Scholarship & Study Abroad Opportunities: SU23 and beyond!

Thinking ahead to summer 2023 and beyond, now is the time to make your plan to study abroad; review the below opportunities, check eligibility and deadlines, and apply!

FUNDED OPPORTUNITIES/SCHOLARSHIPS:

  • Study in Indonesia on the 10-week Summer Studies Program! Program cost is $2,000 including airfare, housing, and tuition. Scholarships available! Applications for the 2023 Summer Studies Program are due on January 15, 2023.

 

  •  FEA Scholarships (of up to $5,000) for students underrepresented in study abroad for the study/intern program of your choice. Summer 2023/Fall 2023/Academic Year 2023-2024 application will close on January 18, 2023, at 12:00 PM EST

 

 

  • Apply for a Frederick Douglass Scholarship for summer 2023. Twelve exceptional student leaders of color will be selected to conduct a comparative study of social justice leadership in America, South Africa, and Ireland – application deadline is February 14, 2023.

 

 

  • Do you receive a Pell grant? You can receive up to $5,000 for the study/intern abroad program of your choice. Apply for a Gilman Scholarship. Application deadline is March 9, 2023.

 

SUMMER STUDY ABROAD OPPORTUNITIES WITH CHATHAM PARTNERS:

 

  • Study in Taiwan this summer with Chatham partner Tunghai University.  Take courses in Business and Economics, STEM and Sustainability, Arts and Culture or Chinese Language & earn up to 6 credits– Attend an Information Session on January 19 (Thursday) at  8 PM (EST)  Link: google.com/xgm-tpjb-jwu (no pre-registration required!)

 

  • Study in Japan. Summer 2023 Japanese Language Immersion Course (JLIC) at Chatham partner Doshisha Women’s College of Liberal Arts. See this link for details and application requirements. Application deadline is February 24, 2023. Please email internationalaffairs@chatham.edu if you are interested in applying.

 

  • Other Chatham partners offer affordable summer programs in Costa Rica, France, Germany, Italy, and Spain. If you have questions about these programs, or are looking for other course, intern, program, or country options, please reach out – we are happy to help you find the right program for you!

 

MORE RESOURCES:

Reach out to internationalaffairs@chatham.edu with any questions. You can visit us in Falk Hall, Lower level, across from the Chatham copy center.

Appreciating my Home Country Through Studying Abroad

By Honoka Ihara

English Language Program

Chatham University

I was in elementary school when I decided to go to the United States to study. The trigger was a trivial thing. I listened to foreign songs and watched foreign movies, and I simply wanted to be able to speak English. I also longed to live in the U.S., which is very different from Japan. From there I began to study English. I asked my parents to go to an English cram school.

I also attended the English Department in high school and enrolled in the English Literature Department at university. My plan was to study abroad during my second year of college. However, in 2020, the year I entered college, the Covid pandemic happened. My college life became completely different from what I had imagined. My first year of college, I never went to college and took all of my classes online. My college had many foreign professors, and I looked forward to taking their classes. I wanted to chat with them in English after class. However, taking classes online meant no interaction with the professors. Furthermore, international students who would have come to Japan every year were no longer able to come to Japan to study due to Covid-19. My college had a “conversation partner” program, and I had been looking forward to participating in such programs, but I was no longer able to do so. I have two older sisters and when they were in college, they really seemed to enjoy it. Knowing that, I was really disappointed compared to my own college life. Despite this, I prepared myself from the first year so that I could go study abroad in my second year. After passing the internal selection process, I was selected to study abroad in the academic year 2021. However, as it turned out, the study abroad program for the year 2021 was also cancelled. 2021 was still in the midst of the Corona epidemic, and I was only able to go to about half of the colleges, so I was prepared for the possibility that the program would be cancelled, but I was still shocked. In 2022, after one more year, I was able to study at Chatham University.

