A week ago, four undergraduate students from Syria graduated from Illinios Tech as part of the Syrian student initiative launched with Jusoor and IIE in July 2012.
Below are the writing and reflections of one of the students, Nour Daoud.
On September 1, 2012, I said goodbye to my family to take my flight to the US. It was my first flight ever. I was transferring to Illinois Institute of Technology from my beloved mother country, Syria. I wasn’t sure what the future had for me. I was so determined to continue my education that it never occurred to me to worry about the course work in the US. I just knew that my only option was to succeed. I was only worried about getting lost in Abu Dhabi and missing my connecting flight, considering my non-existing sense of direction. I had a bring- it-on attitude towards life and was ready for whatever was coming.
Almost 19 months later, so much has happened! I interviewed and earned an an internship at Goldman Sachs for Summer 2013; applied for and received a RISE (Research in Science and Engineering) fellowship in Germany; developed friendships with students from throughout Chicago and from all over the world – many of whom I know will be life-long friends and colleagues.
I have lived the international experience, and last but not least, I GRADUATED!
I cannot begin to describe how happy I am to be among one of the first four Syrians to graduate under the IIT-Jusoor scholarship with high academic achievements. I have definitely changed a lot during the last two years broadening and deepening my perspective of the world in all of its diversity, and complexity. I still have a great deal to learn and explore about myself and my place in this world – as well as my contributions and service – but it definitely feels awesome to have that BSc degree while doing that
None of this would have been possible without the help of Illinois Tech and Jusoor. The way they cooperated is beyond inspiring. We will be forever thankful for IIT’s effort to help students from countries of conflict, and Jusoor’s effort to help Syrians of all ages to continue their education and build their dreams wherever they find themselves in the world.
I cannot begin to describe how thankful I am for my beloved country, Syria; I am grateful for the outstanding teachers that taught me and for fifteen years of free quality education that shaped who I am today.
What’s going on in my country breaks my heart – every moment of everyday. I know that I cannot stop the conflict, but I’m going to join it with my own weapon: Education! Along with a fundamental belief in the contributions of research and applied service to one’s community.
With so many Syrians losing their chance at education, it’s our responsibility as Syrians to help each other as much as we can. Let’s bring the smiles back to our Syria and guarantee a better future, one educated Syrian at a time.
This post originally appeared at SyrianFuture.wordpress.com