Far from home, Iranian student never forgets her roots
Home: Mashhad, Iran
Major: Electrical engineering
Hobbies: Cooking, shopping and watching movies
Favorite custom: Iranians highly respect their teachers; they will stand up and greet their professors unlike in the U.S. They will also greet older people in the group. listen
It’s a Monday morning at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln’s Scott Engineering Center, and Elham Forzun, 27, is busy teaching her students in the circuit lab.
The electrical engineering doctoral student from Iran has had a strong passion for mathematics since she was young. She decided to pursue engineering as a career while pursuing her bachelor’s degree in her hometown at the Ferdowski University of Mashhad.
Forzun, who was married two years ago in Iran, accompanied her husband to UNL to complete their graduate studies in engineering. They met in an English class and married after a year of courtship.
When she arrived in the United States, Forzun was pleasantly surprised at the similarities between her home country and the U.S., but she noted that cultural values differ.
“People in the U.S. relatively have an easier life because they can do whatever they want, but in Iran, most people do what others want,” she said.
Growing up as the middle child in a family of five, she is very close to her family and calls home almost every day to update her parents, who are now retired.
Born a Muslim, Forzun was brought up in a religious, yet young and accepting family where her strong faith for Islam was cultivated.
“Even though I miss home, I believe strongly that my faith will take me whenever I need to go.”
Whenever she gets homesick, Forzun cooks traditional Iranian dishes but admitted that they are unlike her mother’s cooking. Her favorite traditional food is shole zard, also known as saffron rice pudding that is hand made by her mother.
Now in her second year of pursuing her PhD and far from home, Forzun never forgets her country’s customs.
She said that one of her favorite Iranian traditions are the dances at parties where people often celebrate the occasion until late night.
“You can go outside after midnight or even at two in the morning and the lights are still on,” she said. “The city is alive.”