stories from Turkey
"My name is Nassif, and I am from Hama, Syria. I am 22 years old. In Hama, I was studying dentistry in Baath University, but I could not complete my degree because I was arrested by the Syrian regime soldiers on March 20th, 2016 on the night of Mother's Day. I was tortured very badly, but after three months, I was released because my dad paid a very big amount to the officers. Then I left for Turkey in the same year and began to study Turkish. I tried very hard to find a way to study dentistry, but I was not accepted. My physical handicap was also always a challenge.
Now I have been accepted into Automotive Engineering at Cumhuriyet University in Sivas, Turkey. I am currently studying Turkish, which is going well. The people in this city are also great. My language studies will end July 2017. I love to study because I think it is the only path to rid one of their difficult hardships in life; it will also allow me to recognize my dreams that I was not able to in Syria because of the was that affected my and many other young people's future. My dream is to be a person who is successful in life and to help others recognize their dreams. I have helped many students in Turkey with their education by showing them how to apply to college.
Fun fact about me: I like films that talk about difficult diseases and the path for treatment."
"My name is Samah and I am from Aleppo, Syria, but I am currently a resident in Ottoman, Turkey. I decided to study Political Science and Public Administration when I witnessed the deficient politics in Syria after the revolution began; the erosion of politics over the decades resulted in tyranny and absence of political parties. During these trying times, we need people studying these fields. I hope to complete post graduate studies and specialize in international law and master multiple languages, and I want to be an advocate for girls in Syria.
Fun fact about me: My favorite book is Highlighted in Yellow: A Short Course In Living Wisely and Choosing Well by Jackson Brown."
"In Syria, I graduated at the top of my class in the 93rd percentile. I was at a special school for high-achieving students, and I had plans of becoming a scientist and conducting all kinds of scientific research. But then, I had to leave Syria. So I came to Turkey. Being in Turkey has been difficult, it is expensive to live here and I don’t have valid identification papers. But I’m grateful to opportunities that let me continue my studies. I’ve built a network here, and I’m able to work with other students and give them the information that I’ve gathered since being here. I’ve been able to continue pursuing science here, making use of Turkey’s global position by attending conferences. After I graduate, I plan to enroll in a PhD program to still make my dreams come true."
Yasmeen left Syrian three and a half years ago. Born and raised in Homs, she had to move to the outskirts of Damascus when the fighting got bad. While there, she stayed with her grandparents and extended family members who had also fled for safety. She would study in the cramped apartment, home to 15 people, for her baccalaureate (Syrian high school examination) in science. In 2014, she and her family had no choice but to flee to Turkey.
“When I got to Turkey, I was able to obtain a Libyan high school degree. But that wasn’t accepted by Turkish universities, and I had to take another exam, the YÖS (a Turkish entrance examination for those wishing to enroll in universities). Though the exam was difficult, I was able to pass. But I wasn’t accepted to any universities where my parents were living and I couldn’t leave home because we couldn’t afford it. If I didn’t have the scholarship from Karam Foundation, I would not have been able to enroll in a city away from home and I would not be able to study Industrial Engineering. Despite everything, I am hopeful. I know despite all the challenges, I will be able to graduate.”
Stories from Jordan
Anwar, a 20-year old from Homs, dreams of becoming an award-winning journalist. However, she has had to prioritize caring for her younger siblings. Her father was detained, and has been presumed dead, for the past three years. Her mother passed away shortly after, due to complications related to cancer. Her older brother, and his daughter, were killed by rocket fire in Aleppo. This lead to her becoming the head of the household.
Once in Jordan, she was able to start earning some money to support her family through freelancing for local newspapers. With this, she began realizing her passion for journalism. Karam is proud to support Anwar in her academic pursuit.
Rosol, a 24 year old, is pursuing pharmacy. Due to the deteriorating conditions, her family left Syria for Lebanon in an attempt to seek asylum. Unfortunately, while in Lebanon, her youngest sister was diagnosed with cancer and so her family turned to Jordan to receive treatment. While her sister was receiving treatment, Rosol applied, and was accepted, into a pharmacy program at a university in Jordan. In 2013, her sister passed away. Despite the hardships that she and her family have faced, Rosol has been able to maintain her grades and dreams of being able to help people with her degree.
