"I first came to the United States as an exchange student through American Councils for International Education. Every year the organization searches schools in Afghanistan for students with good academic backgrounds. Only 38 students get a scholarship to attend high school in the States for a year. I was one of them. I was sent to live with a host family in Williamstown, Massachusetts, which is where I went to high school and where I learned about Simon’s Rock.
When I arrived at Simon’s Rock, our first orientation week workshop had me at a table with students from Michigan, Colorado, Kansas, and even Bermuda. I was just another person from another place. I met so many different people from so many different places and different countries—everybody brought something different, said something different. Later, we had to write a personal essay and share it with students from another class. My professor kept saying, Write about anything. So I wrote I have brought with me the prayers of my mother and father. I am not here only for myself. I am also here for my family and for my country.”
• The American Experience
Where are they now? Samad is currently a junior concentrating in Social Action and Social Change. This year he traveled to the White House, where he participated in an Interfaith Youth Leadership conference, and this summer he’s at BGIA, interning at a new grassroots organization, the Afghanistan Blind Women and Children Foundation.