Finding Freedom

Samer Mashay describes what it’s like to move countries


Photo Submitted By Samer Mashay

Samer Mashay takes a photo with a friend. “My friend moved to us and when the war cleared up, he moved back,” Mashay said. Mashay’s friend was one of the only people that moved to the US with him.

Samer Mashay (11) and his family fled war torn Iraq to be in a free country with opportunities.

“A lot of my family died, a lot of them lost their houses, became depressed moving away from their home country,” Mashay said. 

With the war, it took some time for Mashay’s family to settle down. 

“I was five years old when I fled Iraq and moved around to eight countries before moving to the United States when I was around seven years old,” Mashay said. 

Moving to a new country often means adjusting to a new lifestyle.

“People, culture, a lot of things are different, but a lot is also the same. The biggest difference is probably Iraq forces you to worship things like religion and is like a dictatorship and [there’s] not many freedoms, like protesting can get you killed,” Mashay said.

A major impact on Mashay was losing his only friend. Though he moved to the US initially, he moved back to Iraq after the war. This made it harder for Mashay to adapt to American culture.

“We struggled to get used to the country because me and my parents weren’t from here,” Mashay said, “and didn’t know much about the social standard of the US.”