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The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

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Texas A&M outfielder Jace Laviolette (17) robs a home run from Florida infielder Cade Kurland (4) in the top of the ninth inning during Texas A&M’s game against Florida at the NCAA Men’s College World Series at Charles Schwab Field in Omaha, Nebraska on Sunday, June 15, 2024. (Hannah Harrison/The Battalion)
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Meeting an international Aggie

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Photo by Photo by Jenny Hollowell

Rayan Forzali is an electrical engineering junior from Ivory Coast.

Rayan Forzali, junior electrical engineering major from West Africa came to America to attend college. Forzali grew up in the capital city of Ivory Coast, Abidjan.
The school that Forzali attended in West Africa uses the French school system. According to Forzali, he and his classmates weren’t allowed to choose their own classes.
“You stay with the same people in all of your classes all four years,” Forzali said. “You kind of become a family. I feel like it is a lot easier to make friends over there then here. [For] we are in school from 7:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m., to 6:00 p.m.”
Forzali says another big difference between school in America and school in Abidjan is that the students have to take a test at the end of senior year and pass it with a high grade in order to graduate. It is called the Baccalauréat, which is the equivalent of a high school diploma here in America.
“They give you an exam that takes all week long, and is comprehensive of all of those fields that you studied,” Forzali said.
When Forzali was 18 he moved to the United States to live with his uncle in Austin, Texas. He moved to the United States to go to college because he wanted to experience different cultures and explore the area.
Forzali said he was drawn to Texas for the rumored hospitality that preceded the state.
“The South is a lot friendlier than the North and that is why I wanted to come to Texas.”
Forzali’s first language is French, but he began learning English early on prior to coming to the United States. When he arrived, he took three months of classes through the TIEP, the Texas Intensive English Program, to brush up on his English, and then took classes at Austin Community College before transferring.
When he came to Texas he was looking at both The University of Texas and Texas A&M University. He chose A&M because he wanted to take a different route than his brother.
“My brother graduated from UT and so I wanted to do something different,” Forzali said. “[A&M] also [has] a quality bachelor’s degree for engineering.”
When Forzali transferred to A&M he immediately became involved with ISMA, the International Student Mentors Association. He met his mentor Alexander Tabary, ocean engineering senior, who helped him in his transition to A&M.
“I didn’t have a car when I first got here, and every two to three weeks we would have events together [through ISMA] and go on road trips, and [Tabary] took me to all of those,” Forzali said. “I met a lot of friends through the ISMA.”
Forzali is also a member of the IEEE, Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers, and plans on joining the SEC, Student Engineers’ Council. As far as his future plans, Forzali would like to work for an engineering company in Japan.
“The field I’m not sure yet, but they are the most advanced country in engineering, and that is a dream for electrical engineers,” Forzali said. “I also love their culture. I would like to one day learn Japanese as well.”
When Forzali is not doing homework or participating in one of the many student organizations that A&M has to offer, he is playing soccer on the fields or hanging out at the Rec Center.
“I like [A&M] a lot,” Forzali said. “It is a small town and nice campus. I have really enjoyed it.”
Forzali said an important part of his experience in coming to A&M was being able to learn about the different cultures and share some about his own.
“There are a lot of international students in the school right now, join some international organizations and see the other cultures that are around you,” Forzali said. “I want them to go and discover all those cultures, travel and discover new people and new places. Go outside and see what is out there.”

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