In the month of August, 2014, Amal Alotaibi, from Rhiyad, Saudi Arabia, came to Los Angeles with dreams of attending law school in the United States. Having already received a law degree in Saudi Arabia, Amal was ready for the next challenge. “The United States’ law system is fascinating and the law degree here is beneficial to getting a job in Saudi Arabia… Having education here can help me amend the legal system at home.”
Amal wanted the opportunity to attend the best law school, and knew that the U.S. had several great universities. First, though, she wanted to improve her English and found that ELC was the best school for this. She enrolled in ELC’s TOEFL Preparation Program, and after a few weeks of hard work, took the test and awaited her results. Amal fondly recalls the moment when her results arrived sealed in an envelope as she was sitting in TOEFL class with teacher Brian Sullivan and her classmates: “I got the TOEFL score I needed and we all celebrated! Everyone was happy for me.”
Amal’s teachers describe her as hard-working, determined and amiable — it makes perfect sense that she is interested in Human Rights and International Law. Amal says, “I would like to open my own law firm and focus on divorcees and children who are abused.” In her country, Amal says, there is a lack of female lawyers. She explains her unique position: “some women prefer to talk to women because of the culture.” Amal feels she has a responsibility to “help other women and children who might not be as comfortable talking to a male lawyer.”
Amal was accepted to 9 out of 10 law schools she applied to and will be attending the University of California, Berkeley Law School in the Fall to pursue an LLM in International Law. “I will be the first lawyer in the family. I’m not following my dad’s footsteps of becoming a doctor!” Amal is excited (and a little nervous!) about starting, and hopes that her time at Berkeley is as enjoyable as her time at ELC.
Amal looks forward to living in San Francisco. “[It’s] a beautiful city… I never imagined that I would be living there.” As for her first impressions of Los Angeles, “it’s very hot! We don’t walk in the sun in Saudi. And the culture in Los Angeles is very friendly. I thought I would be picked on for wearing a hijab, but was relieved to find that people were accepting, laid back, and cool.” Amal’s favorite place in LA is the Third Street Promenade and Santa Monica Pier. “There’s always a nice, cool breeze, and there’s a lot of activities.” Amal also enjoyed the local cuisine: “I love Chipotle! I love Mexican food!” Spoken like a true LA local.
ELC is very proud of Amal and all that she has achieved thus far, and everything she will achieve in the future. We are thankful to have been a part of Amal’s journey. “The experience here was very enjoyable and I’ll be sad leaving and saying goodbye to all my teachers and the office staff.” We’ll miss you, too, Amal!
Her advice to ELC students: “dreams come true! People should work hard and if you want something, you have to work for it. No matter what people tell you, nothing is impossible.”