International Student Earns Three Master’s & Studies Abroad through CU Denver
Student Realizes Full Potential
Student: Fahad Alhammadi
Home Country: United Arab Emirates
Degrees: Master of Urban & Regional Planning, Master of Public Administration and Master of Urban Design
Between completing three Master’s degrees at the University of Colorado Denver (totaling 87 credits with an outstanding 3.6 GPA), studying abroad in China, completing an internship, traveling throughout the United States, and making new friends, Fahad Alhammadi has clearly been busy. Alhammadi gained valuable educational experiences through his studies in the university’s College of Architecture and Planning and School of Public Affairs and by taking advantage of its study abroad opportunities with the International Studio: China, a graduate level urban design studio course taught in Beijing and Nanjing, China.
Alhammadi described his parents as being very influential in his educational journey. Although they did not have the same opportunities when they were growing up, they believed in the value of education and encouraged Alhammadi and his siblings to apply themselves to their studies. The educational obstacles faced by his parents have driven Alhammadi to go far in his own schooling.
Before leaving to pursue a PhD in urban geography at Durham University, one of the oldest and most established universities in the United Kingdom, Alhammadi took a moment to reflect upon his educational experiences at the University of Colorado Denver with Julie Wilbers, Senior International Services Specialist in the Office of International Affairs.
As a student, organization, persistence and hard work are important. Alhammadi’s advice – “When you have a goal, go after it!”
Make friends and relax
Even with the pressure of school work, it is important to take time for relaxing and meeting people. “Try to experience the social life of Americans. Don’t just stay within groups from your country.”
Communicate with your professors
If you have questions, contact your professors directly. Do not simply rely on information from other students in the class. Take full advantage of any resources and time the professor is providing.
There are study abroad opportunities for international students too! Alhammadi participated in International Studio: China, a graduate level urban design studio course in the College of Architecture and Planning, which took place in Beijing and Nanjing, China. According to Alhammadi, “This was a very rich experience to learn from different practices around the world and a chance to learn more about the culture, people and new trends in China.”
In addition to his study abroad experience, Alhammadi broadened his learning outside of the classroom. He traveled to more than 25 cities, including New York, Seattle and San Diego, and 15 different states. He even made it to Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands. Alhammadi describes himself as a solo traveler. He met a lot of people along the way while staying in hotels, hostels and dorms.
Practical Training Experience
Alhammadi took advantage of Curricular Practical Training, work authorization for F-1 international students in their field of study, doing an unpaid internship with LiveWell Colorado. In addition to helping provide residents in the Northeast Denver neighborhoods with access to healthy food, he assisted with environmental, food and park needs assessments. Alhammadi enjoyed working with residents to understand exactly what was preventing them from accessing healthy food, and he felt like he was a part of their community. Doing this work even encouraged Fahad to learn yet another language, Spanish.