بسم الله الرحمن الرحيم
The Ohio State University
It's been more than a month staying here in the US. There's a ton of valuable experience that I have gained in this first month. People here are very polite and helpful. The traffics are not as crowd as Malaysia. Pedestrians are prioritised on road. Only tissues are provided in restrooms (no water!).
So I will divide my first post in the US into several categories. Let's start!
I took 5 subjects with 13.5 credit hours this semester. Everyday I have class at 8 o'clock in the morning. I have a little bit regret about scheduling my classes because on Friday, my schedule is full with classes along with Jumuah prayer, thus making me a little bit rush to get home to prepare and go to the masjid and then need to go to the campus again for another class.
The lecturers and teaching assistants here are so knowledgeable and they really know how to explain complicated concepts in simpler way. They also provide insights to some of the concepts and that's really cool.
In addition, OSU has one academic website called Carmen. Carmen can be access by students and instructors. Students can check their assignments, grades, quizzes, preparation materials and all those stuffs online. OSU also have an application available for smartphones. Carmen is very helpful in many ways.
One thing I don't like here is that all of the books here are too expensive. My Organic Chemistry textbook costs $250 but I bought a used one for about $130 which is still too expensive.
Sports & Clubs
One of my seniors said that OSU's gymnasium is the second largest gym in the US. That's kind of amazing. I didn't start any sports yet because my sport shoes does not arrived yet. I will start jogging and working out once I got my sports shoes. Malaysian here always play futsal at night.
OSU offers many clubs, there are hundreds of them. The club that I have already joined is a Kung Fu Club called Shuai Chiao Kungfu Club. Another one that I want to join is academic based which is the OSU Chapter American Institute of Chemical Engineers (AIChE).
It's very easy to get halal food here, more halal foods are available compared to other universities. I eventually learn how to cook since I don't really know how to cook back then. We only cook for dinner and sometimes lunch. My usual breakfast are either toasted breads made at home or Subway sandwiches.
I don't have any car and driving license yet. I usually took a bus specifically bus COTA number 7. Riverside Hospital to go home, Seymour Avenue to go to the campus. Sometimes, I will just walk from home to campus, campus to home which is 10-15 minutes away walking.
If I want to know what is the departure and arrival time of any bus, I can just use Google maps and type in some location I want to go and then it will suggest me some alternatives to go to my destination.
Everyone will drive according to the speed limit here.
The main mobile lines that my friends use are T-Mobile and also AT&T. I use T-Mobile but will probably change to Verizon (depending on my situation).
I got here in Summer and now it's already Autumn. The temperature is 9 degree Celcius which is fairly cold. Hoodies and jacket are my best friends now. I'm looking forward to enjoy the beautiful scenery of Autumn.
Groceries & Shopping
I rarely use cash. Everyone here use Debit Card to shop. For groceries, basically there will be no cashiers, you will scan and pay by yourself. Kroger, Big Lots and Giant Eagle are some of the name of the usual places we go to buy groceries.
In addition, most of my things are bought online such as textbooks, sport shoes, drawer, book racks, and study desk.
Punctuality is the best quality I have seen here. All of the things they schedule will be carried out punctually.
Everyone is very friendly and helpful. They will always offer help and will gladly help us. The common phrase that are used here to greet people are "Hey, how was your day?" and "How are you doing?" I also always heard the phrase "thank you" and "have a great day" from them.
After finish eating, we must clean our own table. Whenever someone sneeze, people around him or her will say "bless you". People here walk very fast, but will usually hold the door for someone behind.
If a crime occurs, the university will inform everyone via email. The police here response as fast as lightning.
Here, it's kind of hard to have a normal Usrah meeting. Usually, we will go for Usrah online using Skype. There are general Usrah as well for Malays here that is conducted by OMyG (Ohio Malay Group).
Muslim Student Association here is pretty active. The Masjid here got a lot of people too, I mean when I go there for prayers, there's a lot of Muslim from many races. Most of the people of the Masjid are professionals in their respective fields.
By the way, people here respect our religious practice, I have informed my English instructor about Jumuah prayer and she's fine with it. In addition, yesterday before I started my kung fu class, I ask for permission to perform Maghrib prayer in the room and the instructor was gladly gave me permission and will start the class after I pray.
Lastly, to maintain faith here, constant reminder is a must. Read a lot of Quran and try to self-reflect upon any verse. Initiate something good among friends. Join any event and programs that bring benefits such as events that are organized by Muslim Student Association (MSA) and Malaysia Islamic Study Group (MISG).
May Allah keep guiding me and my friends. Guidance is the best gift from Allah.