International spotlight: Finding the open door

Philosophy is a great interest of Hamza Jabri, a sophomore electrical engineering student from Khouribga, Morocco. He is even trying to write a book of his own philosophies. “My personal philosophies lead me at all times. ‘In times of optimism, deal with whatever you find and try to make it better. In times of pessimism, go with the flow until you find an open door.’” 

While currently looking for a job, Jabri has hoped both philosophies will continue to lead him in the right direction, similar to how they led him to the United States and the University of St. Thomas about two years ago.

Hamza Jabri

Hamza Jabri

After growing up in a “small” town of 150,000 people outside of Casablanca with his parents and two younger brothers, Jabri decided to study English in the United States. This led him to the ELS Center on the University of St. Thomas St. Paul campus, where he studied for two months before starting school at North Hennepin Community and Technical College. After a semester there, he found a new opportunity and decided to return to the St. Thomas area last spring.

“I enjoyed the St. Thomas campus, its physical beauty and atmosphere, while at ELS, and my uncle had frequently told me of his positive experience at UST, so I decided to come back.”

Since returning, learning has been an important part of Jabri’s experience at UST. He has learned a great deal about engineering, and in the process has learned a great deal about other students (American and international), and the culture and habits of the area.

“At first it was hard for me to make friends, but I began to meet many friendly people who welcomed me and made me no longer feel like a stranger. They helped me get used to the changes of having dinner at 6 p.m. and oversized coffee. In Morocco, we have dinner at 10 p.m., and our largest size of coffee is a small here.” 

And he has learned a great deal about the weather. “The winter is harsh! But, I have grown to enjoy it. Winter allows time for fun indoor activities, movies, time with friends, and studying. In the winter, you can always find homework in front of yourself.”

Although he misses authentic Moroccan food and the ease and relaxed tempo of home, Jabri plans to stay around Minnesota for now, until he finds the next open door. After he graduates from St. Thomas with a B.S. degree in electrical engineering, Jabri is interested in pursuing a master’s degree in the engineering field. 

Jabri would like to invite all who are interested in learning more about his story and Morocco to come to the Brown Bag Lunch Discussion from 12:15 to 1:15 p.m. today, Monday, Sept. 28,  in Murray-Herrick Campus Center, Room 155. All are invited to bring lunch to the event and enjoy snacks and discussion about Morocco.