Student moves from Middle East to further future

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Student moves from Middle East to further future

Ruth Varghese

Ruth Varghese

Ruth Varghese

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Nervous for students in front of her, senior Saru Markose checks the hallway for teachers as she sees a couple in front of her holding hands. Back in Markose’s Indian-style school in Qatar, students would get kicked out for such actions. Markose moved here from Qatar over the summer and is new to the American school system. Markose and her family moved from their home in the Middle East to allow Markose to pursue her education here in the U.S.

Markose says her father made the decision to move to the U.S. so Markose could further her education after visa regulations became stricter.

“I was born in my native land, India, but I was brought up 16 and a half years in Qatar,” Markose said. “But, well, right now it’s my time to settle here for my higher education. America’s the land of opportunity, so when I come here I can be whatever I want.”

There are many families from India, such as Markose’s, that moved to Qatar for job opportunities. For this reason, most schools in Qatar are modeled after India’s school system. Students in these schools must pay for their education and wear uniforms. If students are caught breaking a rule, they can be fined or dismissed. Markose says that the school system here is much more lenient and that teachers are much nicer. Saru says she has noted several culture differences.

“Girls and boys, they need to have certain distance [in schools in Qatar],” Markose said. “People over here find it normal to hug guys or shake hands. But there, if they find us doing all those things, they’ll dismiss us from the school. It’s that strict. And we can’t have any boyfriends. If they find you having a boyfriend, they’ll call up to the office and question us. Parents come to know about it, [the students] are dead.”

Markose says she also never expected the school to be so diverse. Because most people in Qatar are from the Indian culture, Markose said she was not sure how people in the U.S. would react to her being different culturally.

“[I was expecting the worst] but you guys gave me the best,” Markose said. “I thought I wouldn’t get any friends because I come from a different place. [But] in every class, I have at least one friend and they help me a lot in academics, [and help me] adjust with the school system.”

Back in Qatar, students stayed in one classroom all day while teachers came in and out for their instruction. Classes were also more advanced in Qatar because they follow British curriculum, Markose said. Despite the differences, Markose says she does prefer her classes and the American school system.

“I really miss Qatar in a lot of ways, my church, my people, my peers, and I miss my school and my friends,” Markose said. “Not exactly the school, because we are so restricted, but my friends, we were so close. We had good relationships, and the fun I had with them that’s the main thing. I [went] to school [in Qatar] to meet my friends. But here, I go to school to sit in the class [and] listen to the lecture. Here, the classes are so interesting.”

Markose said her move to the U.S. means that she will have to start focusing on her future, because back in Qatar, her focus was on having fun with her friends and doing what she loves: dancing. But while she realizes she must focus on her priorities, Markose still wants to continue dancing.

This was one of her motivations of joining the United Nations club.

“That’s the main thing which I miss Qatar,” Markose said. “I was really active in the dance part there. That’s actually why I joined UN club. [I was told] if you join UN, you’ll meet a lot of people from different places so you could actually blend your culture with them. They have the UN show [where] you can perform your culture.”

Markose said those who studied in the U.S. before going to Qatar to find jobs stand out to employers since most Indian students choose to study in India. At the moment, Markose plans to go to university in the U.S. to become an orthodontist in Qatar.

“I’m planning to study to do my university here and then go back to Qatar and work,” Markose said. “So if I study here, and I go back to Qatar, I have good value. They respect you. Actually, even the Arabs they would respect me because I studied in America. I would get a good job, I [would] have good house, everything like electricity will be free for me. [It’s] time I [start] concentrating more on my studies rather than having fun. It’s good, not bad.”


Read about another student from Europe who chose to study in the U.S. here:

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