Following a recommendation from his two brothers, Mazen Alamri moved from Saudi Arabia to the University of Minnesota in pursuit of higher education in mechanical engineering. According to Alamri, the hardest part of moving to a foreign country is adapting to a different culture, but with the help of his brothers and new friends, the transition was much easier.
“Moving to a foreign country was one of the best things I’ve done in my life so far,” Alamri says. “It taught me what real self-reliance is.”
His first touch point at the U was through Minnesota English Language Program (MELP), and Alamri has only positive things to say about the program that helped to improve his English skills. The most exciting part for him was meeting all the other students and staff who were associated with the program.
Alamri was happy to be surrounded by supportive staff in MELP because he needed the extra boost in his English before he could begin engineering studies. He had studied English in school in his native Saudi Arabia, but it didn’t quite give him the strong English-speaking base he thought it would. When Alamri got to the U of M, he was disappointed with how little English he actually knew.
Thanks to MELP, however, Alamri was able to significantly improve his English skills. He worked with MELP instructors and surrounded himself with English speakers all the time. As the months went by, learning English started to come easier to Alamri. Meanwhile, MELP courses, such as Oral Skills, allowed him to explore the culture of Minneapolis and St. Paul through class field trips to Fort Snelling, Stone Arch Bridge, and the Mall of America while practicing his spoken English.
“MELP is a family,” Alamri says. By this, he means that the faculty and staff are extremely supportive and caring towards the students. When Alamri told a MELP faculty member that he was accepted to the U of M’s College of Science and Engineering, there was a moment of overjoyed celebration. Moments like this explain why Alamri says MELP is a family.
MELP and the University of Minnesota are happy to see Alamri join CSE this Fall to pursue mechanical engineering, and everyone is excited for the bright future he has ahead of him.