Internationals of Arizona: Dalal Radwan
Hi. My name is Dalal Radwan. I come from Palestine, specifically from a village called Nabi Elyas. I am here as Fulbright Scholar at University of Arizona, doing my masters in Journalism.
How did you get the opportunity to come here for studies?
I was applying for scholarships to do my graduate studies abroad and I applied for the Fulbright Scholarship, which was recommended by one of my dearest colleagues at work. She was like “Apply for this scholarship, this is a really great opportunity for you.” I was kind of hesitant because I never really applied for scholarships. So, one of the universities in my application was University of Arizona for the reputation of the program, and I got the scholarship, and I ended up here!
How long have you been here and how the experience is going so far?
I came in Fall 2017, so it’s been 7 months. So far, so good! I still wake up in the morning and see the sun outside and I don’t really…you know it’s just hard to believe that you’re on the other side of the world, in Arizona. Like I never ever thought of it.
Tell us something about your country and its beauty/culture.
Okay, so my country, people keep confusing it. Haha. My country is Palestine, not Pakistan. That’s what I say, it’s not a K, it’s a L. They don’t know the difference. They say, “oh, is it Israel?” “Is it West Bank?” “Oh, is it Gaza?” “Is Gaza in Palestine?” It’s always the conflict between Palestine and Israel. I mean, I am not coming from that part of the world where all eyes are on you. There are so many misconceptions, and people think that we don’t really have a normal life there. But we just live our lives. Culture is awesome; we have amazing Palestinian cuisine so whenever there is a chance to participate in some gathering, I always cook something from home to introduce myself in a way that we have a culture and this is part of it.
Palestine is a beautiful country, we have entrepreneurs, amazing alumni and scholars all over the world, and we have women leading in higher positions in the government. I worked with one of them, who was working as my boss at an international office back home. She is still the advisor to the Prime Minister. That’s one of the examples. We have an amazing youth who are not only fighting to live on our own land but they go global. We have everyone from doctors, to engineers, poets, singers and artists. We have it all, in Palestine. The only difference is we have the unique experience under the conflict, and it’s not really easy sometimes when you live in certain areas where there are clashes and demolition.
If you were to bring one thing along from home to USA, what would that be? Why?
I already brought few items with me. Let’s talk about the physical things. I brought a traditional embroidered gown. I already gave 2 presentations at one of the high schools here and I wore my traditional costume. I highlighted what it really is and why and where we wear it. I also brought our Kufiya. It’s a white cloth that is embroidered in black. It stands for our resistance and endurance.
I also brought my culture with me. My food. It’s something I really want to talk about. When I cook something, it’s not about just the food, it’s more about what it means. It has its own story and I want to share it.
From your experience here so far, what is that one thing you’d go back and change in your country?
Ah, I was thinking about it this morning and this is funny. I was thinking about the weekly pantry at the Student Union. And I hope nobody gets that idea before me. I really want to take it back to my home university, make it a habit and maybe add more to it. Let’s say health supplies and medicines.
Which best moment can you recall of being in the University of Arizona?
I had really amazing moments here but maybe the experience that I had during the International Education Week, where I gave the presentation in 7.5 minutes is the most memorable. It was “Entrepreneurship in Palestine: Success stories and Challenges.” I was really impressed with what I did because I didn’t prepare the way other students around me had. I just went up there and spoke it all. I didn’t really win that day but it was a win for me.