Hamza Zemmouri - Learning

The thousands of miles of the Atlantic Ocean that separate exchange student Hamza Zemmouri from everything he has ever known, have not kept the homesick junior finance major from making plans for his future.

“I’m planning to return the United States for a master’s degree,” he said. “Before I came here, I couldn’t say that.”

Zemmouri, 20, had only two weeks to make the decision for the International Study Exchange Program to send him to North Carolina A&T State University or another university in the United States.

“I wanted to attend the university that had most of the classes I would need to take this semester. A&T is the only one that had all the classes I needed,” Zemmouri said.

While he came to N.C. A&T to learn all he could in his classes, Zemmouri came to the United States primarily to immerse himself in the language and culture.

“I’d never been to the United States before this trip. I’d heard a little about it but I wanted to experience it for myself,” he said.

This is the first time Zemmouri has been away from his hometown, Fes, for a month but he is managing to make the most of this journey.

So far, Zemmouri and two friends, one a fellow exchange student, are using their weekends to take road trips along the East Coast. So far, they’ve been to Charlotte, Raleigh and the Outer Banks. They have plans to visit Washington, D.C. and New York City during spring break.

While he feels fortunate to have the opportunity to study and travel in the U.S., he has experienced a lot of culture without ever leaving campus.

“At first, I didn’t expect to see a lot of diversity, but I did,” he said. “I’ve never been on a campus like this one.”

Zemmouri attends an American university at home and the concept of the school is the same but the learning experience is vastly different.

“Professors and everyone here are more flexible. Everyone is nice – they come and talk to you and smile at you. I’m still trying to get used to that,” he said.

With a little more than half of the semester left, Zemmouri is using Skype and phone calls to cure his homesickness and is enjoying his time in America.

“I will take back this whole experience with me,” he said. “Everywhere I go I get to meet new people so it is shaping my journey.”