In Japan, I was not able to do things that are typical of university students, but since coming to the U.S., I have experienced many different things. There were also many things that I did not notice when I was in Japan. What struck me most was that Americans are not afraid to leave or throw away food. In Japan, leaving food behind is not considered a good thing. Of course, it may not be considered a good thing in the US either. However, while eating dinner in a dining hall, I noticed that many Americans leave the pizza crust behind. Some people leave other things that they just had a bite of.  Seeing this happen, I once thought to myself, “They must have left it because it didn’t suit their palates.” The extreme case is there is a trash can in the area where we return the dirty dishes. That trash can is divided into two types: one for paper napkins and other trash, and the other for throwing away leftover food. I was surprised when I saw that for the first time because I had never seen trash cans in Japan for throwing away leftover food scraps. I heard that the leftovers are used as animal feed, and I was surprised that the trash cans were built on the premise that leftovers would be thrown out. In Japan, there are probably people who have no objection to leaving food behind, but most people are taught by their parents or teachers not to leave food behind as much as possible. So many Japanese people are resistant to leaving food behind. I think this is a good thing about Japan that I noticed when I came to America.

Thus, since coming to the U.S., I have had many opportunities to learn about the good qualities of Japan. Before studying abroad, I did not expect to think about my home country because I thought I would discover many things about the United States. However, I thought that it is because I live in a different country from my home country that I notice the good things about my home country. Conversely, before I came here, I had an image of America as being very beautiful and everything was wonderful compared to Japan. I think that coming to the U.S. has broadened my perspective in many ways. From this perspective, I would like to identify good and bad points and use them as material to improve myself. For me, studying abroad is not only about learning English, but also about myself. I want to apply what I have realized through studying abroad to my future life.

Hard Choices

By Rashed Alolayani

English Language Program

Fall 2022

One a cold cloudy day, I woke up at 7:00 am. I typically begin my day by making a cup of coffee so I can stay focused throughout the day. As I I was eating breakfast that day, I thought of my early days in the United States. I was browsing my photo album on my phone and saw pictures that I took in the first semester. I recalled how cold it was in the winter and how much snow was on the trees and the ground. That morning, I reflected on how much fun I had and how many obstacles I overcame. After getting dressed, I went for my usual morning walks. I was enthusiastic and happy that day.

However, when the day was over, I got anxious, and I got the feeling that every foreign person in a foreign country felt. Long story short, I got homesick and had been missing my family and friends. I enjoy communicating with them on the phone, but what I missed is hanging out with them and being around them. I remember that night I went on my computer and searched for my home on Google Earth so I can feel that I’m there. The feeling of separation from people and places that we know is a common feeling among international students. I usually deal with those emotions by talking to friends, writing a journal, or making art so I can flip the switch on anxiety.

Still, I felt different that night. I felt anxious and stressed. “Am I wasting my own time?”  “Am I good enough?” “What should I do in the future?” “Am I going to make the right decision or not?” Those were the thoughts running through my head. I was overthinking over many tough decisions that needed to be dealt with. It was a critical choice that would shape my self-development and experiences and could change my whole identity in the future. Therefore, I had to choose,  and I had to choose wisely. Life is short, and it is characterized by struggles, unfairness, and daily battles. Nevertheless, we need to try to concentrate on what makes us happy, what makes us grateful, and what motivates us. Making decisions will always be challenging because assessing options requires time and effort. Second-guessing myself and feeling uncertain are the usual phases of this process. In many ways, it is a good thing to be considering my options rather than simply going with the flow.

I was thinking about continuing my academic journey and pursuing a master’s degree in my field. It is going to be a long journey that requires a portion of work, self-discipline, and more hard work. I had a conversation with a dear friend of mine that night, and I talked about everything I had in my mind. My friend said, “Don’t worry about a thing ’cause every little thing is going to be all right.” It was a quote from a song that we used to listen to back in the day. After I hung up, I felt a big relief with a smile on my face. Later that week, I applied for a Master of Arts in psychology. I decided that it was the right choice to make. If I get accepted, I will learn new knowledge and get the best grades I could. If not, I would go on a nice vacation and a new journey.

In the present time and as a full-time student here in the United States, I feel that I have the opportunity to explore new cultures, new places, and new ideas. Furthermore, I feel that my perspective has changed in the way I see things. I’ve become more rational, patient, and independent. Moreover, I’ve developed and learned new skills in English like speaking and listening to people, and reading and writing, and those skills will assist me in my future job or simple communication. After my experience in Chatham, I only have gratitude for everyone there. I have wonderful teachers who have helped me gain a better understanding of both American culture and the English language. They have provided significant knowledge about spoken and written communication to assist me in being a booming postgraduate student. I appreciate the college staff who welcomed me with open arms, and the classmates from around the world who are kind and cool.

To conclude, making decisions will always be difficult because trying to weigh options takes time. However, life is fleeting, and individuals should focus on what makes them happy, grateful, and motivated. Therefore, when the time comes for making a choice, we will have the mindset to make the right decision.

