Meet Amir Samadyar - 2012 Newcomers Bursary Winner
My Name is Amir Samadyar. When I was a boy, my parents left everything and everyone behind in order to start a new life. Beginning a new life was not easy and it did not happen quickly; it was a 15 year process. My ethnicity is complex. My parents are Afghan, but I was born and grew up in Iran. So, I`ve never acutally been to my `homeland`. Compared to many Afghans living in Iran, my life was fairly decent. In Iran, not every Afgahni child has the opportunity to go to school, unless the family pays the Iranian goverment. My mother was able to pay for me and my silbings to go to school through money she made through embroidery work. Although our life in Iran was tolerable, my family dreamed of being able to offer their children access to post-secondary education, but this would not be possible for us, as Afghans, if we stayed in Iran. Thus, when I was seven years old, my dad took my older brother with him to Germany to find us a better place to live; unfortunat- ley, my father did not have success finding us a new life in Germany. My dad was forced to move back to Afghanistan and sadly, I have not seen him since. It has been difficult to grow up without my father and the sacrifices he has made for our family compel me to succeed.
After five long years of waiting, Canada accepted my family and we rebuilt our lives here. The night that we came to Canada was my thirteenth birthday. I always tell people that the best birthday present I have recieved was a plane ticket to Canada. When I started school in Canada, I promised myself that I would try my hardest to get the best grades possible. At times academics were very difficult for me, especially because I barely spoke any English when I first arrived in Canada. I am now a senior at F.W. Johnson Collegiate and I try to set examples for younger students. I am very involved in extracurricular activities at my school such as outdoor school leadership, speaking at Rememberance Day and our school`s multi-cultural Diversity Day, and being involved in nearly every athletic team at our school.
Next year, I plan to study petroleum engineering at the University of Regina because I really enjoy math and chemistry. I think being a engineer will enable me to enjoy my work life while making enough money for myself and my future family. Althought I have been working hard at my part-time job at a gas station, the cost of post-secondary education exceeds what I can afford. As previously mentioned, my father is still in Afghanistan and my family of six survives on my mother`s modest salary she earns with her embroidery work. Much of my income from my part-time job goes to help my mom and the rest of our family in Afghanistan. When I was child, I watched my parents sacrifice what they had so their children could realize their dreams. And now that Canada has given me the gift of a new life, I look forward to not only achievieng my dreams for myself, but for my family as well.
Thank you very much for this bursary.