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International student plans to use Whitworth degree to heal hearts in home country

Catherine stands in the HUB. She looks to the right and smiles.Catherine Rishmawi, '18, is an international student from Palestine pursuing a degree in psychology at Whitworth.

"Whitworth's model of an education of mind and heart shows me I chose the right place," Rishmawi says.

Rishmawi plans to return to Palestine and work as a Christian counselor with an organization there. Going back with a B.A. from Whitworth will make Rishmawi the first resident of Bethlehem, Palestine, with a degree in psychology from a Christian university.

"I live in a country where war is a constant situation and everybody is traumatized by what they've experienced in life," Rishmawi says. "After going back, I will work with families from my church and community to combat some of that trauma."

Studying at Whitworth has been challenging as an international student, Rishmawi says, but the community of professors has helped her adapt well.

"Assistant Professor of World Languages & Culture Gregg Brekke has given me all the tools I need to succeed in class," Rishmawi says. "He has extended such wonderful support toward me during my first semester, which has been such a blessing because the American education system is so different than back home."

Beyond the classroom, Rishmawi says her immersion in the Whitworth community is also preparing her to accomplish her goals back home.

"Learning about the American culture and language have made me understand my own culture and language better," Rishmawi says. "Living in Palestine, everything was so limited and the books I wanted to read were always out of reach. Whitworth has fulfilled my thirst for knowledge and I am so thankful for that."