(3/5)“Even though I couldn’t attend a university I decided to stay in Turkey and look for a job. I didn’t know a word of Turkish so I started learning Turkish from Youtube. After I had mastered a few words I applied for some simple jobs. I got hired in a small restaurant. I worked 12 to 14 hours a day and I would make about 20 Turkish Lira a day. After one month my Turkish had improved so I tried to find a better job. I changed jobs many times but after four months it dawned on me that I wasn’t getting back to my education. I heard that my University back in Aleppo had opened again so I decided to return. Going back to Syria meant going back to a war but I was determined to graduate one way or the other. In the final semester I started to make an escape plan. In Syria you have to join the army when you are no longer a student. I applied for three different universities and scholarship’s. One in Japan, one in Germany and the last one in the United states. I made three escape scenarios and I was putting all my energy into it, hoping at least one would work. One day I received a letter that I got accepted into the university of Texas with a full scholarship.

I was so happy and excited. In order to get a visa, I had to return to the American Embassy in Istanbul. That was the second time I left Syria. When I got to the appointment for my visa the lady interrupted me after five minutes. She left and came back with a paper. The letter which was written in Arabic said that I didn’t meet the requirements of a visa since I had no Turkish permit. Meanwhile I had just been informed that I failed one of my exams. Again I had to go back to Syria. I passed the last exam and finally I graduated. Now that I had my diploma I needed to leave the country as soon as possible. This time my family came along. It was the last time I would leave Syria. When we arrived in Turkey I knew that if I wanted to continue studying could not stay there. I had to leave my parents behind and continue my journey to Europe.”