Events at home impact international students

By: Kian Hagerman

For students coming from distant places to attend school, news about events from home can impact their lives in various ways.

For MCC student Abe Mustafa, one such occurrence that affected him was the Egyptian Revolution of 2011.

“At that time I was on Facebook, it was kinda planned out for a whole year up to that day that it started,” Mustafa said.

Once the revolution began, it became difficult to communicate with those in Egypt, which was difficult for those outside of the country.

“I had family there,” said MCC student Ammed Ali. “After the war started they moved out to another country to be safe.”

“We couldn’t communicate with anyone back home,” Mustafa said. “The American media, and the Middle Eastern media was trying to find out what was happening.

He acknowledged that in times of crisis, concerns for friends and family can play heavily in one’s mind.

“Of course you’re gonna be worried,” Mustafa said. “Especially if you have family there when these things happen.”

“It’s sad for everyone,” Ali said.

Mustafa remembers when it began, he was troubled by what he was hearing.

“The first couple days, I was logged into the TV all day long,” Mustafa said. “I didn’t go to work for a week.”

The American Psychological Association (APA) indicates that some of the signs of emotional crisis are a decline in performance, whether at school or work; another signal of emotional crisis is a withdrawal from routine activities.

When someone is experiencing an emotional crisis, the APA recommends that friends and family reach out, and encourage talking to a psychological professional.

The APA also recommends focusing on positive aspects of life.

Mustafa said that being away from the events taking place made it easier.

“First, appreciate the fact that I am here; I’m away from all this madness,” Mustafa said. “Second thing is, just stay calm.”

Taking a step back and realizing what one is capable of doing also helps one deal with what is happening according to Mustafa.

“What are you gonna do, you can’t do anything; there is no flight to take,” Mustafa said. “Be calm, there is nothing you can do. Stay calm and continue with your life.”

The APA recommends participating in social activities, those one enjoys, which can reduce the stress of anxiety.

Mustafa recognized that you will still be emotionally impacted by what is happening.

“You’re gonna feel sad. But definitely stay calm, relax; there is nothing you can do,” Mustafa said.

Mustafa said that anyone who moves to live in another place are going to be affected by news from home.

“Look at the military for example, somebody who has a contract, or work overseas for a couple years, there are always attachments,” Mustafa said.

Good news coming from home can also have an effect on one, and Mustafa felt this was also important to recognize.

“Whether something good or bad is happening, there is always some attachment,” Mustafa said. “Home is always home.”

Though having something taking place back home can make one feel helpless and worried, knowing how to effectively dealing with the anxiety that comes with such feelings can have a positive impact.

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These are archived stories from Mesa Legend editions before Fall 2018. See article for corresponding author.

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