Lana Aldos, an 18-year-old sophomore at Loyola University Chicago, is majoring in neuroscience and anthropology. She is also Syrian-Muslim refugee, having moved to Chicago in the eighth grade, after fleeing with her family from the hazards of war — exploding bombs, gunshots from the rifles of government soldier, and a 7 p.m. wartime curfew.
Whenever the bombing occurred in her home-town of Daraa (where the revolution first started seven years ago), Ms. Aldos tells her college school paper, The Loyola Phoenix, that she remembers hiding in one specific room in her house and finding comfort in the adhan (the Muslim call to prayer) though it was banned after war broke out. “I remember because they banned the adhan, the call to prayer … our neighbor behind us would go up on the roof and he would sing the adhan, which was the most heartwarming thing I’ve ever witnessed,” Aldos recalled. “I remember everybody saying ‘Alhamdillah, Alhamdillah’ [Praise be to Allah].”
Ms. Aldos tells the school paper that attending college has been s life-altering experience, in amazing ways. “Starting here at Loyola, I’ve never met more of a diverse group of people around me.” She has found helpful resources at college including the office of Student Diversity and Multicultural Affairs (SDMA) which promotes diversity and multicultural awareness.
In the future, Ms. Aldos plans to return to the Middle East and help refugees with their medical needs. She says that every opportunity — and struggle — is a chance to grow. “I would study day and night just so I could learn English and get my own job,” says the savvy sophmore. “We are working hard to get where we are, to get where we want to be.”