Meet Jad Freyha, Monmouth ‘17, of Damascus, Syria. He was recently featured in an article by Monmouth in which he shared part of his journey in SigEp and how his brothers helped him find a place on campus. I interviewed him to learn more about his experience and how SigEp helped him transition to college and to life after college.
What are your plans for after college?
I plan to find a job and join the workforce in a technological department in a company/organization in the United States. My dream goal/job is to be an international representative of a technology company.
Prior to coming to the United States, what was your impression of Greek-lettered organizations?
I had the impression that it was a network of people bound by an organization of secrets and similar beliefs. My impression was rather grim, and it came mostly from the movie The Skulls, which gave me an intimidating, cult-like vibe about fraternities.
Once in the United States, what made you want to join a fraternity?
I was already in the United States, in a foreign land and a foreign campus. My comfort zone was thousands of miles away. I thought to myself, “Why not stretch it more?” I had heard that there is no harm from going to recruitment events and entered with the mindset “if I do not like what I am seeing, I can just walk away.” The reason why I went is that I wanted to broaden up my networking circle socially and professionally.
Why did you choose SigEp?
I chose SigEp for two reasons: the people, who were very welcoming and friendly, and the Balanced Man Program. The members were interesting people, each of them unique in his own way, but who were all genuinely interested in me as well. I saw in them the results of the Balanced Man Program, and I liked those results. I saw in the SigEps a bunch of guys who I wanted to call my mentors, friends and brothers. I sensed warmth from their genuinity. When I received my bid, I had no hesitation.
How has SigEp improved your college experience?
SigEp gave me a fast highway for adaptability. As a foreigner who knew English from classrooms and video games, I had a long list of idioms, metaphors, slang and pop culture that created a big barrier in conversations.
How has SigEp made it easier to be so far from home?
By living with my brothers on a daily basis, I had that barrier vanish in no time. After having a lot of funny memories about it, of course. Later on in undergraduate years, I realized that my leadership skills skyrocketed compared to the shy boy who came knocking on the red door in his freshman year. These skills echoed and affected various sides of my life.
What was your family’s reaction to you joining a fraternity?
My family had no idea what a fraternity was. Their initial image was an expensive club. My explanation to them about what SigEp is was quickly backed up by pictures from EDGE and Carlson Leadership Academy. Needless to say, they became big fans of our Fraternity.
What do you miss most about home?
Even though I have been reuniting with my parents and brother in different countries, I haven’t been home for almost four years. I miss my grandmother dearly as well as my childhood friends and my old bedroom. Sometimes, the small things that you dismiss nonchalantly in your everyday life are the ones that you miss the most when gone. My most effective way of coping with homesickness is covering the entirety of one of my bedroom walls with pictures of loved ones and special memories.
What do you enjoy most about living in the United States?
The freedom of speech; being able to express one’s self without the fear of persecution is a blessing. At first I thought having mailing services was backwards and odd. Soon after, I realized how reliable and useful it is. Online shopping, for instance, won my favor very rapidly. Nothing is ever as easy as spending money, and the United States is no exception.
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