Improving my English in my favorite city in the world! Abdullah at Kings New York
Abdullah, from Saudi Arabia, is studying the Diploma of Intensive English course at Kings New York and he will be here for 11 months in total. Alongside studying, Abdullah has recently taken on the role of 'Social Media Ambassador, which involved him creating content and sharing stories of day-to-day life at Kings New York via our Facebook and Instagram pages, and contributing to our Kings Life blog.
Please tell us your name and where you are from. Also please tell us about your home country.
My name is Abdullah Alruwaili and I’m from Alkhafji, Saudi Arabia. It’s a small coastline city. It’s very small city compared to other cities. It’s very advanced because we have one of the large oil companies in the area so that is the major income source for many families there, including mine. My dad works at this company and it’s because of him and his friends that I’m advancing my English. The city is very nice in the summer. Maybe too hot for most people but I’m used to it. I think it’s a wonderful place. Not a lot of noise. It’s on the border with Kuwait so you can actually take a day trip to Kuwait over the weekend. Small place but very diverse. I lived there for most of my life.
What brought you to Kings New York?
I got accepted into the scholarship program from our country and my employer gave me a choice between Kings NY and Kings LA. I chose New York because it’s one of my favourite cities in the world. It’s better than what it looks like in the movies!
What do you like about New York?
I love the opportunity to make friends from different countries. I love how diverse the culture is. It is a real melting pot. Even though I’m abroad, I still feel at home in some areas of the city. It’s a dream come true to see all of this with my own eyes.
What is your favorite spot here in Bronxville or in NYC?
I love the local restaurant Sushi Castle very close to the school here. Very good food, good prices. I go there with other Kings students quite often. And also an Arabic place in Brooklyn. It’s called Hadramout. I go there when I get the nostalgia for Saudi food. I go there twice or three times a month. Most of the times I go there with 3 of my best friends from Kings, 2 Japanese and 1 Saudi friend. Sometimes I take other students from other countries there to introduce them my culture. It’s really good food and good atmosphere.
You entered our Intensive English language course at a pre-advanced proficiency level of English and you have been with us for 7 months now, yet we hear from your teachers that you have remained fully engaged in lessons at all times. What do you enjoy most in your classes, and what do you find challenging?
I like to practice English. I know that if I don’t practice, I will not improve it. I enjoy participating in class because I think it is a good influence on other students as well. I like to get other students motivated to participate in discussions in and out of the classroom, even in the dormitory. I like hearing other people’s opinions and ideas. It’s a great way to learn.
The thing I find most interesting in class are the debates, discussions, without focusing too much on grammar separately. These speaking exercises help us practice the language in a natural way and become more fluent and comfortable with speaking.
The most challenging is certainly vocabulary, or sometimes getting my point across when there’s a variety of levels present in a group.
What is one new word/phrase/idiom you learned recently?
I try to keep a list of new words in my phone. Let me check, haha. Oh, here, for example, “straight-laced”. It means someone who is trying to do good things by specific moral code. Another one is a new expression to me, “Modus Operandi”, something I heard in a video or TV show I watched and discussed in class. The phrase is used in English and it means a specific way of doing something.I’m also trying to read old English now, like Shakespeare. I enjoy reaching an advanced level of English because the opportunities for learning are endless. I also love Japanese culture and language. My roommate is Japanese so I’m trying to learn Japanese and ask him questions about new words etc. Sometimes he finds it annoying but most of the time he finds it endearing.
What SIGs have you tried? What can you share about the SIG classes you have taken?
I did Fluency and Discussion, English for Fashion, Art, and Design, and Business English. I prefer the SIG classes because they are about specific topics. For example, Business English is a great subject for me because I learn a lot of business-related vocabulary which is going to be very useful for my job at the oil company. Same thing with English for Fashion, Art, and Design, I learned a lot of vocabulary related to art and fashion that I would not have learnt otherwise.
Favorite assignment from a SIG class?
Valentine’s day activity… It was very creative and touching. We had to bring a free gift to our classmates. I translated a love poem by a Palestinian poet. One student drew pictures of each of us, another composed songs for classmates. I was really amazed at the variety of ideas that my classmates had for expressing love, especially Ayano’s songs… They were on point for each person in our class.
I am also really into writing now, I want to write a short story about heroes and villains. I like to analyse things like why some people become heroes and some become villains in the stories. I feel that this side of the story isn’t covered in the books we read.
You were recently nominated by your teachers to serve as the student Social Media Ambassador for Kings New York, and we are very happy to have you on board in this exciting role! What do you do as a Social Media Ambassador?
I promote our school and social life by posting on the school’s social media sites such as Instagram and Facebook. I motivate the students to go on trips, and in general, I’m just there to help students.
What does it take to be successful as a Social Media Ambassador?
First of all, good social skills. To be able to go out of your comfort zone. Try to find the best in things. To find the best quote, best picture, best topic and best time to talk and share.
What advice would you give to future SMAs?
Try to do your best and it doesn’t matter what happens later. Take a chance sometimes.
Where are you staying? Please tell us about your accommodation.
I live in the student residence. I share this house with about two dozen other students. It’s a great place to interact with students from other cultures. We gather in the lounge quite a lot. I feel like I have found more commonalities with other cultures which I did not know about before.
What would you say to anyone considering coming to Kings to study?
You should take this opportunity. It’s a great school. It feels like family. You can have a lot of fun here and meet many people from other countries.