lmu oiss zainah ben essa

Zainah Ben Essa, junior

Major: Political Science, Psychology

Hometown: Kuwait City, Kuwait

Zainah was born and raised in Kuwait. English is her second language, but it did not stop her from becoming a writing tutor for the Academic Resource Center (ARC) for both American and International students. She also serves as a Wellness Educator for Student Psychological Services and worked for the Office for International Student and Scholar (OISS) as an Orientation Leader

What have you gotten involved with at LMU? 

I am currently a writing tutor at the Academic Resource Center. I have held this job for a whole year now and I am hoping to continue working at the ARC for the rest of time at LMU. Helping other students with their writing has brought me so much happiness because I love giving back.

In addition, I love it when American students are surprised that an ESL (English Second Language) student is helping them with their writing. Throughout my sophomore year, I was also a Wellness Educator, representing Student Psychological Services throughout campus. I was responsible for several outreach missions, which meant presenting to several organizations on campus on stigmatized issues like stress, depression, suicide, eating disorders, and mental health. This position enabled me to meet students from different backgrounds and discuss issues that were important to all of us.

What did you learn as an international student?

I learned not to hide my identity. At first, I felt hesitant to disclose the fact that I was Arab and Muslim because of all the political turmoil in the Middle East. Then, I realized that telling people this piece of information made them more interested in my background and so, I began taking pride in my origin and background. 

Who at LMU inspires you?

Dr. Amir Husain has inspired me. I took his First Year Seminar “Islam and the Building of America”. Although I had been born and raised Muslim, this class totally changed my perception of Islam. In addition to being an inspiring professor and mentor, Dr. Husain restarted the Muslim Student Association, making it possible for Muslims to practice their faith in a safe space within a tight knit community.