Big Decisions in Life

Rena Yamashita

English Language Program

Fall 2022

There are numerous people in the world today who can speak English. As I do not excel in anything, I was afraid that I would have trouble finding a job in the future if I could only speak English to some extent. I was leading a mediocre university life, but I decided that if the university was recruiting international students, I would do something I might never experience again in my life, and it would give me a chance to rethink my thinking and way of life. There are two main reasons for studying abroad. The first is to improve my English skills. Second is to experience various things and develop myself. There are still many things I don’t understand at all, but I hope that by the time I return to Japan, I will have grown as much as possible.

Do you think English will be useful in the future? I began to think that my English skills were not good enough around the first year of junior high school. When I became a junior high school student and had to communicate in English, I felt very miserable because I could not speak fluently. The reason why I feel so bad is because I had lived in Hong Kong and had daily conversations in English, but when I came back to Japan, I had no opportunities to speak English and my English skills quickly deteriorated and I could no longer speak it. Unlike other subjects, I studied English without giving up because I thought that studying a lot of vocabulary and grammar now would help me in the future. Until I entered college, I thought that if I studied English in college, I would surely be able to speak it fluently. However, I realized that the opposite was true and that I would have to work hard and study hard to speak English. There I decided that the only way to improve my English was to study abroad in the United States. I hoped to improve it and work in a trade-related field where I can communicate with foreign countries in the future.

Unlike in Japan, students are more aggressive and to do anything eagerly in the US. Since I was a child, I was influenced by other people’s opinions, and I did not express my own opinions and had no will of my own. When I was a freshman in college, I took a Global Study class, and Professor Gakiya’s words stuck with me. She had previously taught at an American university and was able to give us some specifics about the level of student participation and how advanced the education was at that time. In fact, most American students speak up and learn by themselves. Hearing that story, I felt miserable and wanted to go to the U.S. to take classes and gain that positive attitude. It has been about three months since I came to the U.S., and as I took classes with people from various countries, I felt firsthand that their positive attitude is different from that of Japanese students. I feel I have been growing by being stimulated every day. In addition to classes, I interact with local people by participating in events held by the university, which is also a good stimulus for me. For example, local students who are studying Japanese and we Japanese students have a chance to meet and talk with each other once a week. I am very grateful for this opportunity to learn about the U.S., and it is also a great way to study English. You can also travel around the U.S. to observe the national character and visit tourist attractions to experience other cultures. I believe that by interacting with many local people in this way and experiencing things that cannot be experienced in Japan, one can grow unknowingly.

I realize the only way to develop myself is to keep trying new things, but I am often disappointed by my lack of self-confidence. However, when I think back on the reasons for my decision to study abroad, I can see that I should not dwell on it and that I need to be more proactive and active. The important underlying question for me is: Why did I come to the U.S. to study? It was the negative thoughts inside me that keep saying the he wrong thing and make me feel embarrassed, and I worry about what other people think of me. I would like to adopt a more positive way of thinking. I also want to improve my English skills and become a person who can play an active role overseas. How much can I grow during this short period of studying abroad and how much time can I spend in a productive and fulfilling way? In my mind, studying abroad is one of the major decisions of my life, so I hope to spend each day of this important time without wasting it, and to grow as a person.

Reflection on my Study Abroad Experience in the US

Nodirjon Kobulov

English Language Program

Fall 2022

Next week will be exactly 4 months since I arrived in the United States. If you ask me why I wanted to study abroad and  why I chose the United States of America and why I left Cambridge International University, which is one of the best schools in Uzbekistan, I will without hesitation say the past 4 months has been a huge step towards success in my life and studying abroad has been a great learning experience for me.

As many say, studying abroad gives a person great skills. It is no exaggeration to say that I have found out what I am capable of and found my identity in America. I have learned to be grateful and take advantage of every opportunity that is given to me. I have realized that learning from world-class and experienced teachers from different countries can have a special effect on a person. Studying abroad has allowed me to learn about the culture of not only my current country but also different countries. I met new friends and it has helped me to achieve everything I dreamed of.

Despite the fact that I have lived in America for just 4 months, I have gradually got used to this atmosphere. I know it wasn’t easy and it’s still not easy. There are times when I have to get up early to go to school, wait for the bus on cold days, and run as fast as I could to avoid missing the bus. However, I can clearly say that all these events have made me me happier and more resilient. I believe that if I were in my own country, it would be very difficult for me to find such happiness or success despite difficulties. I have learned to inspire and motivate myself from every detail and from every place.

