By Mohammad Omar Ahmadi
English Language Program
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.