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Morning Sun
  • Pitt State foreign students visit farm

  • Abdul Aziz, from Moceniat, Oman, had his own vision of what an American farm would be like. That vision included country music and a mustang horse.

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  • Abdul Aziz, from Moceniat, Oman, had his own vision of what an American farm would be like. That vision included country music and a mustang horse.
    If it seems like something out of TV or a movie, that’s because it is.
    “Either I saw it on TV or someone told me,” Aziz said. “Being here is so different. You can see the green places and how they used to seem on TV. But now I know how it is.”
    Aziz was one of several dozen international students who visited Hickory Creek Farms on Wednesday. The trip was offered through the Intensive English Program at Pittsburg State.
    More than just the students came, however. The trip was open to all who wished to come enjoy autumn in America at its finest.
    “We like to try to do traditional American activities with the students while they are here,” said Christine Mekkaoui, IEP director. “We’re coming out here for a hay ride, bonfire, and a weenie roast. These are all traditional American fall activities. Most of these students come from countries that don’t have a fall.”
    Count Yaseen Al Aidorous among those. Al Aidorous is from Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, on the Red Sea.
    “We miss the fall and the spring,” Al Aidorous said. “Even the winter, it’s 3/4 like summer. We still have rain, but we don’t have snow. You can’t see the four seasons in my home country. You never see fall.”
    Several of the students enjoyed a hay ride through the farm, while others got lost in the corn maze. A weenie roast was dampened a bit by rain, but the students said the event was fun.
    “It’s amazing. This is the first time for me to come to a farm. It’s beautiful,” said Waleed Turkistani, Medina, Saudi Arabia, who brought his son, Khalid, 5. “It’s completely different from the farm where I am from. Our farms have tomatoes and grapes. Here, they know it is fall because of the pumpkins. It’s amazing. You see these things on TV and it’s not like this. It’s not like the cowboy movies.”
    There are 89 students in the IEP program, but not all of them came to the event on Friday. Yet there were students from across the world: Saudi Arabia, China, Taiwan, Paraguay, Oman and more.
    “I think we intended for them to see something new,” said Mekkaoui. “The vast majority of these students are from big cities. The fact that they would come to the U.S. shows that they are open to new experiences. This is certainly a new experience for most of them.”
    Andrew Nash can be reached at andrew.nash@morningsun.net or by calling 231-2600 ext. 132.
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