Columbia

Probably most of you already know this by now, but I was actually planning to post about it earlier and did not have a chance. It is long overdue, but I guess better late than never.

Earlier this year I was accepted to the Graduate School of Journalism at Columbia University. However, until the last week of July I was not sure that I will be studying here. My uncertainty had nothing to do with my desire to come to Columbia. It’s just that coming up with the needed finances to be here proved to be much, much more troublesome than anybody anticipated. But in the end everything somehow worked out, and shortly after that I put myself on a plane flying across the Atlantic.

I arrived to New York just a few days before school started on August 9. I was hoping to arrive a couple of weeks earlier to settle down and get used to the city before we start but that hope unfortunately evaporated due to the mentioned above problem and visa delays. I have basically hit the ground running, and have been running like crazy since then. The J-School is a lot of work, but for the most part I’m enjoying it. It is hard to believe that two months have already passed, but here we are, overwhelmed by deadlines, assignments and projects.

This is the reason why I have been neglecting the blog lately, but it is certainly not an excuse. As I promised two days ago, I will try my best to keep the blog up while I’m NYC.

That’s all I have to say for now. Before I go, I need to thank some many people. This will sound like a very, very long acceptance speech, so please bear with me…

I am indebted to Beth Franklin and Karen Bauer from the education office at the US Embassy in Riyadh. This would not have been possible without them. I also want to thank Ambassador James B. Smith and his wife, as well as the rest of the embassy staff, especially Ben Peracchio, Dina Badawy, Catherine Schweitzer, and Marion Ram.

I am very grateful to Senator Joe Lieberman for his great assistance with this matter. Special thanks go to Vance Serchuk and Maggie Goodlander from the Senator office in DC for all of their hard work and for the Congress tour.

From the Saudi Embassy in the US, I must thank Ambassador Adel al-Jubeir for his support. I also want to thank Cultural Attache Dr. Mohammed al-Eisa and Dr. Saad al-Swailem, as well as the staff of SACM. You guys are doing a great service for this country, and your efforts are much appreciated.

I also want to thank my friends who have been really awesome throughout this journey. Thank you: Faiza Ambah, Robert Lacey, Caryle Murphy, Abdulmohsen Al-Madani, Abeer Allam, Adwan al-Ahmari, Aysha al-Kusayer, Ebtihal Mubarak, Fouad al-Farhan, Hamdan al-Ajmi, Hasan al-Mustafa, Ibrahim al-Kushi, Qusay Fayoumi, Aaliya Makki, Iman al-Qahtani, Maha al-Faleh, Katherine Zoepf, Kelly McEvers, Michael Slackman, Murtadha al-Mtawaah, Ramy Alani, and Taki Turkistani.

Last but not least, allow me to say thanks to my great family for I’m nothing with them: Mom, Hassan, Abdullah, Hussain, Hadi, Qusai, and Mohammed.

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4 thoughts on “Columbia

  1. Congratulations on making it happen! I’ve been following your tweets about this. I went to Columbia, too (graduate school for writing). I hope you enjoy every minute of it.

  2. Mabrook! You have an important career ahead of you. May Allah support you and increase the strength, courage, journalistic integrity and talent you’ve already shown to be yours.

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