Syrian Refugee impacts student’s life

By Emily Janny
May 12, 2017

This year I met someone who is from the city of Aleppo. He is studying water engineering at Villanova University. He was one of the most humble people I have ever met.  I got the opportunity to spend the day with him in Philadelphia going to the Doctors without Borders exhibit.  I met him once before briefly, but this time was different. I went through a simulation called Forced from Home.  The was a simulation based on his life story.  It told the story of people fleeing their home countries and one of those was Syria.  

This man actually went through what they are demonstrating.  It opened my eyes unlike no other.  I think that was the moment it finally clicked for me.  After seeing how he reacted to what they were saying and how true it was, truly scared me.  This was someone that I got to know and was such a good person and to see that he went through something similar to this really put it into perspective.  He continued to open up to myself and my friend.  

The advice I received earlier was from this person’s sister.  He let us into his family.  He did not have to do this but because we earned his trust he let us meet his mother and sister.  Miray is his sister.  

My friend and I had the opportunity to video chat with them for about two hours.  They spoke to us about everything.  When I mean everything they told us every detail.  They gave us the reason to leave the rest of their family.  The shared with us how awful the journey across the sea was.  They shared with us their four hour struggle to find shelter. They shared with us how they were pent up in a jail for three days with barely any food and water.

I have studied Syrian Refugees for over three years. The fact that I was blessed with an opportunity to sit down and speak with one was the best experience I have had.

Not many people have the chance to say that they wrote about a personal experience of a Syrian refugee.  This article wasn’t just some boring old fact based article. This was a refugee being able to tell her own story. 

I am just truly at a loss of words for how this has impacted my life.

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Emily Janny

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