“Somali Immigrant’s American Dream: Graduating College is Merely the Inception!”

It was a warm Sunday, May 21, 2023, and Ashley Soebroto had a compelling story to report on. Abdi Nor Iftin, a Somali native who grew up in a war-torn country, was about to graduate from Boston College. As she sat down to write the article, she couldn’t help but feel perplexed and emotional.

The journey that led Iftin to this moment was nothing short of tumultuous. He arrived in the United States in 2014 and was struck by the fresh smell of the air. It was unlike anything he had ever experienced back in Somalia, where the air smelled like baking sand under the scorching sun.

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After passing through the airport security, Iftin was in a state of shock. “Welcome to the United States” said the officers and it felt like he was living in a movie. Everything looked surreal and he couldn’t help but feel a burst of excitement.

But life wasn’t easy for Iftin, as he had come to the US with a single purpose – to find a job and financially support his family back home. Born in Mogadishu during the civil war, he had always dreamed of moving somewhere safer and with more economic stability. And when he won the Diversity Visa lottery, his dream had become a reality.

He spent his first year in the US working multiple jobs and sending money back home to his family. It was a dream come true for him and for many refugees, as making money in the US meant lifting someone up somewhere else. But the road to graduation wasn’t easy, as Iftin dealt with mental health and financial concerns. He dropped out of community college and then university but eventually found his way to Boston College’s Woods College of Advancing Studies.

Despite all the challenges, Iftin remained determined to succeed. He worked with the Church World Service, where he frequently worked with immigrants from Afghanistan and Ukraine. And after graduation, he hoped to continue writing and telling his story, applying to grad school, and finding ways he can use his story to help lift up and work with refugees and immigrants.

“The American Dream is not over when you land here; it constructs itself, it keeps happening, and this is one of those moments,” Iftin said.

As Ashley finished writing her article, she couldn’t help but feel a sense of inspiration. Iftin’s journey was a reminder that anything is possible if you keep your hopes and spirits up.

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