Concordia St. Paul News

November 15, 2018

International Student Spotlight: Nada Abou Elnaga

Nada Abou Elnaga came to CSP from Alexandria, Egypt. A sophomore at Concordia, she is studying exercise science and plans to pursue physical therapy (PT) and graduate school following her undergrad. We asked Elnaga what her experience has been like as an international student in the United States, what called her to serve as a physical therapist, and what she values most about her time at CSP.

Q: When you were researching universities, what drew you to Concordia?

CSP student Nada Abou Elnaga

CSP student Nada Abou Elnaga is studying exercise science and plans to pursue her graduate degree in physical therapy. A former athlete who has dealt with injury, Elnaga was drawn to helping others who are dealing with injury and recovery.

A: The programs because I wanted to be a physical therapist (PT) from the beginning. I was searching PT graduate schools and I came across CSP by chance. I thought I had applied to Concordia in Canada where my brother attended as a swimmer. I planned to go to high school there. After I applied, I found out that CSP was in the United States and not in Canada! Katie Jabri was a factor that brought me here. My father emailed her and she was so helpful. We felt comfortable. My father told me he felt like he was the one coming to school!

Q: Why did you ultimately choose Concordia?

A: At the beginning, the main reason was the International Student Services (ISS) office. I’m a person that gets connected. During elementary and high school, I went to one school and it’s hard to leave a place. I love the place [CSP] and the atmosphere. CSP is a smaller school and I think that’s good. Professors are another factor and facilities on campus. I live in the dorms. Intramurals are good because I am a volleyball player and wanted to still play, so that’s been fun for me. I also love events on campus like “Spring Into Dance.”

Q: What made you want to pursue exercise science and, eventually, PT?

A: In middle school, I had surgeries on my knees, my wrist, and my thumb. I did a lot of physical therapy in my life so I felt like – if I’m the therapist, I feel like I’ve been through the same thing. I know these people have pain and they need to know how long it takes – especially for athletes – to return to sports. I feel like I need to help people reduce pain because I’ve been through the same exact situation.

Q: Tell us a little bit about your experience with classes at CSP.

A: Colleges in my hometown are different. Classes were a culture shock. In Egypt, we don’t have majors. If I wanted to be a dentist, I would go to a school for dentists. Everyone travels from basic classes to their specialized classes with the same group of people. And we don’t choose our classes – it’s stable for the first year. It’s all set and classes are already scheduled. At CSP, it was something new for me, of course.

Q: Share a favorite moment from your time here at CSP.

A: It’s from a volleyball event. It was an event for Tetra Delta and in the intramurals, we won first place! In Egypt, there are no sports teams for colleges and high schools – instead, there are clubs. Of course, we have games and all the same things.

Q: If you could give advice to an international student, what would it be?

A: Get the benefits of tutoring. The tutors are really helpful. Have a good relationship with your professors. Don’t be shy to ask questions.