Saudi Arabian study abroad student Grace has many stories to tell. From growing up on an American compound in Saudi Arabia, to beginning her career in Hollywood, this School of Communication graduate used American University's (AU) career services and extensive alumni network to thrive, all while earning two degrees.
From Saudi Arabia to College in Washington, DC
A Palestinian in Saudi Arabia, Grace grew up on an American compound owned by the US oil company for which her father worked. “It was its own city,” the Saudi Arabian international student said. “It was an interesting childhood.”
Her travels to the US as a child inspired a curiosity and eventually a drive to study abroad. Her older siblings attended Georgetown University, which set her on a track to attend college in DC as well. As a Division 1 competitive swimmer, she was drawn to AU for its strong athletic program.
Back home, she would travel around the compound in a golf cart; as an AU international student, she learned to make her way around the city using the DC Metro system. “There were just little, simple things that I’m sure a lot of kids in the US grew up doing,” she says, but as a newcomer, she had to learn more than just her coursework.
From the Workplace to Graduate School
From her busy schedule studying and competing, to the homesickness that everyone who travels far away might experience, it took the strong support network of American University to help Grace stay on track toward her dreams. Dedicated university resources helped Grace not only survive the challenges of living somewhere new, but also thrive in her journey toward a brilliant career.
Grace learned to love her new home in the US, but after graduation, she went to work in Jordan doing public relations and marketing for a grade school. There, she was given complete freedom to create video content, which helped her realize her passion for film production—leading her back to AU, where she would gain the skills she’d need for the career of her dreams with a master’s degree.
It wasn’t just about the grades. It was really about learning life lessons and gaining the wisdom to move forward and be a good person.”– Grace, MA 2019, American
From Grad School to Hollywood
During her time at grad school at American University, Grace attended the School of Communication’s LA Intensive program, where she networked with Hollywood’s many AU alums: producer Barry Josephson, screenwriter Charlie Wachtel, Dichotomy Creative Group CEO Adam Goodman, television exec Dana Bramble, and Netflix executive producer James Middleton, among others.
Valuable real-world experience gave Grace and her classmates an up-close view of Hollywood as they met contacts that would help launch their careers after graduation. From going on set at movie productions to chatting over coffee with leaders in her field, her time in Los Angeles was an important step toward a bright future in entertainment.
Upon graduation, Grace sought a career that would combine her skills in producing and directing, with her passion for storytelling. Using AU’s Career Development Services, she gained valuable skills in resume writing, interviewing, networking, and more—getting her ready to share her vision with the world.
With an amazing resume filled with sought-after video production experience, social media management, and digital marketing skills, Grace followed her dreams to Los Angeles, where she now works as a producer/editor on a popular national podcast, bringing joy and laughter to fans around the world.
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