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International Student Finds Easy Transition Through NOVA

Pirouz Ebadi Rab

Before Pirouz Ebadi Rab moved to Virginia, he considered moving to other states in the United States because he had family in different regions. His sister – a NOVA graduate – encouraged him to move to Northern Virginia and attend NOVA to help with his transition. What Pirouz found, he said, was the opportunity to attend college and learn from different cultures.

“When you immigrate somewhere else, you feel kind of isolated and disconnected because you come from somewhere else and now you’re in a different country,” Pirouz said. “You experience a different culture and different people, and you feel as if you don’t belong here. You think that maybe they won’t like you. You don’t look like them or act like them, so it can be difficult.

“But when you come to NOVA or you start working in this area, you will feel you’re a part of the society. Also, you may think the teachers are all American and maybe they won’t like international students because there may be problems with communication. But NOVA’s teachers are diverse, very helpful, and that was very surprising. They communicate with their students no matter what their background is. That was really a great thing about NOVA.”

Pirouz said he received a lot of information about the campus culture, opportunities, program offerings and classes from his sister, who had moved to the United States 10 years before he did. He has other family members throughout the United States, but the opportunities at NOVA pulled him to the Northern Virginia area.

He first started with ESL classes at NOVA in August 2014, before deciding to continue taking classes at the Annandale Campus. Originally from Iran, Pirouz immigrated to the United States five years ago. He said he’s glad he chose Virginia because NOVA and the diverse Northern Virginia region have been very helpful in his transition. In Iran, he earned a bachelor’s degree in material science and engineering but was unable to use his educational background and experience once he moved to the United States. However, his ambition wouldn’t allow him to just get a job for which he had no passion or interest.

“I came here and unfortunately, I couldn’t use that degree. And I’m not the person to just go for a job with no future,” Pirouz explained. “I wanted a job that I can hold for a couple of years for my future. So deciding to take other courses after the ESL classes was one of the best decisions I could make. Also, NOVA is one of the largest community colleges in the country and have all these agreements with universities in the area.”

His advice to other international students who are considering college is to consider NOVA and get involved, because NOVA has a very diverse and friendly atmosphere.

“If you have free time, get engaged on campus because it’ll be very useful for you,” he said. “I would advise them to not be scared of being from another country and isolate themselves from other students. Talk to native speakers and that’s the way you’ll get closer to people and learn the language and culture. Students are willing to communicate with you and learn about you and your culture.”

Pirouz recently transferred to George Mason University where he is now studying computer science. In the future, he hopes to start a career doing something he enjoys and that allows him to travel the world.

Media Contact: Raytevia Evans | 703.425.5839 | revans@nvcc.edu

Northern Virginia Community College is the largest institution of higher education in the Commonwealth of Virginia and one of America's largest community colleges. NOVA enrolls more than 75,000 students at its six campuses in Alexandria, Annandale, Loudoun, Manassas, Springfield and Woodbridge, and through NOVA Online. For more information about NOVA and its programs or services, call 703-323-3000 or visit the College's Web site, www.nvcc.edu.