By: Shelly Burningham

Photo credit and initial content provided by: Nick Sokoloff – The New Americans of Salt Lake

Abdul -Country of Origin: Afghanistan

I am from a place where being alive depends on luck; I am from Afghanistan. The climate is very unstable; I lived on the line between life and death, and there was no way to predict it. I am grateful to be alive and am proud and happy to be in the USA. I want to correctly use my opportunity of being here, and I want to reach the highest part of my goals, which is to go through medical school. I want to focus on my education so I can be a positive and helpful person to society. I was born to a bright family who knew the value of knowledge and education.

I came to the USA in February 2018 directly from Afghanistan. I was excited to be in the USA and I had high expectations of being able to achieve great things. Being in the USA is a goal and dream of everyone, but only some lucky people can be here. We waited two years to receive the visa. During the two years, we always checked our email and called to check about our visa. They always told us: “We are in the process and it will take some time.” But it is very hard to wait for something that is so important to you. Finally, after two years, we received our visa and we were very happy that we were going to the USA. I will keep working hard to make my family, people, and lovely homeland proud. I will show the world with my knowledge and achievements that anything is possible.

I am a sophomore at Salt Lake Community College and will graduate in the Spring of 2021 and transfer to the University of Utah. I will be majoring in Biology. I am working at Intermountain Health Care as an Endoscopy Technician. Being awarded the Real Life Scholarship helped me obtain the certificate I needed to get the job where I am working now. It allowed me to finish my classes on time and pursue knowledge.

Paw Si -Country of Origin: Burma

My name is Paw Si. I am very grateful to have the opportunity to go to school in America because I didn’t have the same opportunities as a young child. My parents came from Burma, but I was born in the Umpiem Refugee Camp in Thailand. Both of my parents never attended any formal schooling. I want to have a better life. I am excited to continue learning and want to set an example for my younger siblings and others in my cultural community. I was accepted to the Nursing Early Assurance program at the University of Utah. I will be the first generation to graduate from high school and attend college to pursue higher education.

While in Thailand, I noticed many healthcare needs in my own family and community and developed a passion to help others with health problems. As I’ve volunteered at clinics and research labs, I became interested in learning more about women’s reproductive health. During my senior year of High School, I was able to take an internship class at the labor and delivery department at the University of Utah Hospital. I love to watch the ultrasounds and realize how amazing the human body is. Now I would like to specialize in becoming an OB nurse and help more refugee women to have better healthcare. My future goal is to one day return to the refugee camps where I was born to help provide needed healthcare and to continue to help others in the community through nursing.

I am now a sophomore at the University of Utah and continue to study nursing. I enjoy learning and studying. However, this semester has been difficult. Due to COVID-19, all of our classes had to be taught on-line. My mother was the only one working in our family and I didn’t have enough money to attend college. I am grateful to Youthlinc for this scholarship. This financial help made it possible for me to go to school. I am now working part time at Amazon to help support our family needs.

Nour -Country of Origin: Syria

My life completely changed in 2011 when the war in Syria started. My dad was arrested twice in 2012 without cause and he was tortured until they finally let him go. After the second time, we didn’t want anything to happen again to him or anyone else in our family and so we moved to Lebanon. While there, we were told our file was chosen to go to the United States, where we would be moved to Salt Lake City, Utah.

Once we got here, I started at Granite Park Junior High as a ninth-grader. I found many other students who spoke Arabic, which made me happy. I pushed myself to learn English and be in the hardest English classes once I got to high school. I began to think I could be successful in life the more time I spent with the teachers and students there.

I am currently in my last semester at Salt Lake Community College and will receive an Associates’ Degree in Criminal Justice. Following graduation in May 2021, I will be joining the Air Force and will continue my education on-line. I am currently working as a para-professional at Cottonwood High School in special education.

I am grateful for the Real Life scholarship. It helped me pay for some of the tuition my first year at Salt Lake Community College. It also helped with books, supplies, and purchasing a laptop. The laptop was very helpful because my previous laptop broke.

I want to get my voice out to the whole world. I want to help all the refugees like me and show them the way we can all find success.

2019 Real Life Scholarship Winners – What are they doing now? Part 2
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