Coming to America : The story of three Afghan students


Senior Khujasta Basiri, sophomore Husna Basiri and sophomore Sosan Barakzai

Moving to a new country, and in this case the U.S. can be difficult without knowing the wonders of the country.

Adjusting to a new area with unfamiliar faces, yet wanting to build a new lives with the opportunities they are given, sophomore Sosan Barakzai, senior Khujasta Basiri and sophomore Husna Basiri shared their experience on how moving to America has changed their lives and how different America is compared to their home country, Afghanistan.

The Basiri sisters, senior Khujasta and sophomore Husna moved to the U.S. on Feb. 22, 2020. Sosan Barakzai moved to the U.S. on March 23, 2017.

The U.S. is much more advanced compared to Afghanistan in regard to technology. In Afghanistan, there was little to no use of computers for school. The schooling system there had some flaws when it came to education.

“In Afghanistan, the level of education was lower than in the U.S. The cities have professional schools, but there are few great schools in the villages,” the Basiri sisters said.

The students learn nine subjects in elementary schools, twelve subjects in middle school, and eighteen subjects in high school per year. 

“Boys and girls schools were different. We did not have any access to any electronics like computers, iPads and more,” Barakzai said. Since they did not have access to technology in school, instead they used traditional textbooks and notebooks. With the lack of materials needed for educational purposes, the students never failed to continue their studies.

“Students are hardworking and respectable. They value their teachers and celebrate Oct. 5 as teacher day and buy gifts and make parties for their teachers,” the Basiri sisters said. The living style and standards are clearly different in the U.S. then what the Basiri sisters and Barakzai were used to in Afghanistan.

Moving to a new country is something most people don’t consider, but moving to the US can be exciting knowing that you will be given so many more opportunities. The Basiri sisters were concerned that coming to America would be difficult due to the huge cultural differences. They focused on education and how their new journey in the U.S. would benefit them.

“I believe education is a passport for the future. I always focused on my lessons and tried my best in school because I knew my future depends on what I am doing today.” Husna said.

“I was very excited but I was also very very hesitant to come somewhere new but it worked out well. I am very happy to be here,” Barakzai said.

Barakzai and the Basiri sisters are some of the many students who moved to America for a better life. They share experiences connected to the new refugees that Annandale is planning to welcome.

“We understand them and respect their emotions about starting a different life in a new country. It is formidable because of the language barrier and cultural differentiation” the Basiri sisters said.

“Education is not a problem to solve, it is an opportunity to get,” the Basiri sisters said. Every life situation is temporary, and soon those bad days will pass and improve for the better. The process of transitioning doesn’t start off easy, but eventually it becomes easier as time goes on.

“I hope everyone works hard and finds something they are passionate about and asks for help whenever they need it.” Barakzai said. 

Welcoming the new refugee students with a warm welcome is something Barakzai and the Basiri sisters can’t wait for. With so much in common, yet such different experiences, they are happy to extend their culture and experience here in the U.S.