By Grace Richardson
Freshman Hajjer Al-Shohaty (pronounced hah-jur) is a Yemeni-American who’s been all around the world.
She’s lived in five different countries (Yemen, Canada, Saudi Arabia, UAE and now the U.S.) and attended many different schools. In addition to English, she speaks Arabic.
Hajjer moved to Delta earlier this year but had previously visited because she has relatives residing in Indiana. With moving around a lot, Hajjer has learned to adjust but still says she misses home.
Home for Hajjer is in Yemen where she was born and raised. She’s not sure if she will still be on the move after freshman year, though. All she knows is that she’s excited for the future.
“I do miss living in some of the places, but I’ve learned to adjust with moving,” she said. “Initially I consider Yemen my home because I was born and raised there.”
She said there isn’t always an exact reason why they move.
“It all just happens on the spot.”
Hajjer mainly moved here because her dad graduated from Ball State University with a major in political science but currently has a job in human resources for a company called Dot.
Her mom used to be an English college professor in Yemen.
Even with all this moving, Hajjer still doesn’t have a favorite place. She said she did enjoy her move to Delta, though.
Hajjer has gone to several other schools, but most of the others were private schools, although private schools in Yemen are not like private schools in the U.S.
Yemen’s private schools are taught in English, while public schools are taught in Arabic.
That’s why English is considered her first language.
Although it’s hard to make friends at times, she says she still enjoys the moving.
She says some of her favorite things about Indiana are the peaceful neighborhoods and the greenery.
Hajjer’s hobbies consist of soccer and reading.
With Delta High School being 92.8 percent white, a student being from Yemen is a rare thing.
She says, “My overall experience at Delta has been nice, and I’ve made a couple of good friends.”
Regarding the current civil war in Yemen, Hajjer remarks that she’s glad she hasn’t had to experience it. She hasn’t been back in about five years but she does still have family there.
Hajjer says one of the main things about being a minority is that some students at Delta get the wrong idea about where she’s from.
“Some students think that Yemen doesn’t have basic necessities, like someone asked me if we had cars and clothes shops,” she says.
“Some people also view it like it’s either really bad or really amazing. That’s just not the case. We have normal neighborhoods and everything”
Although she experiences these interactions, she says it still doesn’t really bother her.
Hajjer’s friend, sophomore Polly East, who has witnessed some of these interactions, says they met through drawing class.
“Hajjer is someone I’m not afraid to be myself with,” Polly says. “She just brings out a good side in me.”