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August 21, 2023

Recently I interviewed Atila, one of our new graduate students this year! Read on to find out more about her!

Atila with one of her dogs.

Tell us about yourself!

I am Zhihan Xu and you can call me Atila (my Arabic Name!). I come from China, and I finished my undergraduate studies in China and come here for postgraduate study. I like the natural scenery of North Carolina, the quiet and slow life, and the warm and friendly people here.

What program track did you choose in DAMES, and why?

I focus on Middle Eastern Studies now. I studied Arabic for four years during my undergraduate studies, and I hope to have a wider research space in my master’s degree instead of just learning the language. Also, Arabic history and culture fascinates me, and I hope to gain a deeper understanding of it.

What are you hoping to gain from your experiences here in DAMES and at UNC?

In the society I lived in in the past, I was always disciplined and asked to be obedient and hide my personality. I hope my life at UNC: 1. Increase my professional knowledge. 2. Improve my creativity. 3. Meet friends from different culture (it would be great if there is a friend who would love to hit the gym with me!). 4. Develop my hobbies. 5. Enjoy life.

For fun: what’s your favorite food, favorite animal, or favorite book?

I love all mammals, especially dogs. I keep three dogs in China and two of them are adopted. My parents and I love them soooooo much💗.

The family dogs and Atila!
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