Syed Sameer: Melding into American Culture

Syed Sameer Rahman is a Pakistani-born graduate student of Technology Management at the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign. He is an avid technology guru. His other interests include mythology, literature, movies, volunteer work and video games. As an intern with MALA, Sameer shares his story of seamless integration into American society than he had imagined back home.

My name is Syed Sameer Rahman, but all my colleagues and friends call me ‘Sameer’ or just ‘Sam.’ I came to the United States in 2015 from Pakistan to pursue a Master of Science degree in Technology Management at the University of Illinois in Urbana-Champaign. This has been the longest period of time I have spent here in America, but I can definitely tell that I’ve only begun to scratch the surface of all the experiences this wonderful country has to offer.

I remember being told how life is different in America, spaced away from the usual norms that I grew up in. I was excited, nervous, a little scared but also hopeful. Never in a million years had I imagined how seamlessly I would be able to meld into the American culture, being able to communicate and interact with people from all over the world.

Before coming here, I had almost completely believed that my identity would come under scrutiny and that, after a year of studying, I would be well on my way back to Pakistan. It’s been nearly 13 months since I first got here, and that scalding thought has long since faded away. Living here, even if only as a student, I have learned to appreciate the diverse yet accepting culture of America, and no organization has embodied this belief better than MALA.

MALA’s ideas and goals resonated with my beliefs the first time I heard about them. Standing up for what is right, helping those who may feel alienated, which are just some of the beliefs I share with the organization, it was no surprise that being given an opportunity to work with them had me super excited.

I want to be the person who helps bring people together, not through rhetoric, but genuine understanding and acceptance of all the positives that we have, and can have, in common.

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