Motherhood and College in a Foreign Land: Furthering Education at the University of Findlay

Cultural-Connections---Huda-(Photo-Credit_-University-of-Findlay)

Huda Tahr Alkhalefha is juggling motherhood and college life in a foreign land. Although every day brings challenges, she’s enjoying the journey.

A deeply compassionate person who loves to serve others, Alkhalefha was a nurse in Saudi Arabia. Five years ago, she and her family moved to Findlay so that she could attend the University of Findlay and further her education with a bachelor’s degree in nuclear medicine. “It’s a new major and it has a lot of job opportunities in my country,” she said.

Education is a family affair

Alkhalefha’s husband of 30 years is currently living in Saudi Arabia, working as a geological engineer and caring for his ill mother, while his wife and the couple’s four children are in Findlay. Her three adult sons—22-year-old twins and a 19-year-old—are attending the University with their mother, and are also majoring in nuclear medicine. Her 14-year-old daughter is attending Findlay High School.

Education is important to the entire family. They study together and encourage one another. “Education makes us more productive,” said Alkhalefha. “Through education, a human can fulfill their duty in life and can improve.” Alkhalefha hopes to continue on with her education to get a master’s degree and a doctorate.

Home in Findlay

Although she misses her family, friends and the food in Saudi Arabia, Alkhalefha enjoys living in Findlay. She likes the fact that Findlay is relatively small and quiet. “People in Findlay are very kind,” she says. “They donate and help others. It is easy to have friendships.”

When they are not studying, she and her children watch movies together and explore Findlay. They enjoy dining on seafood at Red Lobster and Cheddars, shopping at T.J. Maxx and walking at Riverbend Park.

Parenting advice

Alkhalefha manages her busy household without her spouse by assigning every family member specific responsibilities. “One family member is responsible for financials, another is responsible for household chores and another for teaching us things we don’t know about college life,” she said.

Alkhalefha teaches her children to be respectful and to get along. Her advice to other mothers: “Become a friend of your children to become the best mother, become a friend to your husband to be the best wife, and teach your children to never give up.”

She also teaches her children to “always smile, be positive, work hard and be respectful all the time. Also, never say ‘I don’t know’, instead say ‘I will learn’.”