June 3, 2023


sights and trips

How a Fairfax Co. student’s journey took him from Afghanistan to Northern Virginia Community College

A Fairfax County student’s journey that begun in Afghanistan is concluding with ideas to advance his education at Northern Virginia Neighborhood University.

Fearful that his children ended up in threat because he worked for the American military services, Eltaf Samim’s father insisted his family members flee Afghanistan in 2015.

On a cold night, Samim’s mom began packing and didn’t have time to reply concerns. Simply because the neighbors had been mindful of Samim’s father’s function, the five kids may have been straightforward kidnapping targets, he believed.

Samim experienced concluded ninth grade by the time the relatives remaining, but was generally frustrated by the country’s instruction procedure. Teachers really do not care about expertise, he explained, and numerous learners test to bribe academics ahead of exams to obtain a excellent grade. He refused to give a teacher a reward for that motive.

A journey that took Samim and his family by way of Iran, Turkey, Macedonia, Austria and Germany ended in Fairfax County, Virginia, exactly where Samim graduated from Mountain Watch Substantial University in February. After going through seventh, eighth and ninth grades a number of moments in diverse nations around the world, Samim ideas to enroll at Northern Virginia Community School after securing numerous scholarships.

“I hope that persons recognize that when you’re living in a community which is peaceful, it’s a blessing,” Samim stated. “When [there’s] peace, there is tranquil minds, and when there’s calm minds, there’s schooling, and you can learn things, and you can enhance oneself.”

Right after fleeing Afghanistan, Samim and his loved ones ended their trek in Germany, in which the culture, ambiance and language have been unfamiliar. Attending class in Germany was rigorous, and Samim started out in seventh grade, because he enrolled without the need of his former transcripts. He struggled in most classes, with the exception of English and math.

The teachers in Germany had been practical, Samim claimed, but urged him to fix everything himself before trying to get support. He efficiently finished seventh grade but had to repeat eighth quality simply because of his lingering struggles greedy the language.

Socializing in the course of the five several years he was in Germany was also challenging, Samim explained, because of the language barrier. School staff members recognized he was often on your own and encouraged other students to get to know him.

“I seriously attempted my very best, I stored finding out,” Samim explained. “I definitely needed to complete university in Germany.”

Samim efficiently finished eighth grade the next time, and went on to begin higher university. The ideas didn’t get much easier, while, for the reason that “it doesn’t subject how excellent German you know, but even now there’s a couple text, there is a lot of matters that you are unable to have an understanding of, that you have to use a translator.”

Meanwhile, Samim’s father received an e mail from the U.S. Embassy in Germany, asking whether he’d like to advance in the method to get hold of a visa. He did, and Samim and his relatives arrived at Dulles International Airport on March 31, 2021.

On arriving in Virginia, Samim was once again apprehensive, pondering whether or not university in Fairfax County would resemble his ordeals in Afghanistan or Germany. He took and handed entry exams, and at 20 a long time outdated started attending Mountain View, an substitute faculty in the county.

Mountain Perspective Higher graduate Eltaf Samim.

The teachers blew Samim absent, and showed an fascination in learning more about his history, he claimed. He was most surprised by obtaining a notebook — it contrasted with his ordeals in Germany, where carrying guides all over was the norm.

He frequently wrote for the Mountain Check out Mirror, the college newspaper, and inquired about what he had to do to take part in the school’s February graduation as an alternative of its June ceremony. With the aid of Mountain Check out staff, Samim took summer lessons and was ready to graduate in February. At 1 level, completing 50 excellent economics assignments in excess of a weekend was component of securing that achievement.

“In Afghanistan, most people today desire of schooling,” Samim said. “Unfortunately, they simply cannot continue on to their faculty due to the fact [of war]. As soon as you go outside the house, you do not have any hope to come back alive.”

With graduation, which Samim describes as his top accomplishment to date, powering him, he’s now honing in on finishing college or university, with aspirations to turn into an entrepreneur. In Afghan culture, he mentioned, it’s widespread for kids to opt for a job route at a youthful age. But his mom and dad have furnished him with direction on how to gradually decide what comes up coming.

“[My father] usually advised me, ‘I will perform. It is your duty to analyze,’” Samim reported. “It is mainly because with no information, existence is meaningless. Devoid of knowledge, lifestyle feels empty and dark.”