In my free time I enjoy learning more about America, exploring historic buildings and history. I enjoy watching deer come to my yard and try to get as close to them as I could, but I never could. I especially love watching the breathtaking sight of airplanes buzzing in the air when the weather is clear. I improve my knowledge of English by talking to people, and I get the information I do not know by talking to people. I have been trying to take advantage of the facilities that have been given to me as much as I can.

I couldn’t imagine when my friends who studied abroad told me that they made so many friends. At that time, I made a promise, ” I will definitely learn and make educated friends abroad. ”  When I summed up my 4 months in America, the number of my friends increased significantly. I am currently making friends from countries such as America, Korea, Japan, China, Afghanistan, Colombia, Costa Rica, Russia, Ukraine, Turkey, Egypt, Lebanon, Kazakhstan, Tajikistan. I am learning about different countries, cultures and values. Most importantly, after talking with them, I feel that there was a great growth in myself through their fluid thinking and good relationships with people. Especially when I listen to lectures about American culture and literature by highly experienced teachers during my ELP classes, I am proud that I get a lot of information about America and get to know more every day.

Currently, I am in the United States and through all the experiences and knowledge I have gained. I have learned that every step I take to see everything around me helps me to understand what original beauty means. New opportunities are opening up for me, and I have a different world view. Studying abroad has opened my eyes. Life is not as easy as we think, but I am happy to make the most of these opportunities given to me and work for the future believing that everything will be fine. If asked for advice on studying, I would tell everyone to come and study here so that they can enjoy such happiness. I am sure that studying abroad is very useful and worthwhile, and believe me, all the knowledge and experience you gain from such an atmosphere will serve you well for the rest of your life.

A Dream of a Better Tomorrow

By Mohammad Omar Ahmadi

English Language Program

Fall 2022

It was August 15, 2021.  Everything seemed normal in the morning, but things suddenly changed later in the day. I went to my work like I was doing every other day in the morning. Everyone was talking about the news Afghanistan’s president fled. In the past few months, the government situation was uncertain because every day we witnessed fallen cities to the Taliban. Only Kabul, the capital of Afghanistan,  and a few other cities near Kabul were governed by the previous government. Then in the afternoon, we head of the Taliban’s entrance to Kabul. My father was working with a U.S. media company in Kabul, which finally succeeded in helping us leave Afghanistan after many attempts. It was hard to leave Afghanistan physically and mentally.

Education was always a priority in my life. After graduating from high school and earning an associate degree in technology, both my homeland’s history and the ongoing political conflicts in Afghanistan motivated me to pursue my higher education in International Relations and Diplomacy. As a young Afghan, I always dreamed of being able to one day, as a seed for a new Afghanistan, open the door to peace in the midst of war and terrorism by choosing to pursue my education. It was a dream that I, and a thousand of my classmates, had for Afghanistan. It was not just a dream, we believed that one day it would happen, and our homeland would move towards the light of peace and prosperity. But all of a sudden, it got dark. On the 15th of August 2021, everything collapsed, despite the entire twenty-year journey of fighting against the Taliban. My family and I had to emigrate for our lives.

After defending my monograph online from the United States, my four-year study of international relations and diplomacy came to an end, and I graduated from university in exile. It was a strange state of joy and pain. Like any other human being, I was happy that I finished my bachelor’s degree and was gradually coming closer to my dreams, but it was painful that the ideal I had envisioned for my homeland no longer existed. I had my diploma in hand, but I had lost my homeland.

The four-year journey to receive my bachelor’s degree was not easy for me. Even as a young child in the family, I always had a responsibility to financially contribute to the family in addition to my studies. Therefore, while continuing my college education, I started working with a telecommunications company in Afghanistan. I worked with this company daily from morning to afternoon for a small salary, and I went to university in the evening after work. This was how my entire four-year journey went. I remember the nights that I was awake until late at night to attend to my studies and then got up early in the morning to go to work in order to support my family. It was a difficult time, but the dream of a better tomorrow was the motivation that kept me moving and working hard to complete my education.

