“Presbyterian College Has Helped me Prepare for Life…”
Wasim Gendi, a senior at Presbyterian College, shares his journey.
Presbyterian College (PC), located in Clinton, South Carolina in the United States, advocates a global community on campus and encourages students to understand and respect all people, regardless of their race, gender or ethnic background.
Wasim Gendi, originally from Egypt, is a senior at Presbyterian College (PC) studying Political Science and French. Though hailing from Egypt, Wasim was naturalised as an American citizen when he was younger, and has lived and studied in three countries - Egypt, South Africa and the United States - before landing at Presbyterian College for his undergraduate degree.
Growing Up Around the World
Wasim studied in the Egyptian national education system until 9th grade, when he transferred to the IGCSE system. For his senior year of high school, he moved to the United States and lived with his aunt and uncle in the state of Georgia.
Wasim wanted to take advantage of his US citizenship and the educational opportunities it allowed him and therefore, only applied to universities in the US. He applied to many schools, but chose PC as it best fit his financial situation and the college also offered an excellent Modern Foreign Language programme, which was exactly what he wanted to pursue in his higher education. He also liked the fact that PC is a small college with just over 1,000 students and an average class size of 13-15 students. With these small numbers, he knew it would be easy to connect with other students and also to receive individual attention from his professors.
Majors and Minors
Presbyterian College offers 42 majors and 57 minors to its students to form a strong liberal arts curriculum. Wasim is double majoring in Political Science (with a focus on International Politics) and French. He is also minoring in International Studies. He wanted to study languages ever since high school as it was always something he enjoyed and he excelled at the subject. The decision to study Political Science came later, when he took an introductory course as part of his general education requirements at PC. On choosing to pursue a double major, Wasim comments, “I discovered that I really enjoyed learning about different governmental systems, the way democracies function and the way other countries interact with each other. The more PoliSci classes I took, the more interested I became in the subject.”
Wasim enjoys travelling and learning about different cultures and societies. Majoring in French at PC has also given him the opportunity to study abroad in Paris and explore Europe, its culture, and politics.
Creating a Place For Himself
Wasim admits that he initially had some issues adjusting to life at university. He had just left his friends and family in Egypt one year earlier, and had already adapted to a new community in Georgia. Upon moving yet again to Presbyterian College for his undergraduate degree, he was discouraged and anxious about going through the process again so soon. “I finally accepted the fact that PC was going to be my new home for the next four years and I decided to make the most of it! I opened myself up to people and eventually welcomed the idea of making new friends and new connections,” he reflects.
Having an international background at PC has had a large impact in creating Wasim’s identity on campus. “People were interested in meeting an Egyptian for the first time and it has always been a great conversation starter when I introduce myself as being originally from Egypt! Academically, having a Middle Eastern background has helped me see international politics from different perspectives. It has given me the opportunity to bring different ideas to the table in class and share my thoughts and views from an international perspective,” he states.
Things To Do Outside of Class
Though Presbyterian College resides in a quiet town, there are many organisations on campus - such as the Student Activities Board and PC International Programs - which organise events for students to enjoy. There are also over 60 numerous extra-curricular groups and activities offered through the college. Wasim is President of Presbyterian College’s French Club, and the President of the Fellowship of Christian Athletes. He also sings with FCA’s Worship Band and takes part in the school’s Political Science Club, Campus Outreach program and the International Buddies Program. The larger cities of Greenville and Greenwood are also only 30 minutes away.
Many students also work on campus to expand their academic experience and to earn some extra money. Wasim works at the school library in the circulation desk, is a Study Abroad Intern at the Office of International Programs, and is a French tutor with the Peer Tutoring Program on campus.
International Students and Presbyterian College
Presbyterian College is a haven for new international students arriving for the first time in the United States. One of PC’s strengths is its small student population which allows international students to easily mix with other students and make new friends, while adjusting to American lifestyle. While some universities have separate academic programs for international and local students, PC does not differentiate between the two, thereby fostering assimilation and a sense of belonging. The Office of International Programs is also always there for international students to attend to their queries, concerns and needs.
Wasim concludes, “PC has helped me prepare for life through its liberal arts education. Not only did I learn about politics and languages, but also biology, mathematics, history, and other subjects that have helped me become the well-rounded person that I am today. PC has also provided me with connections that will definitely be advantageous in the future.”