Meet Nafisa! The Fall 2021 Sophomore from Afghanistan studying International Relations and Development at LCC International University. A recipient of the Middle Eastern Scholars Award, Nafisa is one of the students who spent the entirety of last year studying remotely. Now she is happy to finally be on campus and is already engaging with the LCC community by teaching at the English Language Summer Camps.
Nafisa Ayazi happened to be one out of millions of people - people who tried to lead normal lives, full of both daily struggles and aspirations for the luminous future; people for whom war, bombs, and the eternal dread for safety denied any hope for either a normal life or a bright future.
Nafisa and her family spent four years living in distant Indonesia, where she finished high school and started working with non-profit organizations. Nafisa spent a couple of years at the Roshan Learning Center (RLC), an organization that offers educational opportunities for refugees from the Middle East. There the young woman taught English to teenagers as well as helped coordinate various events. “Giving back to the community is crucial, even if in a small way,” she said.
The community, however, ended up giving back to her too. One of the directors at the Roshan Learning Center happened to know a professor at LCC. That woman introduced LCC to some at RLC - this was Nafisas’s first acquaintance with the Lithuanian liberal arts university. The opportunities to study in Indonesia weren’t truly there for the prospective student, so after doing more research she concluded that LCC could be the right place for her. The woman had always wanted to study outside her own country; and, although she speaks several languages, she is fluent only in English other than her native tongue.
Additionally, the Middle Eastern Scholars (MES) program helped Nafisa enroll in LCC and continue her studies in the field of International Relations and Development (IRD). This student from Afghanistan shares one of the reasons why LCC was a better option for her. The financial support she received was of primary importance. As she had already had many obstacles to continue her higher education, including her financial status. The MES scholarship helped the student solve this problem and continue her studies in a field she is passionate about.
Nafisa opted to become an IRD student because she had already had experience in the field, and saw how working in the area can create a positive impact. Studying IRD is a good opportunity to expand what she already knows and has done. How was it to spend the entire first academic year online? Well, the sophomore-to-be says, it was chaotic - one time she even had to attend a class in a parking lot! Fortunately, all of her professors were understanding, friendly, and always willing to help. Still, there was a sense of disconnect coming from a lack of face-to-face contact. Now Nafisa contrasts the disconnect with how good she feels on the campus, being able to meet people and make connections with people from a variety of backgrounds. “That’s one of the main reasons why I wanted to come to LCC,” she expresses, excited about her future at LCC. Nafisa is already making a difference in the LCC community, being a teacher at LCC’s English Summer Camps for kids and teenagers.
In the future, this student wants to do more non-governmental and non-profit work, especially with women and children in Afghanistan. Nafisa wishes to go back to her country one day. She sees two essential changes needed for the people in Afghanistan: proper education for kids and employment opportunities for women. As far as education goes, Nafisa has seen that the whole education system in Afghanistan does not emphasize practical skills and does not help kids discover their passions. She sees a possibility to establish centers to get kids together and help them discover their passions in life. As for the women, Nafisa has also noticed the lack of career opportunities. Starting a program that helps employ women would be a great help for these women and the community at large.