I always tried to find good educational opportunities for my future. Even when I was in Afghanistan, I dreamed of being among the graduates of the Fulbright Scholarship, and I was always striving to qualify for an international scholarship to pursue a master’s degree abroad. I have come to understand that Afghanistan needs more people with sufficient knowledge of the world and the realities of our country. Our homeland is far from being the caravan of progress and development in the world, and the main reason for this distance is the illiteracy of a large number of Afghans. I considered it my responsibility in Afghanistan to study and be as literate as possible.

When we immigrated, all my dreams for Afghanistan were gradually becoming memories. During my first months in the United States, I had the impression that living in an immigrant land consisted of only constantly working just to keep the family alive. The situation in my homeland took away all my hopes for the future since it was hard to believe that one day it would change again. The hopes for Afghanistan’s future are diminishing day by day. But my concerns for the future of Afghanistan are still present, and with each day they grow more.  I have decided to continue my path and chose Afghanistan’s future. Whatever happens, I still hope and believe in a better tomorrow for my homeland, so I will continue my education. As a former student of international relations, I have learned that regimes like the Taliban that impose themselves on nations will not last long. From my understanding of the contemporary history of Afghanistan, it is clear to me that these times in history are passing, and people will one day decide their own destinies again. With this belief, I have decided to continue my education to change my own destiny.

Best Study Abroad Experience of My Life

By Rena Kondo

English Language Program

Fall 2022

Studying abroad has changed my personality. Before I came to Chatham University, I was neither talkative nor optimistic. I am a shy person and worry about anything. For example, I am waiting just for someone to talk to me while I want to talk to them. Also, I am not a risk taker so if I see a risk of making a mistake, I wait and delay my action every time. I am still nervous, but I am trying to challenge myself more than before. I’ve decided never to think I have more time to do something in the future. If I did not act, I could not do it forever. So I acted. I said “Hi” to international students , and we’ve become closer to each other. I joined an activity outside of Chatham University to explore my experience. I made friends from more than 10 foreign countries. I want to tell my past self, “You will have many more  friends than you expected.” I learned there is no difference between friends even when we are from different countries. We can be friends and spend our time in the same way as with friends from the same country.

Moreover, my friends have helped me to be more positive. One international friend who I met here shared her experience that changed my thoughts. When she came here, she spoke English without confidence. She worried about her English ability when talking to American people. One day, she talked to a friend who lives in the United States. She said, “My English is not good, I’m sorry” before starting the conversation. Her American friend said to her “You mustn’t say my English is not good. You know more than two languages., It’s amazing.”  When I heard this experience, I also thought I was good at speaking in English, but I could try to talk and improve my confidence. My friend was also in the same situation, but she could overcome her shyness.  Now, I am going to go to the next step like she did.

Personally, this is the second time I’ve studied abroad.  However, the first time was not what I wanted because of Covid-19. My previous plan was staying in Australia for 9 months, but after only 1 month, I stopped the program and returned home. For studying abroad, I took TOEFL more than 20 times. If I could not get a high score, I could not study abroad. To get a good TOEFL score, I dedicated much time. When I was going to return to Japan, I could not believe it and kept asking myself, “Why did I lose all of the opportunities while not doing anything bad? Why?” I was waiting for my next studying abroad experience. I was not just waiting without doing anything. I took English classes and tried IELTS and TOEIC. Also, I tried TOEFL again from the beginning. It was the hardest part because I only had one chance. Failure was not an option.

I went through every wall, and I could finally get the opportunity of studying abroad. It was time to choose country, but I did not want to go to the United States because of my fear of guns. However, since the United States opened its border, so I chose the United States reluctantly.  Before I came here, I worried about safety and security. However, when I met the staff from the Office of International Affairs, I started to like American people and the city. A few days later, I met Chatham staff and students, they said to me, “Welcome to Chatham!” My image of the United States completely changed with a 180-degree turn. Now, I can say the reason why my first study abroad stopped in the middle was for me to get here, the United States, with a positive mind.

Everything is happy for me here. It is not only traveling to another state with my friends but also some difficulties I face and overcome. I first must study English, do homework and exams as well as do laundry, go to grocery store, and manage myself without my parents’ help. Sometimes I cannot sleep well during the week, and it is extremely exhausting. I do not know why, but I still feel fulfilled. I can say being busy is happiness.

