Humans of Northwood: Suhaib Hussein Ali ’22

I’m from Somaliland, it’s a country in East Africa. A lot of people confuse it as Somalia but the countries divided in 1991 as an independent state. Even though we come from similar backgrounds, ethnicity, language, religion, it’s a totally different country.

Where I’m from the culture and lifestyle are vastly different. In Somaliland, the popular traditions we have are pottery, music, wood carving, and architectural things. A lot of our arts and traditions are based on pre-Islamic mythology and Muslim beliefs.

Something that is completely different in Somaliland that may be a shock to many people is the number of siblings in a family, in our country the household is much large than the average US family. I have 9 siblings, and I am the youngest. Living in a house with 9 siblings can be a challenge sometimes as you can imagine, but it’s something normal where I’m from. And it was shocking for me when I came here because most people would have 1 or 2 siblings; sometimes not even any.

There has been a lot of cultural shocks coming here. For example, my first time experiencing snow. It wasn’t pleasant but I’ve gotten used to it. But moving here was great I was able to learn another language which is something I am really passionate about. Currently, I speak 4 languages, Arabic, English, Somali, and Hindi.

I moved to the United States and Northwood School so I could pursue my education and maximize my opportunities. I for sure miss my home, but experiencing a different culture and new lifestyle has been a good experience for me. I plan to attend college here in the US but I am excited to finally go see my family back in Somaliland during the summer.

As told to Jacob Shain ’22. Photo provided.


Story Archive

The Mirror was established in 1927
© 2015-2022 by the Staff of The Mirror
The Mirror's Policy Manual and Style Guide.
The Mirror is funded by gifts to the Northwood Fund. Thank you.

%d bloggers like this: