day now. At this moment I am still engaged in the job search and I have accepted the obstacle set forth by my international student status. However, this does not discourage me any less to keep trying to find a job here and hopefully get the opportunity to prove myself in the American job market. If I feel I have a better opportunity to progress in my working career back home, then I am not hesitant to go with that. I had the disadvantage of starting my job search a little late as a piece of advice I would give to international students is to try and establish networking connections with employers early on in your academic career. I am looking forward to this new chapter in my life and I thank the University of San Diego for being my home for the last five years.
I wish all the USD students the best of luck in their current academic careers and future employment. Go Toreros!