Meet ALI Student Saad Alajmi

Mubarak and Saad Alajmi

Mubarak and Saad Alajmi

When Saad Alajmi graduated from Al Jahra High School in June 2016, he decided to study in the United States and, after extensive googling, chose San Diego. “It has the best setting in America,” said Alajmi, who is from the town of Al Jahra in Kuwait, 20 miles west of Kuwait City.

Months later he landed in America’s Finest City for the start of the fall 2016 semester at SDSU’s American Language Institute. He enrolled in the English for Academic Purposes program, designed for students who plan to enter an American college or university at the undergraduate level.

Alajmi already had a command of the English language — students in his native country begin studying English in first grade — but he enthusiastically embraced his new opportunity to use it. “My favorite class is [Academic] Speaking because I speak English all the time,” he said. “The most I speak Arabic is with my friends and my brother.”

He also “really loves” his teachers. “They are really friendly and my two best teachers in ALI are Joel [Ortiz] and Elizabeth Osmund,” said Alajmi. “They are both funny and friendly and they smile all the time. They make the class fun with games and activities.” One example is the Kahoot! app, a game-based learning platform that makes it fun for students to see who can be the first to get the right answer.

Alajmi also took advantage of the free additional English-language support available to ALI students. “I was using the Homework Lab a lot for my essays,” he said. “It’s very helpful. I was asking the teachers for my mistakes.” Students can also benefit from the Pronunciation Clinic and the Grammar Lab.

Cultural immersion is another important aspect of the ALI, and Alajmi participated in many activities through the Student Life Office. He went to baseball games, football games, a community clean-up, and even fed the homeless downtown. Alajmi’s favorite outing was to the San Diego Zoo. “I saw animals I never saw before, like the panda and flamingo,” he said.

How does San Diego compare to Al Jahra? “The weather is mostly the same, but San Diego is much better because they have a lot of beaches and a lot of things to do,” said Alajmi. “The people are friendly and all the places are really cool. I like it.” After a pause, he added with a laugh, “I LOVE it. I’ve met people from all over the world and they’re really nice. It’s cool we can understand each other in English because we all have a different language.”

Alajmi graduated this summer from the ALI and, although SDSU was his first choice, he was accepted into Cal State Fullerton where he plans to major in computer engineering.

“I recommend ALI because it has a perfect location next to the SDSU campus … they have a lot of things to do … and I have great memories with my international friends,” he said. “They are from China, Japan, Vietnam, Korea, Taiwan, and Venezuela.”

Fare thee well Saad Alajmi.