Yosra Rguibi reflects on U.S. friends and customs

Yosra Rguibi

Yosra Rguibi sat at a table in Brooks on April 19 campaigning for money to rescue African elephants in Kenya. Rguibi is a trilingual exchange student — fluent in Arabic, French and English — from Morocco whose visit to Allegheny will conclude after this semester. Rguibi said she has enjoyed her stay at Allegheny and is saddened at the thought of having to leave after this semester.

“I like it here so much. In the beginning it was hard — I come from another culture — but then I got used to it. I’m sure I am going to cry a lot when I leave,” Rguibi said.

Rguibi said that she had packed many books in her suitcase with the idea that she would have vast amounts of time to waste when she arrived. However, she soon realized this was not the case, as her schedule became consumed by many classes. She registered for electives in environmental science, computer science and theater — however, out of these three courses, acting class became her favorite.

“I really, really, really enjoy it. Today I have monologue and next week I have another play. I really enjoy the class and the professor is so cool,” Rguibi said.

Rguibi has also adjusted to the colloquial manners of Americans. She said she noticed that people would wave to each other just for the purpose of saying hello.

“Everyone says hi to everyone. In the beginning I was like, ‘are they talking to me?’ I am now so used to saying hi to everyone,” Rguibi said.

However, in Morocco, Rguibi said that people greet other with the intent to have a conversation, not to simply greet each other in passing.

“In Morocco, they say hi to talk to you and then you are going to sit and talk,” Rguibi said.

Rguibi said that she spends her days working out in the gym and spending time with her friends. The majority of her time is occupied by hanging out with her friends Jasmin Wagner, German teaching assistant, and French Teaching Assistant Amandine Brizard. Rguibi said she treasures their friendship and will dearly miss them after she travels home.

“I think [their friendship is] the best thing here. The thing is I am going to miss them all. I would like to take them with me,” Rguibi said.

I like it here so much. In the beginning it was hard — I come from another culture, but then I got used to it. I’m sure I am going to cry a lot when I leave.

— Yosra Rguibi

Her friends Brizard and Tolossa Hassan, ’18, agree with Rguibi. Hassan said that he first met Rguibi when she showed up uninvited to a study session he was holding for his environmental science class. While their meeting may have been accidental, he said that he has enjoyed Rguibi’s company.

Hassan said that Rguibi is comical and that one day Rguibi gathered her friends to cook together, but he soon realized that she had an alternative reason behind the gathering.

“She organized everyone because she wanted to cook, but she had other people cook for her. That was kind of funny. Basically because she liked the way that Jasmin makes shrimp pasta,  and she wanted her to make it just for her,” Hassan said.

Brizard initially encountered Rguibi at the international student meeting hosted at the beginning of the year. Since then, Brizard said they  have been inseparable, spending 24 hours a day together.

While she said it was hard to pinpoint just one memorable moment the two shared, Brizard said she loved the time they traveled to Washington, D.C. for a weekend with the organization Islamic Cultural Association, formally known as Project Nur.

“We were just visiting museums and having fun a lot,” Brizard said.

Rguibi said when she leaves, she will miss Allegheny and the friends she has made here. She said that when she returns home, she will spend her summer applying to graduate programs. She is hoping to attend a school located in Germany by this upcoming April. She aspires to one day be a mechanical engineer.