Majed Al Harbi (Hankuk University of Foreign Studies, 1) is a student as well as an employee of one of the biggest oil companies in the world, Saudi Aramco. Accepted to Saudi Aramco as its youngest employee and with the highest high school grades, Al Harbi was given an opportunity to be sent abroad to finish his college education. He chose Korea without hesitation.
Al Harbi said, “Korea achieved rapid economic growth in twenty years. The country showed its power during the 2002 World Cup in Korea and Japan, and most of all, I was attracted by the Korean language,” said Al Harbi.
In Saudi Arabia, Al Harbi graduated from a science high school as a valedictorian. He then applied to medical school because his parents wanted him to become a doctor with a prospective future. However, Al Harbi soon applied to Saudi Aramco. “I have always wanted to be an oil marketer. I could not imagine myself in any other position. It scared me that I would have to live with a job that I do not want,” said Al Harbi. At first, his parents disagreed with him, hoping he would have a more lucrative job as a doctor, but finally they accepted Al Harbi’s plan to become an oil marketer in the future.
Saudi Aramco, the state-owned oil company located in Saudi Arabia, hires up to 60,000 engineers. Every year, the company sends about 250 students who graduated high school with high grades to other countries for further education. Despite the fact that everyone suggested he to go other countries like the U.S. or Australia, Al Harbi firmly made up his mind and stated to come to Korea.
“Korea is a magnificent and wonderful place. It always amazes me how a country can be so busy and culturally unique,” said Al Harbi. He has been admitted to the Hankuk University of Foreign Studies (HUFS) and he says that students here are friendlier than those in Saudi Arabia. “They have more active clubs here so that everybody in the club can be friends regardless of their majors. But sometimes, they tend to be a little prejudiced. “It really hurts when someone calls me a terrorist or a member of Taliban just because of my appearances,” he added,
As a student who wants to be the future CEO of Saudi Aramco, Al Harbi also has a dream of becoming the first president of the student council for foreign students in HUFS. “Currently, there are many foreign students who attend HUFS, but a student council does not exist for foreign students, I would like to create a student council for the foreigners to attend school more comfortably,” he said. To achieve this dream, Al Harbi is currently trying to make more friends in the school to broaden his network.
As a freshman, Al Harbi studies Business Management during the day and spends the time left over reviewing what he learned in high school about oil and other science subjects. “It is never an easy task to be a student and an employee at the same time. I may be just a student now, but I also have responsibilities as an employee to continuously conduct research and brainstorm,” he said.
Since Al Harbi studies and works for the company, the company gives him a salary and scholarship. Still, twenty four hours is too short for Al Harbi who has many dreams to fulfill. “I have greater responsibility living both as a student and a worker. But, being in Korea with the new Korean friends I made here helps me to overcome all the hardships and step closer to what I want to achieve.”