Interview by Kubair Chuchra '18
You have a difficult schedule. How do classes like AP Chem and AB Calc compare with your school back home?
My school at home, the Abaarso School, does not offer AP classes, so the classes I take here at St. Albans are much harder. However, my old school still prepared me well for taking classes here, and I am doing well. For example, my school did a great job at teaching me English within a short period of time. I only began to speak it three and a half years ago.
What can the St. Albans Community learn from Abaarso School?
At Abaarso there is a community service which is different then what we do here at St. Albans. At Abaarso, students work for the community. The philosophy of the school is that they don’t have to hire people (like Sodexo) for cleaning up or maintain the garden around the school. Everyone has to work four hours a week doing some maintenance for the school. It teaches students how to give back to their community.
What can the Abaarso School learn from St. Albans?
I’m not a senior, but most of the seniors at St. Albans are doing independent studies. I particularly like this about St. Albans because it gives students a chance to discover, learn, and research about whatever they want that is something I would like to introduce to Abaarso when I go back to Somaliland. Also, at my school, there are no electives, you have ten-year-long required classes. It would be nice to have more flexibility in curriculum.
You spend your weekday nights in the STA dorms and your weekend nights at the house of your host family, the Kellenbergs. What does each place mean to you?
I could not imagine my life here without a host family. Once you’re thousands miles away from your family, it’s nice to leave campus to feel off school and spend time with a family. Matthew’s family really helps me not to feel homesick or stressed. They make me feel like I am at home. Matthew's parents are my parents, and Matthew is my brother.
The dorm consists of a very small, diverse population, where you have people from different parts of the world. Back in Somaliland at Abaarso, students are from different parts of Somaliland, but they are not as diverse as here. Meeting students who represent different parts of the world, different views of the world, and different beliefs will help me in my personal growth and my view of the world. I also really appreciate how I always have someone to help me out, and how we live as a community. If somebody is having a bad day, we all try to help that person feel better.
What preconceptions of the US did you have before coming to the USA?
To be honest with you, I didn’t have any preconceptions about US before I came here. All I knew about the US was from movies, which do portray the US, but they are fiction. The media does portray other countries such Somalia not the US, where people have heard so much bad news about Somalia from the media.
This has made US history class very interesting. I did not have any prior knowledge of Us History. I was scared. But when I started learning US History, it became interesting, and so I actually did much readings to learn more and caught up. I am eager to learn. I used to take the world History, and sometimes it felt boring. I don’t feel the same now. What the US had accomplished in the past 240 years is much more interesting than what the world has done since the beginning of history.
Do you have a favorite STA slang word?
FTB. I like how it has so much meaning here at a boys school and how it applies whatever boys feel good about it.