Muhannad is a 21-year-old refugee from Iraq. He had only been in the United States for a week when interviewed. He speaks some English, but the translator helped with most of this interview. The views expressed do not necessarily represent those of World Relief Durham or any affiliated partner.

When you arrived in America, what did you think? Was it different than you had expected? Some things were just what I expected, and some things were not what I expected. I expected the people to be more helpful, but they are not that much. But some of the things that I saw were much more beautiful than I expected. You have an apartment in Durham already? Yes, and I lives with my family there.

Has World Relief helped you a lot since you have been here? Yes, they were helpful, and they teach us things like how to learn English and how to ride the bus.

What did you feel like before you came to America?

Were you nervous about coming? I was so excited to be here that I did not sleep, just waiting for the time to be here.

Was there anything you were sad about leaving? No. You didn’t leave family? Just friends.

Were you also in a refugee camp? No, we were just in the city in apartments.

What about Iraq? Can you tell me a little bit about how it was to live there? The image that I have from Iraq is that I was in my own country but I was humiliated and neglected, nobody cares about what happens to you.

Did you graduate from a university in Iraq? I just finished primary school.

Are you concerned about learning English? Do you think it will be difficult for you? I am just so excited to learn English and just waiting for the time to learn so I can talk and communicate so I can merge into the community.

What are your dreams and goals for you while you are here in America? I want to be self-sufficient, dependable, able to afford my life expenses, and find a good job. Are you going to start looking for a job after school? I am so excited– if I found a job today I would start.