I have now realized that my choice was not wrong. If someone does something before me, it does not mean I’m behind them. Thanks to Covid-19, I now have an experience of studying abroad in the US and  confidence to pass the TOEFL exam for the second attempt. In fact, I postponed graduating from my university by 2 years. My friends of the same age already started to work more than 2 years ago. Some friends studied abroad and have graduated as usual. During the days, I was thinking why these bad things happened only to me. However, if I had given up a second chance of studying abroad, I might regret it and blame it for not challenging myself. I learned that I must do what I want now without comparing myself with someone else.

Reward Yourself

Marwa Rahim

By Marwa Rahim

English Language Program

Fall 2022

I grew up as a normal child in my home country. I had a good childhood. While sometimes it was difficult, I just did not care because I was just a child who did not know the good and the bad in the world yet. As a child I was certain about one thing in my life: I would not have a normal life just like other people in my hometown. My  mother’s work always encouraged as she was an activist and a teacher in our province, and she had a significant role in our community and family education. So, I decided by myself at a noticeably early age of 11 or 12 that I would make a change, even a ridiculously small change, on my life one other person. I dreamed of becoming a doctor, which remained my one and only childhood dream, and wanted to have a doctor’s office and save as many lives as I could because of our country’s situation.  I remember that whenever we played games with my childhood friends, I always had a doctor’s role and help my friends,

I had lots of activities during my high school. I played a significant role in every event in school, and I was the presenter for all those events, even for our graduation party. I prepared a topic for all my classmates. I had interviews with our local radio and TV shows for women and children’s rights. Despite all of the difficulties in my home city in northern Afghanistan, I graduated from high school. However, there was no medical school and few opportunities to chase my goals, so I decided, or may I say my parents decided, that it would be better for me to move to another city. So I moved to a bigger city named Balkh and my medical school journey started.

I was the happiest person on earth at that time and my medical school was the best school for me, and everything was surprisingly good for me because I had the chance to study medicine, which was also a dream for all my classmates. On the first day of my medical school, our professor asked us about our plans, so I spoke louder and talked more about my plans and dreams. I said that after I graduated from the medical school, I would like to become a cardiologist and a heart surgeon because I never saw a woman surgeon in my province and to help women and children in my home country.

In 2021, I started my 7th semester of medical school. I said to myself that I did it, I passed half of the way of my journey, and I was close to achieving my dreams. Unfortunately, the situation in my country did not allow me to continue that dream anymore. I had to leave to be safe and have a future for us, for our families, and our children. During that time, I lost everything except my dreams. I came to the U.S. with only one backpack, but as I know myself, I am not that person to give up easily.  I promised to myself that I would make a change to women’s life in my country and I would be their voice and fight for women’s rights. Obviously I am thinking that I am becoming a feminist day by day.

I came to the US, and I tried to work hard and achieve what I wanted to be and my goals. Currently I am taking English academic classes at Chatham university at Pittsburgh PA, millions, and millions miles from my home country and hometown. There are many things that I am grateful for in my life since I came to the USA. I met people from all over the world with a different languages and appearances, and it was surprising to me first. I  never met people from another countries like Japan in my home country. My goals are to finish the English academic classes and apply to one of the medical school pathways for medical universities in USA.

Life hasn’t been essay  for me. I know everyone is struggling with a lot in their lives right now and it is hard to start your life from zero and left everything behind. It takes time, so we all should be patient and continue to work hard. Everyone has their own dreams and thoughts. We should never stop being who we are and what we want to be, and in the end we are all humans who work together for this land that has become home for all of us.

Just One Day

By Habibullah Sorosh

English Language Program

Fall 2022

He has messy hair and a long beard, big eyes, and an angry face. He points his gun at me. He wants to shoot me, and he shouts loudly in Pashto, “Are you Habib Sorosh?” I deny it. He slaps me hard on the face, I’m shaking with fear, and he points his gun at me again and says, in a loud voice, “Say I’m Habib Sorosh.” My hands are shaking. I want to scream. He puts his hand on my mouth. It prevents me from screaming. I’m suffocating, gasping for breath, and with effort I can remove his rough hands from my mouth. He screams for the third time, “You have become an infidel, and you deserve to die.” He aims his gun at me and fires. I wake up screaming. My wife asks me, “Did you have the nightmare of the Taliban again?” I laugh, and I shake my head in agreement. She smiles at me and closes her eyes again.

