Hassan Taki Eddin, Class of 2017
What are your best memories about being born and raised in Syria?
My best memories are associated with the people and places of Syria. I will always cherish the time that I got to spend with my family members and friends. My best memories have happened at my grandmother’s dinner table, our club’s soccer field, my favorite mosque, and in our regular coffee shop.
What do you miss the most?
I miss the weekly, somewhat mandatory, family gatherings every Friday at my grandmother’s house. I miss the sound of the Athan calling people for prayer and I specifically miss the peaceful and nourishing feeling that I get every time I go to our neighborhood mosque. I miss the days of Eid, were we would receive gifts from our parents, visit the graves of our family members, and donate food and money to our friends. I also miss the air that we used to breath and the water that we used to drink.
What about Syrian culture makes you most proud?
The open-heartedness and good intentions that people have for each other (there are exceptions).
Why did you choose to come to the US to study?
To get the education and experience that I need to build my country again.
What challenges did you face while traveling here?
Saying farewell to people and places that will never be the same as before, making the decision not to let go of my values and beliefs that I learned from home, and learning about and understanding the American culture and way of life.
What were your preconceived notions about Americans before you came here and how have they changed?
I was unaware of how simple and casual the majority of the American people are. I was also unaware of how extremely cultured and educated many others are.
How does it feel to be a Syrian student at UE in 2016?
I couldn’t be more proud and honored to be representing my country and my religion at this time and place.
Have you experienced any positive or negative feedback here on campus or in Evansville?
I have experienced both, but mostly positive.
What are the scariest, greatest, and most difficult things about living in the U.S.?
The freedom is the scariest and the greatest thing about living in the U.S. The most difficult thing about living here is being away from home.
Can you tell us about a life changing experience that happened to you in the U.S.?
What has been most life changing to me has been because of the family that I have made at UE. A highlight event for me was when I got my first job as the first international employee at a local bank. It was fun!
Can you tell us about a life changing experience that happened to you in Syria?
I lost close friends when I was back home and that made me add a new perspective to life.
Does your family still live in Syria? If they could speak in this forum, what would they say to us?
My immediate family is in Evansville but the majority of my entire family are still back home. My grandmother would tell me to invite everyone for over dinner.
What words come to mind when you think about Syria’s civil war?
No words anymore, we are in a time that needs actions. Every time I think of the war, I think of how little I am doing to help.
In your opinion, what is the solution to the current political crisis and where do you see Syria ten years from now?
I do not know of a practical solution at the moment to end the war, but there are many short-term solutions that can be done to decrease the suffering of the Syrian people inside and outside the country.
Under what circumstances would you go back?
I will be back after I have the tools I need to help build the country again.