Iraqi student, Riyam Al-Karkokliy, finds her place at Regis
Two years ago, Riyam Al-Karkokliy was finishing high school in her hometown of Baghdad, Iraq, and unsure of her future. Today, Riyam is the first student to study in Colorado through the Iraqi Student Project (ISP) and is gaining a new perspective at Regis University on how she can make an impact in her community.
In Iraq, Riyam was at the top of her class and was chosen to study architectural engineering, but felt that she was being called elsewhere. Her life changed when she discovered ISP, a grassroots effort to help educate war-displaced Iraqi students who intend to return home to participate in rebuilding their country. Riyam applied for the program, was accepted and moved to Syria for a year of preparation before coming to the United States. ISP also pointed Riyam toward Regis, where she received a full scholarship and began her studies in August 2012.
Riyam’s decision wasn’t without sacrifice. By leaving her family to study abroad, she was breaking a cultural tradition, which was initially tough for her family to accept.
Today, Riyam feels Regis is her home away from home.
“I didn’t imagine a university would fit my personality so well. I have fallen in love with Regis’ focus on the community and its emphasis on learning to serve people,” Riyam said.
Through Regis’ liberal arts education, Riyam also discovered her ability to make a difference in the world and her local community – something she had never considered before.
“There are a lot of people who have high hopes for me, so when I study I don’t study just for me, but for them, too,” she said.
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