EMU student Marawan Saadeldin talks on travel from Egypt

Eastern Michigan University’s newest ad campaign “You Are Welcome Here” shows that the university is proud to be a second home to many of the international students who decided to come to the United States and study there. One of the many international students that the university is host to is Marawan Saadeldin, an urban planning major and GIS minor from Alexandria, Egypt.

Saadeldin first came to America as a child, but traveled between it and Egypt throughout his teenage years.

“When I was two, we moved to a small town, Marion, Virginia, where I grew up,” Saadeldin said. “We went back to Egypt when I was nine. I lived there for 10 years and I came back here when I was 19.”

Living in Marion, Virginia was a major change because of how different this city is compared to Alexandria. While Marion is considered to be classic small town America, Alexandria is one of Egypt’s largest cities and one of the oldest. Alexandria dates to the 4th Century BC and was founded by the ancient Greek king Alexander the Great. Alexandria is also known as being the home of one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World; the Lighthouse of Alexandria, as well as the famous Library of Alexandria. Life in Egypt’s second largest city has many important differences between life in a typical small town.  

When Saadeldin lived in Alexandria, he lived in an apartment building, a common housing in the city. high-rise apartment blocks.  

Another major change happened when his family moved to Southeast Michigan. 

“We moved to Ann Arbor in 2013,” Saadeldin said. 

While Ann Arbor is still a small city compared to Alexandria, it still was a major change for him when compared to his other home in Virginia. Ann Arbor is a major college town that is home to the University of Michigan, and is one of the largest cities in the state. 

“Ann Arbor is a lot more urban,” Saadeldin said. “There’s a lot more things to do here than in Marion.”

After graduating from high school, Saadeldin went to Michigan State University to study civil engineering. At the time, he lived on campus in Emmons Hall. He went to MSU during the 2014/2015 academic year. He transferred to EMU in the fall of 2015 with the desire to change his major to urban planning. 

Coming to Eastern from a major university like Michigan State was another major change that Saadeldin experienced. Michigan State has around 50,000 students, compared to Eastern’s 20,000. After spending time at a huge university with many resources, Saadeldin expected to be underwhelmed by what Eastern would offer.
“I had low expectations when I started but that started to change when I was here,” Saadeldin said. 

After moving to many different places throughout his life, Saadeldin has found a place in the EMU community. 

“Eastern, I think, is a very underrated school,” Saadeldin said. “A lot of people say it’s small, and it’s not nice, but it’s a really nice school.”  


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