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#MyMessage — Mohamad Khairie Shaari

Meet Mohamad Khairie Shaari, an international relations senior from Malaysia.

After being accepted to Syracuse University, Mohamad Khairie Shaari remembered scanning a list with the names of other Malaysian students enrolled at the school. There were a total three. 

But the number didn't deter Shaari — it only added to the appeal of attending the university tucked in the relative seclusion of upstate New York. Shaari relishes the opportunity to explore and learn about different cultures, to live outside the comfortable and familiar. 

Check out #MyMessage for more stories about SU international students.

"That's actually why I chose to come to Syracuse. I don't want to be in the place where you're still stuck to your cultural norms and expectations," he said. "The point of you studying abroad, I think, for my opinion is to learn about other people's cultures."

Shaari said his worldview has expanded since arriving in Syracuse, especially since he views the city and the general United States as more liberal and welcoming of different points of view.

In Malaysia, Shaari said voicing an opinion a teacher doesn't agree with could count against a student.

“If you do that, you probably won’t get A for your class,” he explained.

While he maintains an open mind and desire to educate himself on diverse lifestyles, Shaari said he remains rooted in his Malaysian identity. For example, Shaari said Malaysians consider singing in the kitchen a bad omen and he refuses to do so.

"I'm still stuck in that Malaysian superstitious habit," he said, smiling.

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