Ahmad Ismail, Class of 2019
What are your best memories about being born and raised in Syria?
My family and all the good times we spent together, how inexpensive everything was, the good food I used to eat, the beautiful weather at each time of the year, and how loving and caring everyone was.
What do you miss the most?
All my family that was there. How we used to spend every weekend together. I miss going out and visiting my relatives all around Syria, in Aleppo and Latakia. I miss the old shops there, too, and how everything in these shops was made and crafted in Syria.
What about Syrian culture makes you most proud?
That we had everything we needed. Factories that produced all our goods, and farms that produced all our fruits and vegetables. So basically we were independent, and we used what we made without the need of any outside sources.
Why did you choose to come to the US to study?
Because the US is one of the most developed countries in the world. In addition to that, the degree that I am going to get will be strong and accepted throughout the world.
What challenges did you face while traveling here?
I was living in Qatar, so it was easy for me to get here.
What were your preconceived notions about Americans before you came here and how have they changed?
I thought that Americans would all be racist to Arabs or to Muslims. However, I was completely wrong, they are the most helpful with what is good for people. The like to follow rules and do what is right and help anyone in need.
How does it feel to be a Syrian student at UE in 2016?
Awesome. Everybody is loving and supportive here! It feels like home.
Have you experienced any positive or negative feedback here on campus or in Evansville?
I was surprised that everyone here on campus wasn’t racist (as I thought they would be). They are helpful in every way possible. They asked a lot about what happened in Syria and they showed a lot of empathy when I told them what is going on.
What are the scariest, greatest, and most difficult things about living in the U.S.?
The only fear I had before coming here is that I would meet racist people who would judge me for my race. However, people here are friendly and I like being here.
Can you tell us about a life changing experience that happened to you in the U.S.?
One of the life changing experiences I have had here in the US is meeting many people from many different nationalities, learning how they think and getting to know their culture, which is way different from mine.
Can you tell us about a life changing experience that happened to you in Syria?
I left Syria at the age of 13, so I hadn’t have the chance to have any experience in Syria. The only thing I had is that I was in an international school and learned how to speak English fluently which helped me a lot here in America!
Does your family still live in Syria?
My immediate family lives with me in Qatar.
What words come to mind when you think about Syria’s civil war?
Savage, brutal, and merciless.
In your opinion, what is the solution to the current political crisis and where do you see Syria ten years from now?
The only solution I can think of is to stop helping each side in Syria. I wish that all countries that are paying money to any side in Syria to stop. The only people affected by these acts are civilians.
Under what circumstances would you go back?
If Assad’s regime resigns, I would go back. If I went to Syria at the time being, I would forcibly be called into the military and to help the army fighting with Bashar Al-Assad.
What else do you want us to know about Syria, and about you?
Syria was a beautiful country. Everything in it was enjoyable for rich and poor people. I am so sad to say that this conflict won’t end anytime soon. It’s beyond us…it’s in the hand of brutal politics.