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Zaíd shares journey to America

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Alternative Copy Story and Photos by Susan Hubbard

We have several exchange students here in our community. Zaíd, a student from Iraq, is one of them.

Exchange students are on the rise in America. The amount of exchange students saw a rise from 304,467 students in 2014 to 313,415 in 2015, which is nearly a 9,000 student increase in just 1 year. Students from the Middle East are the second lowest percentage of students studying abroad, just above students from elsewhere in North America with 2.9 percent.

“I came to America through the United Nations,” said Zaíd. “My uncle applied for asylum in the U.S., and it was granted.”

Refugees from the Middle East are the most common type in the United States. Refugees from the Middle East account for a little over 40 percent of all refugees in the United States, followed closely by refugees from Africa, which make up about 37 percent. The number of Middle Eastern refugees has grown exponentially in the past few decades. In 1980, there were roughly 223,000 Middle Eastern immigrants in the United States. That number has since risen to 1,017,000, and is still on the rise.

The hardest thing for me to accumulate to in America was the language. When I came here, I spoke zero English.”

— Zaíd

“The hardest thing for me to accumulate to in America was the language. When I came here, I spoke zero English,” said Zaíd.

Learning English is the first step towards integration for refugees who have arrived in America. Different states have different policies towards refugee language education. The state of Washington offers eight hours of free English classes at local universities for adult refugees. 

“I’m happy here in America. I feel safe. It was easy for me to make friends,” said Zaíd

As much of a struggle it was for Zaíd to get here, he does not regret any of it. This is similar to what many of other immigrants say. A survey conducted by the University of Iowa has shown that 96 percent of all refugees in America say they are happy where they are in life and think coming to America was an improvement in their own and their families lives. Many of the refugees quotes things like the safety of their family and the opportunity to start again in America as reasons why. These advantages weigh out the negatives in their minds.

The American dream is all but forgotten to Americans today, but there are people who have never experienced this before that now have the opportunity. The American dream will shine again, on this new era of Americans.

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9 Comments

9 Responses to “Zaíd shares journey to America”

  1. Kaitlyn Kirby on November 11th, 2017 10:12 pm

    This article caught my attention because I wanted to know more about who Zaid is and how he adjusted from life in Iraq to Minnesota. The article was well written and very detailed. The quotes were good and compelling. I think it is interesting how you connected foreign exchange students and refugees within the article. The facts about refugees really help bring the article together and provide a lot of information.

    [Reply]

  2. Malaina Fragnito on November 12th, 2017 8:09 pm

    There were very interesting statistics about foreign exchange students! I was wondering how if Zaid came here as a foreign exchange student or a refugee because the story mentions both. It’s very cool there are so many foreign exchange students here locally.

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  3. Rosalie Braun on November 12th, 2017 10:01 pm

    The colors and map on the cover photo really caught my eye and made me want to click on this article. It’s very well written and I can tell you did a ot of research to find your facts. The only thing I could tell you to improve on is to have quotes from multiple sources.

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  4. Alyssa Bump on November 13th, 2017 12:23 am

    The title is what caught my eye because it seemed like an interesting story that I wanted to read about. I thought the quotes and images were interesting because there was no fluff and the just got right to the point. This article was very informational about how and why Zaid came to America. My only improvement would be to have another primary source.

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  5. Austin Begnaud on November 13th, 2017 7:35 am

    I really like how you got insight on an actual refugee which really makes this article interesting because I know Zaíd but didn’t know about his journey prior to him coming here. I would recommend getting insight of someone else too to add another quote.

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  6. Grant Hietpas on November 13th, 2017 6:47 pm

    This is a super interesting story on a very interesting person. Overall it was well researched and well written. My only critique would be to incorporate a stronger sense of conflict into the story. Obviously Zaid has gone through quite a lot to get to where he is today; tell us more about that.

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  7. Mikayla Cousineau on November 13th, 2017 8:04 pm

    I was intrigued by this story by the headline of this story because of its human appeal. I thought that the writer did a fantastic job of reflecting the quotes in the fact paragraphs, and the alternation of the two flowed very naturally. After reading the story, I was inspired to learn more about other exchange students in our school environment and had to look no further than the alternative copy story. I thought that the alt-copy accompanied the traditional story very well, and did an excellent job of grabbing the attention of readers with its flowing and colorful layout. This article was well worth the read!

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  8. Aubrey Kelley on November 13th, 2017 11:13 pm

    This article was very interesting, it had a very good ratio of facts to quotes. I think the author did a nice job of portraying the overall experience that immigrants in America face today. I became a little confused on why refugees were tied into the article as well, I think it should have remained more focused on exchange students and immigration. I agreed with all of the information they included; the article seemed positive and made me feel connected to Zaid. The article seemed personal and represented what he went through and where he came from.

    [Reply]

  9. Noah Schoolman on November 14th, 2017 7:27 am

    Lots of cool interesting information on foreign exchange students. It was also cool to see what it’s like from their perspective. The article flowed very well and kept my interest too.

    [Reply]

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Zaíd shares journey to America