NYIT student Dina Ragab


International Students Have No Ordinary Journey

January 5, 2017

Photo: Dina Ragab, winner of the "No Ordinary Journey" essay contest.

International students shared their personal journeys of adjusting to a new country and culture as well as their stories of growth and hard work in an essay contest hosted by NYIT’s Office of International Education. The winner, current M.B.A. student Dina Ragab (B.S. ’16), took home a $100 gift card. The “No Ordinary Journey” contest was part of International Education Week, which took place November 13 to 17.

While Ragab’s main objective was to study at an American university, what she really hoped for was the opportunity to play basketball. She chose to come to New York from Egypt and found herself meeting people from countries she didn’t know existed. Not only did she excel on the NYIT women’s basketball team, she learned to be more independent and take on other roles. Ragab became the School of Management Ambassador and Dean’s Student Intern. She got so used to her busy life here that she decided to pursue her M.B.A. at NYIT.

“It might be easier to just stay home and maintain the same lifestyle, but there is something about being independent, working hard, getting educated, and being more diverse,” Ragab wrote in her essay.

Second-place finisher Xia (Helen) Li, who completed her M.B.A. in December, also wrote about the importance of leaving your comfort zone. When she first arrived from China, she struggled with culture shock and a language barrier.

In her essay, Li asked herself, “Should I just be quiet and get all Bs to be eligible for my degree? Or should I challenge myself, be open, be strong, try to be the volunteer in class, try to deliver a real presentation but not read a paper. I chose [the] latter because I want to make my time here be meaningful and valuable.”

Third-place finisher and M.B.A. student Manasi Bhide learned to adapt while still maintaining his Indian culture. In addition to making new friends, he was able to reconnect with extended family and with old friends who had also come to the United States for school. Although he says that he misses his family back home, especially during festivals like Diwali, he has been able to celebrate locally with friends and extended relatives.

“The journey hasn’t been easy, but I would say it’s been worth cherishing,” Bhide wrote in his essay.