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In fall 2019, Duke University welcomed nearly 1,200 international graduate, professional and undergraduate students from more than 80 countries to the Durham campus. International students make up 11.5 percent of the university’s current freshman class.

One of these first-year students, Nour Kanaan, decided to apply to Duke after meeting DukeEngage students in Lebanon in summer 2017.

The Duke students were working with Palestinian refugees through the Unite Lebanon Youth Project, a nonprofit that offers educational programs to marginalized communities. Kanaan’s grandparents left Palestine for Lebanon as refugees in 1948.

During the DukeEngage program, Kanaan took an SAT course to help prepare her for the college entrance exam. She studied with Jake McCarthy, who is now a senior at Duke. From McCarthy and the DukeEngage SAT program, Kanaan says she first saw a glimpse of American education.

“It was only a period of eight weeks, and I felt so mature after that,” Kanaan says. “So I thought, ‘If eight weeks can give me so much, what could an education of four years give me?’”

She’s decided to focus on studying human nature during her time at the university, either through a major in psychology or neuroscience or a field she’s yet to explore. Her interactions with her DukeEngage tutor helped shape that goal.

Read more.


Credit to Amanda Solliday of the Duke Office of Global Affairs.