I wipe the sweat from my brow and chin. I am looking at the clock. It is five o’clock in the morning. I want to write and turn on my laptop. I stare at the folder labeled “Policy Course on Playwriting.” Beautiful and unforgettable memories of Kabul University are imprinted in my mind. What a glorious name, “Kabul University,” which used to draw the biggest dreams for me. With a hungry stomach and the smallest facilities, I was flying in the imaginary sky in sync with the dreams. What plans and maps I drew for my future! What hardships, inequalities, discrimination, and bigotry I had experienced to reach the position of professor at Kabul University. Overcoming these problems increased the value of being a professor, and I vowed to fight decisively against the monsters of bigotry, jealousy, ethnocentrism, gender inequality, and ignorance.

I believe that Afghans’ fate is linked to homelessness, displacement, and emigration. Look at how quickly and unexpectedly the storm of events destroys and disintegrates the loving center of Afghan families and takes them away from the best supports of their existence. Moments of living together, laughing, serenity, and intimacy fade into memory, giving way to dreams, nostalgia, complications, and, finally, excruciating pain. Afghans, wherever they are, miss those who can’t be wanted and those who can’t be had. They can only miss them and long to meet them. Afghans may have brought their bodies to New York, Berlin, Paris, Sydney, and Tehran, but their souls are still full of smoke and gunpowder in the back alleys of Kabul, and their ears are still filled with screams and moans. Wherever Afghans go, they worry about the city where they have created memories for years and are waiting for the political situation of their country to improve. I miss Kabul University and my classroom. I miss playwriting lessons. I miss story writing and reading, and I miss discussions in the classroom with the extent of this strange city’s nostalgia.

I pick up my phone and call my friend, who was my colleague at Kabul University and now lives in Germany. He misses the university and feels homeless, but he expects the country’s political situation to improve. He sighs and says, “Damn me for leaving Afghanistan.” I tell him, “If you had stayed in Afghanistan, maybe the Taliban would have killed you.” He answers with a disappointed and a slowly rising tone, “The Taliban killed me once. Now the moments of waiting will gradually kill me.” I understand that the person waiting is always protesting. In the nights, the stars burn with pain, the clouds cry, the leaves tremble with fear, and the person waits for dawn with silent cries. My friend asks, “How are you living in America?” I tell him, “I am living contrary to my imagination.” He laughs and continues, “I don’t understand what you mean.” I explain to him that I used to think that it was very difficult to learn a language, study, work, and live abroad, but when I entered the United States of America, I was able to learn the language, work, research, and learn easily. The culture, mutual respect, humanity, sincerity, and honesty of these people teach me about humanity. He interrupts me again and says, “Germany is a beautiful place with kind people. I became fascinated by the culture of these people.” He laughs again and says, “But nowhere will we forget our own country, where we made lifelong memories.” We say goodbye together, and I check my Facebook and see that many of my friends have reported the explosion at the Kaj educational center in the Dasht Barchi area of Kabul. My hands are trembling. I try to look at the pictures of the dead and injured, but I can’t. A strange feeling has occurred to me, as if my existence is witnessing a bad event, as if I believe I am among the dead and injured and searching for one of my family members.

My phone rings, and I answer. It is my brother. Without greeting, I ask him, “What’s up? Did something happen to the family?” He answers in a broken tone, “Yes, Rahila, the daughter of our uncle, has been killed.” I can’t talk. I hang up my phone. I cry, and I curse the perpetrators of these suicide attacks who took our best friends and family away from us in these two decades. Rahila was the eldest child of a poor family of eight people. Her father is sick, and he has a disabled son at home who cannot afford to be treated. Her unfortunate mother does all the housework, from farming to cooking and providing food. Rahila’s mother bore all the hardships of the time alone with farming. She paid for Rahila’s course fee so that she could study for the university entrance exam and become a doctor and treat her brother. Regrettably, Rahila took her mother’s precious efforts and her dreams to the grave with her. The wishes of Rahila’s mother and Rahila’s wishes are sleeping forever in the heart of the cold soil. Her death is a painful wound that will never heal, and it is sucking the bone marrow of Rahila’s mother and father until they die. Rahila and her dreams burned down in one moment at Kaj Educational Center. What I’m writing isn’t a script, a dream, or an illusion. It’s real, a reality that defies human imagination, a reality that concepts are unable to express and the camera is ashamed to depict. The camera’s eyes are too innocent to bear and see this moral disaster and human sin, and by writing, I am also betraying the victims of this disaster. What is happening here (Dasht Barchi) cannot be “written.” My tears don’t allow me to write, and I whisper under my breath, “This is the fate of a Hazara family that pays a high price for knowledge.”

