Congratulations to Kenza Sandi for being selected as the Student Ambassador of the Month! Kenza has been representing ABPA on her campus of University of Maryland, College Park. We are beyond impressed of all she has achieved and done to increase the engagement and success of ABPA throughout this past year. Her dedication to ABPA through events such as the UMD Career Fair, Harvard Conference, Tunisian Ambassador event with the UMD Arab Student Organization, outreach efforts and more does not go unrecognized and we sincerely thank her for all she has and continues to do.
Continue reading to learn more about Kenza and where her journey all started.
“My name is Kenza Sandi. I am originally from Tunisia, and currently I am a 22-year-old college student at the University of Maryland, College Park, where I am proud to be an ABPA Student Ambassador.
Born and raised in Tunis, I had the chance to enjoy the unique perks of living as a Mediterenean/North-African/Arab. This means summers at the beach in Hammamet, red pasta with meat balls for lunch and dinner, and speaking two languages at home (French and Arabic).
I grew up dreaming of either becoming a fashion mogul like Donatella Versace or a philanthropist like Oprah. But my aspirations soon changed at the age of 14, when the famous Arab Spring erupted in my country on January 14th 2011. My whole world turned upside down. As I became more aware that Tunisia had been reeling with dictatorship, corruption and oppression during 23 years under Ben Ali, I realized that I was bearing witness and participating in the birth of the most functioning democracy in the Arab world. It was this revolution that directed me towards my current field of study.
As a Tunisian-American, it had always been a dream to move to America after high school and attend college there. I thought of myself as a product made in Tunisia and developed in America. I first moved to the United States in 2016. I lived in Atlanta, Georgia for two years, where I spent my freshman and sophomore year studying political science, but then decided to move to the DMV area, because I couldn’t think of any better place to flourish as a political scientist than in Washington D.C. As mentioned previously, I am currently a University of Maryland student. I am enrolled in their Government & Politics program, with a concentration in International Relations and a minor in History.
I spend most of my time at school. During the day you can either find me at the café working on an assignment (or sipping a Peppermint Mocha), at the office of the Student Government Association (where I serve as a representative for the Behavioral & Social Sciences school), or at the career center trying to find new opportunities for ABPA to recruit UMD students into its Internship Placement Program. The UMD Career Center has welcomed ABPA to so many of its career and job fairs, which helped us tremendously in enrolling new members from all walks of life and fields of study.
Being an ABPA Student Ambassador has been very fulfilling. I’ve had the chance to meet incredible people and highly successful professionals, but what I am most thankful for is that ABPA has welcomed me like family. Knowing that I am somehow contributing to the Arab community and minorities on campus is very rewarding. I’ve always thought that it is never too early for a student to be involved professionally, whether it is through internships or volunteering, and that everyone should have equal access to opportunities regardless of ethnicity, religion, or sexual orientation. I wouldn’t be a part of ABPA if I didn’t share its values and aspirations for our community. We are driven to help our young professionals to flourish within the American society and to grow as a successful diaspora. For this to happen, we need real empowerment. Our interests won’t be represented in the government, immigration, economy, academia, trade, or more until we integrate ourselves into the system.
Through the years, ABPA has developed a remarkable “carnet d’adresses” that has helped us find diverse internships/job opportunities for our young communities and enhance their career development. I personally hope to contribute further to the growth of ABPA and its network.”