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“I just want to live in peace and study.” 

By USCRI February 19, 2021

An interview with one of our newest neighbors.

Rustom is a 27 year old who came to the U.S. from Iraq with the hope for “better opportunities and the feeling of peace.”  He has been living in Raleigh for 2 months now.

The conditions around Rustom back in Iraq were very dangerous. He describes life there as corrupt, no real law, no help from the police. His father was killed and he worried that “what would happen to my father would happen to me”. He says he is young and just wants to live his life in peace and study.

 When asked about his first day of arrival, he describes being on the plane and seeing the U.S. that first time. Rustom describes it as a big feeling: “I loved seeing the city lights of Chicago.” Feelings of both confusion and relief arose during that first day.

Once settled in in Raleigh Rustom began to feel at home:

“When I first arrived in Raleigh, I took a walk around the neighborhood to take in this new experience. The neighbors said, ‘Hi’ as I walked by. It made me smile and feel peaceful. The people around me being so nice and friendly is incomparable to what I had previously experienced. It felt comfortable.”

Rustom describes himself as hard working and very determined; determined to find a job and develop new skills; determined to study and go to college to get a degree. His dream is to go to Wake Tech Community College. He did not have the opportunity for college in Iraq. His goal is to earn a degree in mechanics because he is passionate about cars. Rustom’s favorite car, and ultimate dream car, is a Chevrolet Corvette.

He is working towards getting enrolled at Wake Tech with the help of his Case Worker, Ryan Smith.

“I feel like I got the right case manager. He is young like me and understands me and understands the things around me. Ryan is helping me get his driving license set up and will bring me books and magazines about things that interest me. Ryan makes me feel respected, good, and like I am not alone. He is more like a friend and I feel like he has my back.”

After speaking about his experiences Rustom says, “USCRI- It’s a good agency”.


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