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Abdullah (AJ) Ata '12

People care about you here. You’re not just a number, the professors won’t have to look back into their records to see if you were one of their students. -- AJ Ata

abdullah "aj" ataAbdullah (AJ) Ata, an international student hailing from Baghdad, Iraq, has surprised himself at Elizabethtown College by accomplishing more than he’d expected. As a Political Science major with minors in Business and Psychology, AJ also makes plenty of time for his fellow students. He is involved in the International Club, Noir, SIFE, and serves as an International Peer Mentor.

“Basically, one week before school starts we pick the international students up from the airport, hangout with them for the first week, help them with American life and adapting to the new environment and culture,” said AJ.

“I’m also president for the International Club, and I’m surprised I could do that, that I could lead the club. We had a successful year. I’ve been asked to publicly speak in class or in front of a panel of up to 100 people. I stepped out of my comfort zone, and E-town is the reason why I did that. It gave me the chance to advocate as an ambassador for my country. That was important to me.”

After having some difficulty applying to other schools, Elizabethtown College was brought to AJ’s attention by his host dad in Gettysburg.

“I chose it because of the size. It seemed like the kind of school for me. Small, close to Gettysburg where a lot of my support system was, being an international [student] in high school. I thought it was perfect,” he said.

“People care about you here. You’re not just a number, the professors won’t have to look back into their records to see if you were one of their students,” said AJ. “You create memories here. Being an international student, you’re made to feel at home. There are so many people you can go to. Professors, faculty, the community. My experiences will be with me forever. If I had to rate my experience here, it was excellent."

--by Nicole Geiger '13

Elizabethtown College