By: Alireza Majidi
Worlds apart come together with just one choice: to EXIT.
I’m from Iran. Yes, you’re thinking just what am I doing in a small, midwestern town like Findlay, Ohio. Maybe for many of the American students here it is hard to be in another city away from home, but for international students? Well, that’s a long, long story. Let me tell you mine. At least it is similar to yours but more challenging. You can’t imagine how difficult it was to get here despite all of the political and economic conflicts — I also had to overcome the pandemic.
First of all, there’s no United States embassy in Iran. I had to go to the other countries such as Armenia, Turkey, the United Arab Emirates, and Azerbaijan for an appointment and because of this virus, all of the borders were closed. It was a miracle. When I got my visa from the embassy, that was a dramatic moment because after all of the failures in my life I succeeded eventually.
Secondly, I had another issue that I don’t think you can find in America. All of the boys in Iran have to participate in mandatory military service for two years. I didn’t want that. My family had to pay a considerable amount of money to be exempted from this irrational barrier. Though, that couldn’t prove that I don’t have to do the military service because when you want to go abroad, you should put a considerable amount of money in your account for the government as a pledge in case you don’t come back. The government would take that money.
However, none of these obstacles could break my spirit. Except one. The last handshake, the last hug and kiss from my parents in the airport. That smashed my heart so I had no idea how I spent my time through the clouds from Shiraz, Iran to here.
Arriving in another country. Another sweet language, culture, and of course, the weather. Yes, it’s not going to be easy. What I’ve learned so far is you need to work hard. You have to be like a rock, unbreakable. It doesn’t matter how many times you fall, you should get yourself together because you have a dream. That’s the only thing we can do in this world, making our dreams into reality. Your body should become a rock not to feel the chilly winds of Findlay or the winter storm.
This is a new land and you should know their rules to play their games. Don’t be so harsh on yourself because I realized that the people here are ready to help and support. They give you a hook to catch your dreams from the ocean of wildness and distrust. Before I came here, I used to feel that I was stuck in a white room without any doors to get out or windows to jump out. But now I have this chance to show myself and come out of the swamp of disappointment.
In the tree of Findlay, every teacher is a branch of art and science and every student is a blossom that will bloom in the spring. That’s right. To my fellow international students, you have sacrificed your family and loved ones, but you are not alone because you matter here. So, thank God, or whatever you believe in, and keep fighting to the end.