Saudi Student Needs in Rural Montana


As a result of September 11, 2001, and the general lack of US awareness regarding Islam and the Middle East, international educators at rural universities isolated from established Muslim communities need to give attention to Muslim student services and related issue awareness on their campuses and in the larger host communities. In response to the University of Montana’s developing exchange program through the Saudi Ministry of Education, this study focused on Saudi Arabian students studying in Montana. Saudi students as well as their campus international educators were surveyed and interviewed. The students were asked about their experiences and perceptions regarding their needs and acceptance in a rural community. The international educators shared problems brought to their attention, recommendations, and best practices. In addition, informal interviews were conducted with leaders of organizations related to Muslim student interests. Analysis of the literature review, surveys, interviews, and relevant documents were integrated to reach conclusions identifying Saudi student concerns regarding housing, food, prayer and other religious observances, male/female gender mixing, banking, curriculum, and community awareness of Islam. This report lists issues, recommendations and suggested resources that international educators in rural settings can use to outline awareness and culture training for both their campuses and host communities. This pro-active attention may help counteract the effects of September 11 and facilitate smoother cross-cultural interactions and expand community awareness.


International and Comparative Education | International and Intercultural Communication

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