Cross-cultural media experiences help student live ‘outside the box’

By Majed Alghamdi

Special to the Logos

I am an international student from Saudi Arabia. I came to the United States first faced with the difficulty of learning the English language.

I studied English at Vanderbilt University in Nashville, Tenn. Then I moved to San Antonio.

Schools in the United States differ by status, specialization and prestige. If you want to start or continue your career in the United States, these factors must also be taken into account. The geographical location of the university is less important.

With all the variety of universities, the American education system and the organization of educational institutions have many common features. My experience of studying and working in both countries has allowed me to see some of these features. Some of them are obvious. Some not.

I still remember exactly my first (grad) class (at the University of the Incarnate Word). It was communication theory with Dr. Steve (Liu). The class in general was awesome but weird for me. It was the second master’s degree for me in the media. I worked more than seven years in Arab media. I wrote two media books in Arabic, made more than 100 television episodes in Arab television and (did) volunteer work in the media in Riyadh. Despite all of this, (being at UIW has been) a great learning experience for me.

The experience of media study at UIW is the most valuable experience I (have) had. It is rich, wonderful and helpful. My experience in UIW is unique. I learn from the (professors) a lot and I am starting to understand my collaborators more. I see the differences between Arab and American cultures in many things. For example, eating and dealing with people.

Features of the system of education in the United States (are) certainly linked to the fundamental values ​​of American society. It is also clear that the experience of studying at an American university provides not only an academic degree (and) an introduction to American culture, but also develops creativity, autonomy and independence which contribute to professional success outside the United States as well.

My experience in the American university (has been) very valuable and helpful. When I was young, I heard a phrase, “Think outside the box.” Now I understand what it means. This metaphor means to think differently, unconventionally or from a new perspective. Today, I advise everyone who used to live like this in the past years to live outside the box. Do not be afraid of changes and new experiences. This helps to improve and grow. Life is a constant move which should be followed.


E-mail Alghamdi, a graduate student majoring in communication arts with a concentration in media studies, at

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