For my project, I worked for the SUU News group as a blog consultant. I am a foreign from Saudi Arabia and I want to share my culture with fellow students. I believe creating a blog was a good way to do that. The website would contain details about me and my culture. By reading this, students like you would understand why people in my country do certain things or why we do not. Creating the website was not easy. I learned that there were three parts in making a website. First, I had to come up with a design.
I had to decide what I wanted my readers to see on the site, how many links or what links they had to use to move around the site, etc. I wanted to my audience to enjoy my website so I decided to make the website very simple. Second, I had to create the actual designs for the website. I used eye-catching colors and pictures that are interesting for students like me. I also made the website “clean” because I did not want to confuse my readers.
Last, I had to write the content for my website. Because the website was my project and was mainly going to be about me and my culture, I believe I was the best person to write the articles for my audience. Since I was only a consultant and not a full-time member of the news team, I did not have to be at the news office all the time. The arrangement made my schedule very flexible which was ideal to me. I had schoolwork to do while working on this project so staying full-time at the newspaper was not an option.
I worked with the SUU News group from January 27th until March 26th. I worked as a consultant for a total of ten (10) hours. Every Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays I worked on my project at the news room. This schedule gave me enough time to complete my blog project and finish any school work simultaneously. Most of the ten (10) hours I was at the news office was spent on the development of the website.
Since the blog was about my culture, how people live in Saudi Arabia and my life in Cedar City as an international student, I had to be very hands-on with the project. This task took eight (8) hours of my total time in the news room. The office was very busy on Mondays and Wednesdays because they had to prepare the weekly newspaper. They made sure there would be no problem with the distribution. It was very exciting to see them work during these days.
On Fridays, most of them were free. I thought it was good timing because it was the start of the weekend, too. The people in the office were very helpful. They encouraged me all the time because I am an international student and not a fluent English speaker. I needed a lot of coaching. Even if they were busy, they told me it was okay to ask for their help. They also showed me how to use the site and how to post my writing. I really like the staff because they treated me like one of them.
They did not make me feel like an outsider. The remaining two (2) hours of my total time was spent with my supervisor, McKenzie Romero. Ms. Romero is the current Managing Director/Editor-in-Chief of the university newspaper. I forwarded every article on my website to Ms. Romero for proofreading and editing. As a supervisor, Ms. Romero was very nice and supportive. She was always at the office whenever I was there to help me out. She provided me with a laptop and a place of my own in the newsroom.
She also gave me a lot of advices regarding my blogs and checked my errors in every single sentence. She would also check the comments made on the blogs and explain them to me. This way I was able to know the readers’ reactions to my articles. For the project, I was able to write four (4) blogs. The first was entitled A Girl from Saudi Arabia. In this article, I told my readers about my country, Saudi Arabia. It is the second-largest country in the Arab World but one of the most sparsely populated countries in the world.
It is also a very hot country. This is why when I came to Cedar City in January 2010, the weather was freezing for me. My second blog was about life in Riyadh. I think a lot of people in North America think Saudi Arabia is mostly desert land with hot weather and people living in a tent. I wanted to change this way of thinking. Riyadh is the largest city in Saudi Arabia and has many gardens, parks, zoos, farms, mineral spas and religious sites.
Many tourists come to the city every day. There are places for shopping, adventure spots and nightlife. For my third article, I wrote about women’s education in my country. As many people know, Saudi Arabia has been a very traditional country. However, in recent years, the Saudi government has made considerable efforts to increase the access of women to education. This was a challenge for the Saudi government but they succeeded. Enrollment for females increased a lot and the number of girls’ schools as well.
This development in the Saudi government has made women participate more in the society and has reshaped the socio-cultural perception of women from Saudi. I shared about festivals in Saudi Arabia for my last blog entry. As many people know, we are Muslims and follow the lunar calendar. I talked about three (3) big celebrations, namely: Ramadan, Eid al-Fitr and Eid ul-Adha. Ramadan is our holy month. People practice charity, fasting and prayer. After the fasting period during Ramadan, we celebrate Eid al-Fitr. This is a three-day celebration.
People decorate their houses, prepare feasts and invite family and friends. Eid ul-Adha is also a religious event but we celebrate this for four (4) days. This is the most celebrated event in Saudi Arabia. During this time, we go to the mosque and have special prayers. It is another good time to meet with family and friends. I think that my project is something worthy of attention. The website is an opportunity for Americans and other nationalities to know more about my culture and Saudi Arabia.
It is also a response to a lot of questions that can change the mindset of Americans and international students about my country. The readers liked my website because it is about a new culture. There are more than 200 international students in Cedar City. My project can inspire them to create their own websites so other students and readers can know more about their cultures. I am sure any person would like to learn or know more about the culture of someone from another country. I wanted my project to help other students understand my culture.
I realized it was also a way to help me understand American culture, especially in the workplace. It allowed me to work with Americans. As a non-native English speaker, the time I worked on the project helped me to practice speaking in English. It also gave me a chance to know more about my American schoolmates. I learned a lot from this project. I hope I was able to reach my goal and educate my readers as well. Works Cited: