The student news site of Pierce College in Lakewood, Washington.

Student Spotlight: Souriene Ben Jemaa

Tunisian international student has big plans for the marketing field

February 3, 2017

If there was one word to describe Soufiene, it would be ambitious. An easy-going beach lover, he has dreamed of coming to America since he was a boy. Now that he’s here, Soufiene Ben Jemaa is prepared to bring home vital communication skills for small Tunisian businesses.

Growing up in Tunisia, Jemaa was surrounded by tourist hubs and flourishing industries, but was met with limited innovation. “The education is really good, but creativity is low and my goal is to inspire the youth to execute their projects,” said Jemaa.

He is passionately proud of his home country Tunisia. “I lived on an island in Tunisia and is a flourishing country, large history. We have a lot of religious diversity, Islam, Judaism, Christianity. Muslims will go to Saudi Arabia, and the Jewish will come to Tunisia. We are very respectful of our differences.”

During his recent scholarship excursion in Washington D.C., Jemaa absorbed precious leadership skills, while engaging in a vital cross-cultural dialogue. “At the conference, we were working on small-term and long-term goals; discussing the future relationship between America and Tunisia, which actually goes back hundreds of years,” said Jemaa.

At the forefront of Tunisia’s economy lies a tourism empire, a market that is gradually growing interest. Behind the mechanisms of this industry is Jemaa’s future agency dream. “I want to market other people’s products like food, clothes, and grow small businesses.”

Soufiene Ben Jemaa’s dream grew from legend. From our music, to the fashion, Jemaa wanted to experience it for himself. “America was like a dream to me. It was extremely diverse with race, sexual orientation, and ethnicity. It was where I could start my professional techniques”

As relaxed as Soufiene was, he seemed a little wistful. “Over here, I am always busy. But in Tunisia there is more down time to relax, hang out with friends. I also miss my parents, my siblings, going to the beach with my friends, the food, and just speaking my own language.”

When Jemaa heard of Pierce’s international program, he signed up immediately. At first, he was nervous, very homesick, but overcome with a feeling of excitement. Upon arrival to Pierce College, he was welcomed with assistance and support from the international department faculty.

“People were helpful and open to advice, I adapted quite quickly to my environment. I learned how to communicate with my professors. The professors back at home would just do their work and I’d do mine. I took classes just to get them done. Now I learned more about what classes I actually enjoyed.”

Even while being away from all these things, Soufiene is thriving at school and at home. “I really like the way professors here teach. I know my country is working on developing that and how to make that happen. I’m gonna try, when I get back home, to talk with my university administrators, talk with professors on how to be closer to their students and how to be their first resource.”

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