As small as our little island may be, Aruba still has a vast majority of international people on our island, either permanently living or temporarily for bettering their careers, education or family reasons. Making us diverse in many ways.
Since 2004, Aruba has been home to Xavier University. This university that strangely enough, not many locals know much about, is home to various international students that come and live here for quite some time. Bringing in students from Jordan, Syria, United States, Canada and many more. It offers students a pre-med and also a full term medical school education at a better price than they can get than in the states. It is noticeable that not many locals attend this school, but primarily international students. There are however, some locals who do attend and get the opportunity to also meet people from around the world by just being on our island. Something that most students here get the opportunity to do only when they leave the island to attend a further education in Europe or United States.
With that in mind, we had the opportunity to speak to Rehmen Anjum (31) who is born and raised in Las Vegas, Nevada. Coming from a family of doctors he knew this is the direction he wanted to take, and so decided to apply for medical schools. He got a call back from Xavier University offering him a spot in their program. From one day to another he was basically on Aruba, in the middle of the Caribbean and in a class full of international students from around the world, but he found his way around and adjusted well to the island life, as well as complementing our island in being an “easy” transition for him he says. He also added with an upbeat spirit, “The adjustment wasn’t so bad, just some minor adjustments that anyone can get used to, lovely beaches that I haven’t had enough time to enjoy (yet), and also the locals being friendly and very helpful to me”. One important necessity he says that anyone moving to the island needs is: a car. Although the school does offer transportation, to and from school, if you really want to get to know the island the most effective way is having your own transportation. He is successfully finishing his studies this year to eventually continue on his career path. But to him Aruba has been a part of that journey, to take with him into his future.
It is quite noticeable that Xavier University offers students a place for evolving and a lot of learning, educationally and as well as. Students who have gone through hardship in their countries are blessed with a better opportunity that they get to come here, on an island we call home, but to others maybe a safe haven. Each student has their story, their sacrifice as to why they chose to be here, or simply ended up here. In that aspect Aruba has prospered that we openly welcome international people worldwide and will continue to do so in the hopes of helping them work on a better future when their home cannot do so for them. Diversity can be something beautiful and we hope to keep welcoming more students from around the world.
Papiamento version available here