Salahaldeen Duraibi graduated with his PhD in computer science from the University of Idaho in May 2021 and came by to visit EMU's Intensive English Program afterwards to thank the instructors and staff, bringing with him a celebratory cake. Duraibi was on his way back to his native Saudi Arabia to begin a position as professor of computer science at Jazan University. (Courtesy photos)

Computer science professor makes return visit to thank Intensive English Program

In spring 2021, Salahaldeen Duraibi stopped by to visit with his former instructors in the Intensive English Program at Eastern Mennonite University. He was on his way home to Saudi Arabia to start a new position as assistant professor at Jazan University, one of the largest public universities in the country. 

“The IEP environment was great, with very professional teachers,” he said. “Everything I have now is because of IEP.”

Last a student at IEP in 2013-14, Duraibi moved on to earn two graduate degrees in computer science while experiencing life and culture in two different regions of the United States. He attended Kentucky State University to earn a master’s degree and then in fall 2016, started the doctoral program at University of Idaho. He graduated in May 2021.

Instructor Steve Shenk said Duraibi’s visit was rare in all his years of teaching at IEP. “It’s not unusual to hear from former students who thank us for helping them improve their English so they can get into an American college or get a better job,” he said. “But it’s a little unusual for someone to make a special trip to Harrisonburg for the sole purpose of delivering a thank-you cake with IEP’s name on it!”

During his visit, Duraibi also met with current students and encouraged them to continue their studies.

The IEP program consists of 20 hours of instruction each week, with students entering and moving through six levels. In a typical semester, IEP has about 60-80 students representing between 15 and 20 different countries. Students interact with their classmates and instructors and also benefit from experiencing the life and culture of a North American university. They can take undergraduate or graduate courses as well. 

Classes for spring semester begin in January. Testing and registration are Jan. 5, 2022 and classes are from Jan. 12-April 27.

For more information about the Intensive English Program at EMU, visit

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