Despite having to leave Syria in the middle of her final high school year, Asmaa, now 22, graduated the top of her high school class in Jordan with a tawjihi score of 90/100. When applying to universities, she had her choice of majors: pharmacy, biology, or math. She chose pharmacy and hasn’t regretted it since. She enjoys working with people, and learning about the chemical interactions in people’s bodies. In fact, her chemistry classes are currently her primary motivation for setting her sights on graduate school: she hopes to get her master’s upon graduating from Philadelphia University.
Marwa and her family left Syria in 2013. The situation in Damascus was worsening, and it was no longer safe for her and her siblings to go to school. Her family moved to Jordan, where she passed the Tawjihi exams with honors. A lover of science, she has chosen to study pharmacy. She is a hard-worker who dreams of work in a lab developing medicines.
When Bahilah’s family fled Dara’a in 2012, they thought they would be gone for at most a month. That month has now become 5 years. In Syria, she would have been just about to enroll in the science track baccalaureate. She tried to enroll in the tawjihi class in Jordan, but was forced to repeat the 11th grade. Currently, she’s studying pharmacy -- a dream she has had since childhood. She wants to use her degree to help people make sense of what doctors tell them.
In 2013, Eyad had to cut his studies at Aleppo University short. It was no longer safe for him to be there, and his family had long left Syria for Jordan. In Aleppo, he was studying mechanical engineering. Once he arrived in Jordan, he discovered that he could no longer afford to continue studying mechanical engineering. He did not give up on his dreams of studying, and eventually was able to enroll in a civil engineering program at Al Albait University. The University, unfortunately, did not accept his courses as a transfer and he was forced to start over again. Now, he studies and works to support his family. In the future, he hopes to use his civil engineering degree to better the world around him.
Stories from U.S.
Meet Amr, Philips Exeter, Summer 2016
"Having the chance to be enrolled in the summer program at one of the top boarding schools in the U.S. was an amazing eye-opening experience for me. The five weeks flew by really quickly because of how good of an experience it was on all levels. When I first arrived, I did not know anyone, I looked at the schedule and it was dinner time and as I was looking for the dining hall, I was approached by someone and before you knew it, we became good friends and we were also in the same dorm. That same night, we had our first dorm meeting, and by the end of it, I was friends with almost everyone in my dorm. Same thing with classes, I became really good friends with many people in my classes, but not only was it easy to meet new people there from all over the world, but also the academic level of my classes was beyond everything I've experienced before. Exeter has a very unique way of teaching, called the Harkness method. In which all the students and the teacher sit at a rounded table and discuss for 50 minutes. That way, you get to learn the subject from diverse perspectives which I believe is the best way to learn because you are always involved in class discussions. All the classes were very enjoyable and felt like they went by very quickly. And in the end of it after saying goodbye to all my teachers and friends, it did not feel like I was saying goodbye to friends but as if I was saying goodbye to family.
All of this would not have been possible without Karam Foundation, I would like to thank each and every single staff member at Karam for all the hard work they put for making our world a better place and also for giving me and the other Syrian students an unforgettable life-changing experience."
Meet Judy, Philips Exeter, Summer 2016
"Attending Philips Exeter Academy Summer School is one of the best experiences in my life. The Academy is located next to a historical downtown near a river surrounded by beautiful nature. During the five weeks that I spent at Exeter, I've learned many global issues, cultures, religions, languages, and countries which is a great opportunity to be surrounded by the beauty of diversity that has enlightened my path of thinking and broaden my horizon. Students sit around the oval-shaped Harkness Table sharing opinions and exchanging knowledge freely. It is a unique environment of education and interactions with fellow Exonians. I will always cherish in my heart the great memories, dorm life, sports, field days and the trips we took during the weekends.
I have been fortunate to meet many fascinating teachers and intellectually rich students from the world and the United States. The valuable things I gained out of Exeter are the friendships I brought with me back home. Philips Exeter Academy is a great place where you can bring the people in one spot building bridges that help to connect the world together. At Exeter, our differences bring us together."