Are you scared to go to and study in a non-muslim country because you think you will lose your identity as a muslim? Some muslim students may naively answer “Yes” to this question. Because they think that they will live in a totally different kind of world that may not be very friendly to them when they reside and study in a non-muslim country. That sounds logical if they do not have any knowledge at all about the country that they will visit. They may wonder if they can still eat rice, vegetables, and fruit that they are familiar with during their stay in the intended country. And the most serious question that they may ask themselves is: Can I still be a practicing muslim in a non muslim country? This question may tickle the mind of many muslim students who are about to go to and study in a non-muslim country. The answer to that question actually lies in yourself. You can be a practicing muslim wherever you are if you intend to be one. There is no one who can force you to be or not to be a practicing muslim. Being a practicing muslim requires discipline. If you can impose self-discipline on yourself, you can be a practicing muslim wherever you are.
The most difficult problem to a practicing muslim traveling in a non muslim country relates to the scarcity of halal food, the food which muslims are allowed to eat. Practicing muslims may not eat food which is not halal according to Islamic rules. As for halal food, you can easily obtain it if you live in a city where there is a muslim community. When there is a muslim community, usually there is a halal meat store where you can buy halal meat or halal chicken. If there is not any halal store, a nearby mosque usually provides muslim community with supply of halal meat and halal chicken purchased from the nearest halal food supplier. In Washington, D.C. and neighboring States of Virginia and Maryland you can find many halal meat and grocery stores. This is an advantage of living in a big city for international muslim students.
If you go to a university with a big number of muslim students, usually you will find an Islamic Center where muslim students gather to do daily prayers or on Friday for Friday Praying. This center is usually equipped with a small library providing many copies of the Holy Book of Al Qur’an and other Islamic books and library materials. There are two very familiar places to practicing muslim students on campus, namely a University Library and an Islamic Center. As a muslim student, I did not have any difficulty in fulfilling the obligations of my religion during my college years at the Catholic University of America in Washington, D.C. We had a muslim students’ association and were allowed to use a special room to do our prayers. In conclusion, I can say that it is not the place but yourself that determine whether or not you want to remain a practicing muslim.