As a member of Rahila’s family, I mourn her absence. I am ashamed that Afghan girls see and endure so much abuse, humiliation, and insults from the patriarchal society of Afghanistan. One of these victims of violence and deprivation was Rahila, who had risen from the storm of war and gender inequality. Her education and knowledge were her love, a love that cost her dearly. She has been resting peacefully in the village cemetery.

A Great Friend I Met in Pittsburgh

By Yuki Katayama 

English Language Program

Fall 2022

“How great view is it?” I thought in my mind. I was impressed by the magnificent scenery, and I wanted to show the beauty to my precious friend. 

In May 2022, I came to Pittsburgh. Since then, I have visited many restaurants to eat American style hamburgers or tacos, watched Jurassic Park at AMC Waterfront 22, and been to Point State Park to watch marvelous fireworks on the Fourth of July. However, in July, I felt little tired of Pittsburgh because I ended up going to almost all the fun places in this small city. I started to seek new places that would excite me to visit. 

One day in July, a classmate from my first semester in the U.S. invited me to do something different. “Do you know Prism which is an international student community? Why don’t you go to bible study with me tonight?” she asked. I suspected bible study would be challenging for me since religious stuff was not familiar to Japanese people like me. Yet, I expected to gain a new experience and decided to participate in it. “Sounds cool! I want to go there!” I responded. After classes, we went to a house that held bible study sessions. I was somewhat nervous before entering the room. There were three volunteers, among whom Mike was especially gentle and friendly. He is American, but spoke slowly for us to help us understand the meaning of the sentences in the bible. The topic of that bible study session was “LOVE.” I don’t remember the details, but I learned the importance of giving unconditional love to those close to me. The value was brand-new and greatly inspired me. My first day with Prism was unexpectedly amazing, and I wanted to keep participating in their activities. 

The following Wednesday, I went to bible study again. At the beginning of the study session, Mike asked us, “Do you believe in resurrection?” I didn’t understand the word and asked, “What is the meaning of resurrection?” “Resurrection is the return of dead people to life,” answered Mike. It made sense, but I was still confused because I didn’t believe in “resurrection” at that time. However, the more we read bible, the more I understood and was convinced of the meaning of the word. “Resurrection refers to soul or spirit coming back to life, not to a body,” Mike said. Even though the idea was new for me, I felt it faithfully. I thought about one thing in my mind. My dad passed away when I was a junior high school student, and I cried heavily. Despite feeling sad sometimes even now, I could start believing that my father’s spirit came back and a person who has his soul was born after his death. I feel like my life is a little brighter than it used to be thanks to the bible study at that day.  

One Saturday in August, a bike trip took place around the west area of Pittsburgh. It was such a hot day. I was anxious about my bike skill since the last time I rode a bike was when I was a junior high school student. Anyway, the trip started. I started catching a fresh breeze while riding a bike. I sang my favorite song at a volume that no one could hear. After a while, I felt hungry. I asked Mike, “When is the lunch time, Mike?” “Oh Yuki, are you hungry now?” responded Mike and he took a snack out of his knapsack and handed it to me. The snack was tasty, and I felt “Mike is such a considerate person!” again. At the end of the trip, I took a picture with him in front of a fountain in Point State Park. 

In October, we had a Niagara Falls trip. It took about four hours by car, and I got a little tired before seeing the fall. Also, the most disappointing factor was that Mike was not there. On the other hand, the moment I saw the waterfall, my fatigue was blown away. “What a beautiful scenery!” I was moved by the view I’d never seen before. The water was transparent like crystal and splashed vigorously from the top to bottom. That night, I wanted share pictures of Niagara Falls with Mike and sent them to him. He responded 5 minutes later. “Wow, they are so beautiful! I hope you had a good time, and we can go there together next time!” he said. I was glad to see the messages and smiled in the room where there was only me. I have a sister in Japan, but I was feeling as if Mike is my brother in the U.S. 

After belonging to Prism, my life in the U.S. has completely changed. Due to it, I have learned new perspectives from bible study and have traveled to many places which I’d never visited. Also, above all, what I am grateful to Prism is giving me an opportunity to meet a loving man, Mike. His kindness has warmed not only my body but also my heart even in severe cold winter. I will return to my country in a month, but before that, I want to express my gratitude to Mike for sure. I’m quite certain that I will never forget him. 

Chatham University

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