Iraqi Voices

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The List Project enjoys adding new voices to our blog and encourages our U.S. Iraqi allies to write about issues that are important to them through our blog. Below is the first in a series by one of our Iraqi allies, Ubaida. Many Iraqis resettled in the U.S. have the dream of returning to school or getting back into their professional field, but are unaware of the extensive and expensive process to do so. Over the next few weeks, Ubaida will be sharing his experiences of starting over here in the U.S. and returning to school.

My Engineering Masters Degree in the United States of America Part I

My name is Ubaida and I have recently been resettled in Seattle Washington. After completing my undergraduate studies in 2004 at the industrial engineering program at the University of Technology in Baghdad 2004 and being the 8th out of 40 students, I was eligible to start the graduate studies in the same specialty after passing certain exams. But after thinking about it many times, I made the decision to not get back to school before finding a job. I had a friend, who after graduating from university had a chance to work with Bechtel, one of the biggest engineering companies in the world. This company was working for the United Stated government agency all over the country as a part of Iraq reconstruction efforts. My friend called me and told me there were some opportunities to work with the company. After that, I got a job with them as a young engineer on their crew. Because Bechtel was investing in new engineers, they enrolled me in more than seven training courses in the first ten months. There was an online university, Bechtel Online University, and it was available for us as part of the team. We would also contact consultants and professionals in case we needed help in our work. It was an awesome experience, and from that time on, my dream was to become a graduate student at a U.S. university (so that I could work towards becoming a professional engineer.) However, after more than two years, I left Bechtel because the program was shutting down and continued to work in other programs funded by the USG (U.S. Government). I continued working with the USG until 2006, when I received threatening letters because of my work for the U.S. I fled to Syria, where I heard from my friends that there was an organization working on helping Iraqi allies to resettle in the United States and they call it THE LIST PROJECT. I had always dreamed of becoming a U.S. graduate student and felt was now its achievable. I was telling myself I could make it, I started encouraging myself to get my resettlement process done as soon as possible so I could start my studies. I made a combined effort in both in searching for universities and institutes as well as submitting my immigration applications to the United States government agencies. After many months I arrived to the United States of America and the challenges only just started…

In the next part I will discuss the situation after arrival and having in depth discussion with more than 10 universities across the country and what I found has been a good way to build-up my professional career.


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