Sophomore Ahmad Kaziz puts America first to gain better opportunities


Sammy Hildebrand

Sophomore Ahmad Kaziz works in his math class before school. Kaziz is working towards a career in the medical field by getting good grades in his classes. “The education in America is a lot more competitive than in Saudi Arabia,” Kaziz said. “That’s why I work hard and get help from my teachers every day so I can make the best of the opportunities I have in the United States.”

Sophomore Ahmad Kaziz and his family made the decision to move to the United States from Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, enduring a  21-hour flight that promised a future of educational benefits and the ability to be closer with family that already lived in the United States.

Coming to the United States exposed Kaziz to a new culture and a new school system at Hannah Woods Elementary.

“The first day [of school] was frightening, [and] it was in the middle of the year. I entered into fifth grade, and I did not have many friends because everyone else had already made friends from the previous years,” Kaziz said. “I definitely felt left out for a lot of that year.”

Kaziz had difficulty breaking into the social structure at Hannah Woods.

“I felt like a lot of people made it awkward. Class ice breaker games also did not help. It just created more anxiety on my part and not many people like small talk,” Kaziz said.

Kaziz would like to see schools help students in similar situations assimilate.

[The school should] help people of different cultures feel more involved in the school community,̈ Kaziz said. ¨ [Our school] has a lot of clubs that pertain to various ethnic and religious backgrounds that I think help these students feel more comfortable at school.”

Despite the exposure to different religious and ethnic backgrounds, Kaziz builds better connections with people of a similar background to him. 

“I can understand the school wants us to become closer with people of different cultures, but I really have more of a connection with Middle Easterners who have gone through similar situations as me,” Kaziz said. 

Kaziz came to the United States was for a better education, and plans to attend St. Louis University, where he hopes to pursue a career in the medical field. 

“The United States has many more educational benefits and job opportunities that guarantee more success. That’s an important reason to why I still live here to this day,” Kaziz said. 

In the United States, one is required to have been a permanent resident for five years, and complete tests that assess your knowledge of U.S. history and government in order to gain rights as a citizen.

“My mom is still in the process of becoming an American citizen to this day,” Kaziz said. 

Kaziz’s experience has been that immigrants are not respected or accepted, despite the things they provide.

“The United States is made of immigrants after all,” Kaziz said. “The reputation of Middle Easterns in the United States does not reflect what the majority intend in this country, we want great opportunities in education and careers. We can impact more lives over here, we only want to help improve and advance what is already so great here.”