Amin Mokrivala

Citation
Amin Mokrivala

Material Information

Title:
Amin Mokrivala
Series Title:
USF 50th (2006) anniversary oral history project
Creator:
Mokrivala, Amin
Greenberg, Mark I
University of South Florida Libraries -- Florida Studies Center. -- Oral History Program
University of South Florida -- Tampa Library
Place of Publication:
Tampa, Fla
Publisher:
University of South Florida Tampa Library
Publication Date:
Language:
English
Physical Description:
1 sound file (49 min.) : digital, MPEG4 file + ;

Subjects

Subjects / Keywords:
Students, Foreign ( lcsh )
Tehran (Iran) ( lcsh )
Genre:
Oral history. ( local )
Online audio. ( local )
interview ( marcgt )
Oral history ( local )
Online audio ( local )

Notes

Summary:
Amin Mokrivala, a native of Tehran, Iran and USF Alumni, discusses his emigration to the United States in 2000 and his subsequent years as a student on the Tampa campus.
Venue:
Interview conducted April 12, 2004.
System Details:
Mode of access: World Wide Web.
Statement of Responsibility:
interviewed by Mark I. Greenberg.

Record Information

Source Institution:
University of South Florida Library
Holding Location:
University of South Florida
Rights Management:
All applicable rights reserved by the source institution and holding location.
Resource Identifier:
029140185 ( ALEPH )
262479809 ( OCLC )
U23-00178 ( USFLDC DOI )
u23.178 ( USFLDC Handle )

Postcard Information

Format:
Audio

Downloads

This item has the following downloads:


