An interview with Rayan Obaid about his dedication to working hard and the strategies that make him a superstar to his teachers and classmates.

Rayan Obaid, AES Graduate ’19

Around the AES office we refer to Rayan as one of our superstar students. Over the course of a year, his English abilities have soared from approximately those of a native eight-year-old to now those of a young professional. We have all been blown away by his quick success in learning English and his sincere personality; both instructors and students enjoy working with him and value his friendship. As I’ve gotten to know Rayan, I’ve realized his academic success is not the result of innate abilities, though he is clever, but rather a great set of strategies. In an interview, Rayan shares insight to his experience studying English this past year, including how he balances his heavy study load and the ups and downs of his experience.

BP: What does your typical day look like?

Rayan: My typical day starts by waking up early and having a healthy breakfast, so that I can be prepared and focused for the whole day. I usually prefer studying at the library for 1 to 2 hours after my classes because the atmosphere there is positively contagious. Another part of my day is exercising. It is one of the most useful routines because it refreshes my mind and helps me to stay healthy which reflects on my performance in learning. Also, I always like to have plans for my day and what I want to achieve, such as working on my major assignments, reading, shopping, and watching Netflix. I never skip out on the entertaining part because it is one of the important parts of my typical day routine 🙂

BP: Which challenges did you face this year and how did you overcome them?

Rayan: One of the biggest challenges I have faced was to keep track of the intensive homework assignments. However, I overcame this challenge by following timelines and prioritizing tasks. Studying is my first priority, and it is the reason for me to be here, so the other things come after. Moreover, thinking about the benefits I am going to gain from these assignments has helped me stay positive and motivated to get them done. 

BP: What’s been the most rewarding part about learning English?

Rayan: The most rewarding part is the significant improvement in my four skills that I have noticed during my time studying. Because the AES program is not only about learning a new language it is also about content, I now have a basic understanding about a variety of different topics, such as environmental issues, sociology, psychology, sociolinguistics, leadership, and nutrition which was a great outcome from the past year. I believe that persistence makes a difference, and I have found that after each semester my English progress is increasing. Looking back at my first writing papers or presentations and comparing them to the current ones is one of the biggest rewards I have gotten while learning English.

BP: What has been the most helpful to you in learning English?

Rayan: I am thankful to my teachers. They always provide deep and thorough feedback, and I have found it the most useful part in my learning process. Identifying my mistakes and applying my instructors’ feedback has been the key for me to develop my English skills. I believe that my instructors are experts in teaching English, thus I tried my best to meet their expectations by following what they assign because they know what works the best for students, and I found it very useful strategy to learn.

BP: What motivates you?  Who inspires you?

Rayan: I am always motivated by successful people around me. They encourage and inspire me by being focused and dedicated toward their goals. I get inspired when I see my teachers work very hard to deliver the information, and how they feel appreciated when they notice improvement in their students’ skills.

BP: What are your professional plans and goals?  Has this past year impacted your plans and goals?

Rayan: My professional plans are to earn Master and PhD degrees in Criminal Law and to be one of the pioneers who regulates Criminal Law in Saudi Arabia. I am a lifelong learner, and I have been adding more goals since I came to U.S, such as improving my communication skills to be an effective speaker and writer. Studying in AES has enhanced my confidence by facing the challenges and working with professional instructors who are always around for support.

BP: Thank you so much, Rayan! This January, Rayan will start law school at George Washington University. We will miss him and know that the skills he has applied to learning English will bring him success in law school and in all of his future endeavors!