April 17, 2024

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

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A Fairfax County student’s journey that commenced in Afghanistan is concluding with options to advance his schooling at Northern Virginia Local community College.

Fearful that his kids had been in risk due to the fact he worked for the American navy, Eltaf Samim’s father insisted his relatives flee Afghanistan in 2015.

On a chilly night time, Samim’s mother begun packing and did not have time to solution queries. For the reason that the neighbors ended up informed of Samim’s father’s get the job done, the 5 little ones could have been simple kidnapping targets, he considered.



Samim had completed ninth quality by the time the loved ones remaining, but was often pissed off by the country’s training procedure. Teachers never treatment about talent, he mentioned, and several students consider to bribe academics right before exams to obtain a superior quality. He refused to give a trainer a gift for that rationale.

A journey that took Samim and his loved ones by means of Iran, Turkey, Macedonia, Austria and Germany ended in Fairfax County, Virginia, wherever Samim graduated from Mountain Watch Higher College in February. After heading as a result of seventh, eighth and ninth grades several instances in unique nations around the world, Samim programs to enroll at Northern Virginia Community College or university following securing quite a few scholarships.

“I hope that people today know that when you’re residing in a local community which is tranquil, it’s a blessing,” Samim explained. “When [there’s] peace, there’s relaxed minds, and when there is serene minds, there’s schooling, and you can find out stuff, and you can strengthen by yourself.”

Immediately after fleeing Afghanistan, Samim and his family members finished their trek in Germany, exactly where the lifestyle, atmosphere and language had been unfamiliar. Attending course in Germany was arduous, and Samim began in seventh quality, mainly because he enrolled without the need of his past transcripts. He struggled in most lessons, with the exception of English and math.

The teachers in Germany were being valuable, Samim mentioned, but urged him to solve every thing himself ahead of looking for help. He properly accomplished seventh grade but experienced to repeat eighth grade mainly because of his lingering struggles grasping the language.

Socializing during the five a long time he was in Germany was also hard, Samim reported, because of the language barrier. School staff members found he was typically by yourself and encouraged other learners to get to know him.

“I actually tried out my finest, I retained studying,” Samim claimed. “I truly required to finish university in Germany.”

Samim productively concluded eighth quality the next time, and went on to start large college. The concepts didn’t get easier, however, mainly because “it does not matter how very good German you know, but still there is a couple of text, there is a ton of matters that you cannot comprehend, that you have to use a translator.”

In the meantime, Samim’s father gained an e mail from the U.S. Embassy in Germany, asking whether he’d like to advance in the course of action to obtain a visa. He did, and Samim and his household arrived at Dulles Global Airport on March 31, 2021.

Upon arriving in Virginia, Samim was yet again apprehensive, questioning whether or not school in Fairfax County would resemble his encounters in Afghanistan or Germany. He took and passed entry tests, and at 20 many years outdated commenced attending Mountain Look at, an choice university in the county.

Mountain Check out Higher graduate Eltaf Samim.

The lecturers blew Samim away, and confirmed an curiosity in understanding additional about his background, he reported. He was most stunned by getting a laptop computer — it contrasted with his activities in Germany, where carrying publications all-around 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 alternatively of its June ceremony. With the help of Mountain Watch staff, Samim took summer months lessons and was capable to graduate in February. At 1 issue, finishing 50 outstanding economics assignments around a weekend was aspect of securing that achievement.

“In Afghanistan, most persons desire of schooling,” Samim reported. “Unfortunately, they are not able to carry on to their school since [of war]. The moment you go outside the house, you do not have any hope to occur back again alive.”

With graduation, which Samim describes as his best accomplishment to day, powering him, he’s now honing in on ending faculty, with aspirations to develop into an entrepreneur. In Afghan tradition, he reported, it’s prevalent for young ones to decide on a career path at a youthful age. But his mothers and fathers have offered him with guidance on how to gradually decide what will come next.

“[My father] usually explained to me, ‘I will function. It is your responsibility to research,’” Samim stated. “It is for the reason that without expertise, life is meaningless. Without having understanding, lifetime feels vacant and dark.”

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