Dana Ghareeb is a 31-year-old sports and fitness administration major from the Kurdistan Region. He is part of the Higher Committee for Education Development in Iraq, which offers scholarships to top students to study in the United States and/or the United Kingdom. He is doing his graduate study and Winthrop was not his personal choice.
Ghareeb said that while Winthrop was not his choice, America is a fantastic place to study because of the atmosphere, opportunities and culture.
Ghareeb originally went to University of North Carolina at Charlotte to take care of Graduate Record Examination preparation as well as prerequisites. With that being his first stop away from home, he said, “It was hard, depressing and sad. I felt being away from home was destroying my identity.” However, after finishing those classes, he came to Winthrop and felt more relaxed. “I am so fortunate to be a student at Winthrop because I found my niche here,” Ghareeb said. He does, however, miss his family and friends from home.
Ghareeb said that dealing with culture shock was not difficult, just different, and he followed an old adage to help him get through it: “When in Rome, do as the Romans do.”
Ghareeb said the one thing he found to be shockingly different is the hospitality. “I didn’t really expect people to welcome a foreign student to their house.” Ghareeb also said that it is strange to him that people invite others to their houses during religious and traditional holidays.
Ghareeb said that being an international student is an advantage because you are able to receive a degree and learn things that will altogether help you in the work place, and you are able to explore many different things.
Ghareeb has been to half of the states in the U.S., so he highly encourages students to study abroad. “It changes your opinion about so many things. If you interact with people, you will try new things and learn how to be open minded. If you always stick with people you have things in common with, you will be stuck and have less of a chance to learn.”
Ghareeb said that upon coming to America, he thought that everyone was racist and very loud. But he said being in the U.S. has provided him with new knowledge constantly. “I feel I live in my dream. When I wake up, I tell myself today is another day in paradise.”
Ghareeb said that when he graduates, his plan is to continue on to get his Ph.D. His hobbies are working out and learning new things, and he loves nature, especially the mountains.
Facts about Kurdistan Region
• The capital is Erbil.
• The population is 4.691 million.
• The currency is the Iraqi dinar.
• The government is a parliamentary system.
• The president is Massoud Barzani.
• The national language is Arabic and
• The biggest religions are Islam,
Christianity, Jewish, Yazidism and Yarsan.
• The most important holiday is Nawroz,
which is the Kurdish New Year.
• Kurds are the largest ethnicity
without having an independent country.