January 17, 2013

Like Father, Like Son: Second Generation International English Student Chooses CU-Boulder

Yousef Husain, right, is enrolled in the International English Center (IEC) this semester. His father, Salem Husain, left, was an IEC student in 1984-85.

It’s a brisk January day on the University of Colorado Boulder campus, but Yousef Husain enjoys the chill in the air. He is a Kuwait native looking forward to a change in climate and a change in academic opportunities as a new student in CU-Boulder’s International English Center (IEC).

Yousef is following in his father’s footsteps as an IEC student. His father, Salem Husain, enrolled in the IEC’s intensive English courses in the mid-1980s. So when Yousef was selected for a scholarship to study in the U.S., the Husains started researching language programs and their research quickly steered them toward CU.

“He immediately applied here,” Salem said. “I showed him the map. I opened the door, but then it was up to him to decide.”

It didn’t take long for Yousef to share in his father’s affinity for CU-Boulder.

“I liked seeing the mountains and the school in between, and I like that the school has a good ranking,” Yousef said.

“He was very impressed,” Salem added.

Salem and his wife came to Boulder in the beginning of January to help Yousef settle in at the IEC and Boulder. For Salem, it was as if he was “coming home” again. He had not been in Boulder since he completed his English language coursework in 1985. Back then, he had hoped to stay in Boulder to earn his computer engineering degree at CU, but the terms of his scholarship required that he enroll at a different university.

“I learned English here, but I couldn’t make my dream of going to school here,” he said. “It’s like he (Yousef) is completing my dream, but now it’s his dream too.”

Yousef is looking forward to the start of the IEC sessions where he hopes to improve his English and eventually enroll in the computer engineering program in the College of Engineering and Applied Science.

The IEC offers five eight-week sessions of intensive English as second language instruction for non-native English speakers who are preparing to enter a college or university in the United States. Many IEC students, including the Husains, attend IEC classes with the goal of matriculating to CU-Boulder degree programs.

After merely one week, Yousef feels at ease at CU-Boulder, and the Husains are comfortable leaving their son to his studies in his new “home away from home.” Father and son shared a mutual déjà vu feeling about being in Boulder.

“We were having dinner and Yousef said ‘I feel like I have been here before. I feel like I have seen this before,’” Salem said.  “That’s a good sign.”

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