Aaliah knew there was a demand for graphic designers in Saudi Arabia, but there were no programs in her country. If she wanted the training, studying abroad was the only option. When she came to Suffolk, she knew life would be different, but she wasn’t expecting to feel so at home, despite being so far away.

My Background

I was born in the United States and lived here until I was five years old. At that time my father was offered a job as a professor in Saudi Arabia. I graduated magna cum laude from King Saud University in 2005 with a degree in Art Education. The reason I came to the U.S. to study graphic design was two-fold. One, the Saudi Arabian government began granting students the opportunity to study abroad on full scholarships and two, even as the demand for graphic designers in Saudi Arabia was growing there were no graphic design programs there.

My Path to Grad School

When I started researching schools in the U.S., Boston seemed like a good place to study. Eventually I discovered The New England School of Art & Design at Suffolk University. In talking with Rita Daly, the Program Director, she advised me to apply to the Pre-Graduate Summer Program as a means of entering the masters program without submitting a portfolio. The Pre-Grad program was like an appetizer that opens your appetite before starting the main dish. It helped me make new friends and feel adjusted before starting classes in the fall. My ultimate goal is to return to the Middle East and work in the field. I would like to start working in a firm but eventually start my own company.