In a wonderful human story of children’s encounters with mothers, Saudi scholarship recipient Rima Al-Howaish and her son won wide praise in the United States, especially since they obtained two scientific degrees on the same day, in the same specialty, and from the same university. Dr. Al-Howaish is the first Saudi woman to obtain this scientific degree.
Concerning the story of her son’s scholarship, Al-Howaish said in an interview with Al-Arabiya Net, “I am a faculty member at King Abdulaziz University in the Department of Psychology, and I worked in the field of education for years as a teacher for the elementary grades at the elementary level. Then I worked in educational supervision, and after that, I was internally sent to obtain a master’s degree at Umm Al-Qura University. I specialize in counseling in exchange for my love for this specialization. After that, I taught at King Abdul Aziz University, and then I was sent through the university and traveled to America. My son Abdul Rahman was 14 years old and studied in America, and it was the grace of God and then the grace of this country, which included children in the scholarship program.
Al-Howaish noted that Abd al-Rahman was with her in the United States, and the plan was to go to study in Poland in the field of medicine, but when the ministry refused that, he decided to complete his studies in America. But he was not comfortable in his specialization, so he was encouraged to study in a specialty he loves and to choose what he likes so as to excel in his work.
She continued, “My son decided to transfer to the major of psychology, and his feelings came to life. He found honor and appreciation by the attaché for his excellence, and praise is to God that he was able to complete his studies at the university in which I was studying, so God chose me to be with my son in the same university.”
“During the search for Ph.D. admission, my friend informed me about a department at the university called Counselor Education and Supervision, in which the focus is on how to teach a psychological counselor to be a therapist, which is a wonderful specialty and falls under the Department of Counseling and Human Services; its approach is all psychology. Then I obtained admission to three universities, and at the last minute, I enrolled at Saint Mary’s University, where I completed my studies in San Antonio, Texas,” she added.
Al-Howaish indicated that the scholarship experience is a great mixture of pain, suffering, steadfastness, and effort, with little pleasure, and one of the most important obstacles is homework, which she does not like while she is constantly busy with studies.
Because she specialized in psychotherapy, she plunged deep into American society, saw many experiences, cultures, and values, and heard strange and painful stories. Despite her being accustomed to traveling and interacting with different peoples, this experience exposed her to hidden aspects that she did not know.
She concluded that this experience was a success, praise be to God, and she was able to fulfill her dream and have her graduation with her son on the same day. It is a surprise that she had never expected.