Introducing MEMSSA Mondays 🌏 where we’ll be spotlighting all types of MEMSSA students from our Berkeley campus and showcasing the different backgrounds and unique personalities within MEMSSA community 🔎❣️
Muhammad Uneeb chose to discuss his experience and journey to Berkeley as a Pakistani immigrant:
“I was sixteen when I came to the United States. Born in Peshawar, Pakistan, and then later moving to Saudi Arabia after eight years, helped open my eyes to new experiences, personalities, and opportunities.
When we arrived in California, we looked for a community to be a part of because we had no family here. I remember our family using Facebook as a tool to search for people that we could connect with. Being a Muslim in a non-Muslim country had its challenges. During the first few months, I didn’t know what was “safe” to do.
Shalwar kameez, which is my cultural clothing that I had no issue wearing, suddenly became an anomaly. I couldn’t hear the athan (call to prayer) anymore as I could back in Saudi Arabia which made it difficult to keep up with prayer times. I also found it extremely awkward to do wudhu (ablution) in public bathrooms as people stared at my actions and we would often share an awkward moment. Being an introvert didn’t help my cause either.
As I started my journey at community college, making friends was also tricky mainly because I was worried about the images induced in students’ minds about my people and my country. Fast forward, my experience at Berkeley has been mesmerizing. Being exposed to this newfound, productive environment also motivated me to do better. One of the advantages of this university is the diversity on campus. I didn’t think that I would have so many clubs dedicated to my culture, my religion, and my values to choose from.
As a senior studying EECS, I have been able to make so many friends through all these relatable clubs and events who are also in my major. As I continue to work towards my ambitions of getting a Ph.D. after my Bachelors, I am open to the idea of going back to my country. But for now, I’m not worried about it.”