What's life like for UM-Dearborn students?

August 8, 2022

Senior Hussein Badran talks about missing Lebanon — which is where he spent most of his life — and how the simple things like local coffee shops and campus camaraderie help him find a sense of home.

Senior Hussein Badran enjoys a drink at Qahweh House, one of his favorite coffee shops. Photo by Rudra Mehta
Senior Hussein Badran enjoys a drink at Qahwah House, one of his favorite coffee shops. Photo by Rudra Mehta

Hussein Badran, Finance major, senior.

Where he considers home:
“I lived in Dearborn, but my parents decided to move to the Middle East when I was young. We moved to Kuwait at first, then went to Beirut, Lebanon. That’s where I lived most of my life and that’s the place I call home. The economy in Lebanon was showing early signs of crashing, so I changed my plans of staying and studying at the Lebanese American University, where I was awarded a scholarship and decided to pursue my education in the U.S. due to greater potential for opportunity. I moved to the U.S. when I was 18 and have lived here since. I moved back to Dearborn at first, but now live in Canton.”

Even though nearly 6,000 miles away, how he incorporates into everyday life:
“I maintain my connection in a number of ways. The main aspect is language. I attempt to speak as much Arabic as possible as often as possible, as well as set my phone’s language to Arabic, play and listen to Arabic music and try to talk with people who have similar situations to mine. Otherwise, reading cultural books and learning how to cook more Lebanese food has helped me incorporate Lebanon deeper into my life while being far away.”

What a typical day looks like:
“My daily routine depends on the time of year, but I either intern or work food service jobs — like waiting tables or banquet serving and set up. If I have some free time, I almost always spend it with friends over tea or coffee. During the semester, my busy work life is replaced with academics and usually a part-time job on the side. This upcoming semester I’ll be interning at DTE part-time in finance. So my every day will probably be a few hours of work, a few hours of studying and spending time around the house cooking and cleaning.”

Advice to new students:
“Join a student org. Student organizations helped me find people who were just as curious and motivated as me. The diversity in campus’ organizations helped me meet people and gave me an opportunity to share aspects of culture with others, such as food, poetry, dance and music. That way I can learn more about people who may be different from me and help answer any questions my peers have.”

Great hangout spots:
“The Mardigian Library is a classic spot. However, the university's scale makes it a little tricky to spend time on campus. Yemeni coffee houses in Dearborn are my guilty pleasure. Most of the day, there is a good chance you will find me there. A unique thing about Dearborn is that it is a foodie paradise, with options for people from different culinary backgrounds.”

Article by Rudra Mehta.