2 Tunisians learn of software, America

Dawn Hammond, an academic adviser at Ivy Tech Community College, hoped to share Thanksgiving with two students unfamiliar with the holiday: Raki Glaii and Seif Edinne Chouaya.

The men are from Tunisia, a country in northern Africa between Algeria and Libya, but for this academic year, Fort Wayne is their home.

They are attending Ivy Tech through the Tunisia Community College Scholarship Program, which allows students to explore American culture and build Tunisia’s workforce. It is part of the U.S. State Department’s Thomas Jefferson Scholarships.

Participants must be proficient in written and spoken English, committed to return to Tunisia after the program and be a full-time student in good academic standing at a technical school in Tunisia, among other requirements.

In the United States, they study areas related to future growth sectors of Tunisia’s economy, such as agriculture, business management and administration, early childhood education and information technology, according to the State Department.

Glaii’s and Chouaya’s course loads are filled with computer classes, Hammond said, noting they are studying software development.

Internships and volunteer work are also planned for them, she said.

They live in IPFW’s student housing and rely on bicycles to get around – although they’ve been warned snow and ice might soon change that, Hammond said.

Chouaya said life here doesn’t compare to life in Tunisia.

“Everything is different,” the 20-year-old said.

It is common for the international students to travel while they are in the United States, Hammond said, naming Florida and California as popular winter break destinations.

This week, Glaii and Chouaya plan to visit New York, dashing Hammond’s hope to share Thanksgiving with them.

“They’ve been a lot of fun,” bringing enthusiasm and humor, she said.

Journal Gazette

Related posts