So Far Away From Home
My name is Zainab Abdali and I’m a freshman here at Syracuse University, with a major in English and Textual Studies. I am Pakistani – I was born and raised in Islamabad, Pakistan – and I lived in Khobar, Saudi Arabia for one year prior to studying at SU as a freshman last fall. Syracuse has obviously been completely different to the places I’ve lived in the past; everything from the weather, the language and the culture is different here. With that being said, so far I’ve had a great experience here. My new life here at SU has been my biggest challenge; as I am away from my family and currently living in a dorm, but most people – both in my dorm and elsewhere on campus – have been very accepting and friendly.
MSA and MSL have hugely helped me in adjusting to my new environment. I contacted the MSA before coming here and Halima Shehu (MSA President) was there for me even before I got to campus. Since arriving on campus, the events hosted by the MSA and MSL have been a great way to meet fellow Muslims and be a part of a community that I missed from back home.
Offering prayer in the Hendricks’s prayer room between classes, chatting with fellow Muslims, and praying in congregation, or even attending the Tuesday Riyadh-us-Saliheen classes hosted by the chaplain has been a great benefit. Being able to learn something more about our religion, or participating in the discussion sessions while contemplating on issues pertinent to Muslims in America; these regular events on campus are the reason why I feel like I have a Muslim community here I can rely on. I’m lucky to be representing the Muslim community on Hendricks’ Spiritual Life Council, which is an excellent way to interact with representatives from other faiths and learn more about other religious communities here on campus – I’m grateful to both the MSL and the MSA for giving me this wonderful opportunity to learn. And it’s not just learning from events or meetings – just being around the incredibly diverse Muslim community at SU is a way for me to broaden my perspective on what Islam means to different people.
Insha’Allah I hope to be able to give back to the MSA and MSL in my years here at SU and learn more from the chaplain and my fellow Muslim brothers and sisters