Syrian-born Aya Attal finds success in Pittsburgh | The Refugee Center Online Hall of Fame

Syrian-born Aya Attal finds success in Pittsburgh

Yet a Teenager, Syrian-born Aya Attal is Finding Success in Pittsburgh

Hailing from Damascus, Syria Aya Attal and her family fled the country for their safety and arrived, as refugees in Pittsburgh, Pennslyvania in 2016. Quite simply, Attal explains her experience in America as a struggle.

Studying a college-level nursing course in the Carlow University’s High School to College program while a teenager, life wasn’t easy. While she graduated last year, Attal has had difficulties to fully understand English medical terms. Not to mention the prejudice she has faced in her school and community. Though she at one time felt like she was failing academically, she eventually graduated from the program at the top of her class and is currently enrolled at Carlow University as a pre-medical student.

Pittsburgh Mayor Bill Peduto originally planned to invite 500 refugees to the city of bridges two years ago.

However, about half this number was actually resettled. Mayor Peduto still extends his hand of welcome and often defends Pittsburgh’s refugees. Attempting to educate others about her experience, Attal attended a meet up with 8 other refugees to share her experiences in Pittsburgh with the mayor himself. Many refugees living in the area struggle financially and deal with a lot of discrimination on the basis of their faith. This discrimination is unfortunately very familiar to Attal.

While Attal’s experience is not that of a typical teenager, many young refugees arriving in America deal with similar stress. Speaking up about her concerns over the refugee experience in Pittsburgh, Attal cited lack of support as the main concern.

Unlike older generations, they have the chance to attend English classes and be mainstreamed into schools until they begin higher education. Using her arrival in Pittsburgh as a launching point for her bright future, Attal is a shining example of never giving up, no matter how hard the struggle to get there.

Refugees shaking hands

Find help near you

Search for programs and resources in your city.

Start your search

About Hall of Fame
The Refugee Center Online Hall of Fame features refugees and immigrants from around the United States who are making a difference in their communities. At the Refugee Center Online, we believe newcomers make our country a better place. The individuals we feature show exactly that - they are examples of how immigrants and refugees contribute to our country. If you are interested in being featured or would like to nominate an individual to be featured in our Hall of Fame, email: wilson@therefugeecenter.org.