In her own words: Shabnam Habibi '20, audiology
I was born and grew up in Tehran, Iran. I completed my bachelor’s degree in audiology at Shahid Beheshti University of Medical Sciences in 2011. The day after graduation I started working as an audiologist in a very busy hospital in Tehran.
After five years of working there, I felt that I wanted to know more about audiology. I felt my knowledge was not enough to help people who desperately came to me and asked what they should do for the ringing in their ears. As a result, I started to apply to different universities in the United States. Applying for anything in another country is not an easy process at all, and I knew I had a long and difficult path in front of me. I had the option of going to two other universities besides Auburn, but I chose Auburn. I chose a place where I felt welcomed and would also be challenged—a place where the faculty and staff were truly enthusiastic with helping me to succeed. Everyone I worked with matched my drive, including Dr. Krishnamurti who supported me not just from the first day I entered the country but before, when I was in Iran and worried about different things. I had his support the whole time both with academic problems and when I needed help in my private life. Starting a life in another country has so many difficulties, especially if you are the first and only international student in your department. However, I am so pleased with my decision to choose Auburn as my second home.
My first semester was the most difficult one. Because of the visa processing time, I got to Auburn late and missed the orientation session. In addition there were other difficulties international students face, including cultural shock, language barriers, finances and making friends, which was the hardest part. At the beginning, it was hard adapting to classmates who had a totally different culture and even talked another language. They also had their guards up, which is understandable. After a while, they turned out to become my best friends here, even better than those I have had in my home country. Later on, when my father passed away, I realized the true meaning of the Auburn Family. I was far away from my family and could not go back home to be in the funeral, but I had another family here in Auburn. All of the supervisors, staff and my classmates were there for me. I will never forget their support and help during this period, and I can’t thank them enough for what they have done for me.
As a result, my experience at Auburn has not only provided me with the learning tools necessary for a professional career, but it also has given me a sense of personal gratification and the confidence to be anything I want to be. I’ve grown as a person and as a professional.
I hope this helps current or prospective students understand that the Auburn Family is always there for you, and can propel you to higher heights. Be strong, persistent, and courageous. Enjoy your journey, learn as much as you can, and build many relationships.