Full Text
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USF 50th (2006) anniversary oral history project
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Interview conducted April 12, 2004.
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Amin Mokrivala, a native of Tehran, Iran and USF Alumni, discusses his emigration to the United States in 2000 and his subsequent years as a student on the Tampa campus.
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segment idx 0time text length 18 Growing up in Iran
2606 Mr. Mokrivala grew up in Tehran, Iran, where he lived until 2000, when he moved to the United States at the age of twenty. He recalls his years in Iran favorably, where he had the opportunity to attend some of the best schools in the entire country. When he graduated from secondary school, he took an entrance exam for advancement to the university level, scoring within the top tenth percentile. He studied mechanical engineering for one year at the university. Soon after he decided that, "It wasn't really my thing ... I was thinking about coming [to the United States] ... so I just decided to come."
315 English courses
5412 He began taking English classes in Iran during middle school, and his learning was facilitated by the fact that both of his parents were able to speak the language fluently. In addition to outside language instruction, he continued studying English throughout his high school and into his college years. He had to pass a language competency examination in English before being admitted to an American university.
6College in Iran
8397 He remembers the transition from high school to college being particularly difficult for him, and he quickly became disinterested in his own studies of mechanical engineering. Because admittance to an Iranian university was dependent upon a specific major, students do not have the option of changing their studies after beginning a program. "You got in, and that's it, you're going to finish it."
916 Move to the U.S.
10908 When he made the decision to leave the country, Mr. Mokrivala was determined to go to the United States. "I'm not one of those people to actually move and just go find my way. I'd actually rather settle and do what I am doing right now. I did not really consider going to any country but the U.S." He chose to migrate to the United States in part because it was a dream shared by his family, and things have been particularly difficult in Iran since the revolution twenty-five years ago. An established migration network also eased the transition from one culture to another. "There is a huge Persian community ... around the U.S., so everybody knows what's going on, everybody sees how successful people are ... when they get here. Everyone wants to eventually get here because of education most of all." Also, he says the freedom and the lifestyle as important attractions to people migrating from Iran.
1131 Iranian perceptions of the U.S.
12372 Mr. Mokrivala asserts that there is a favorable sentiment among Iranians towards the United States, reminiscent of the valuable exchanges between the two cultures since before the Shah's rise to power. While there may have been some hostilities surfacing in recent years as a result of world affairs, "I have never seen a hatred towards America ... especially the people."
1317 Enrollment at USF
15569 Although many Iranians migrate to California, where there is a substantial ethnic community, Mokrivala chose instead to come to South Florida where his father had found work. "It actually went very smoothly ... I figured this was the best school in this area and at that point I didn't want to leave [my family]." Initially, he began his classes on the St. Petersburg campus, and was not at all aware of any significant Muslim presence at the University. "When I began taking classes [in Tampa], I was very surprised and excited ... I started meeting all these people."
16Coursework
18312 During his first year, Mr. Mokrivala took a number of "extra classes" to explore other areas of interest. After considering his options, he settled on industrial engineering, which he is "very happily" studying at the University of South Florida's Tampa campus. He is scheduled to graduate from USF in two weeks.
1923 Effects of September 11
21662 He recalls that the events of September 11, 2001, "did not really change the way that I was treated on campus ... the people are not hostile to me ... but, it definitely changed the way I felt ... I just [felt] betrayed ... [by] those people who did this ... they just made life much more difficult and horrible ... mostly for the Muslims." He particularly regrets the loss of freedom that came as a result of the tragic events. "This country was built on freedom of speech, freedom of expression, and sometimes it's a very fine line ... in the name of security, many freedoms are being taken away, or people are afraid of talking or doing what they believe in."
22Citizenship plans
24330 If everything goes as planned, Mr. Mokrivala hopes to be an American citizen soon. Though he has not had any problems personally, he recalls that, "I've heard a lot of stories about different people, especially from Arab countries, that ... got deported, or they had to quit school and go back ... It didn't affect me personally."
2512 Persian Club
27770 The Iranian student organization on campus to which Mokrivala belongs is called the Persian Club, so named because the term "Persia" refers back to a historical empire that encompassed modern-day Iran and the surrounding region. Though the club was established years ago, it was inactive for some time, and has only recently been revived. "It's just getting bigger and bigger every day now, which is actually a very good thing I think." One of the primary missions of the Club is to interact with the USF and greater Tampa Bay communities, educating them on the Iranian culture and language. The Persian Club is primarily a social organization, and does not get involved in political or religious discussions or activities. "This is the culture that we are celebrating."
2820 Al-Arian controversy
30438 While controversy swelled around the case of Dr. Sami Al-Arian, Muslim students on campus struggled alongside everyone else to understand the circumstances surrounding the case. "If he is not guilty of anything, I hope he will be released and his name will be cleared. But if he is guilty, he better be going to jail and facing justice ... I feel really sorry for [his family] and I hope that I can help as a Muslim and as a human being."
31334 "There are a lot of speculations ... especially in the [Muslim] community because they're religious and political ... I would say it did affect them ... they are trying to get this man cleared of all these charges, and then he gets detained ... that period is the hardest period to deal with ... there is not much going on anymore."
3227 Extracurricular involvement
34343 Mr. Mokrivala is also involved in the Honor's Society on campus, where he served as Treasurer for two years. They chapter won the distinction as the national leader among 175 other chapters around the country. He is currently the President of the Human Factors and Ergonomics Society, "which is like a little society for industrial engineers."
35211 After four years at USF, he recalls his experiences favorably, noting that his years here were, despite the lack of name recognition, "better than I thought they would be ... I got a great education, I believe."
3634 Suggestions for improvement at USF
38369 One criticism that he has of USF is that there are not enough places on campus for socialization. "There are all these very nice buildings, in a beautiful city ... but there are like two benches in front of the library." One of the problems they had in the Persian Club initially was where to hold their meetings because of the limited social space available on campus.
396 Sports
41325 Although soccer is not as big a sport in the U.S. as it is in Iran, Mr. Mokrivala quickly found friends with whom he could play. "And then I started learning football, which I am very interested in right now ... I am ... a big fan for the Buccaneers and also for the Bulls, and I went to a couple of games ... it's been fun."
4219 Living arrangements
44246 Since his father lived in Clearwater, Mokrivala chose to live with him and commute to the USF campus over the years. "It's long and sometimes very hard, but ... I got used to it. I have about a forty-five minute commute each way on a good day."
45228 His younger brother is now in the final stages of processing his visa, and hopes to make the move from Iran to the United States sometime in the near future. "I'm very happy right now, so I definitely encourage him to come too."
4621 Best and worst of USF
47595 One of the greatest parts of USF, in his opinion is the atmosphere. "I like the student community here ... the faculty ... it's very open ... I could [study] whatever I wanted to ... and there [are] a lot of resources available, because this is a huge school ... there are so many people here." Ranking near the bottom of the list, Mr. Mokrivala is often frustrated with the administrative bureaucracy at the school. "It needs definitely to be worked on ... it's growing ... it's getting better ... It's not about just getting more students here we have to give them a quality education back."
48End of Interview
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