Refugee Stories: Why I want to become a cardiovascular surgeon | The Refugee Center Online

Assala, Ethiopia, is the place I was born. I came from a village,  a village where hard work contributes to all aspects of life, even the smallest thing.

Children in a poverty-stricken village in Ethiopia had limited access to education. It took miles to reach school. Being able to receive a great education in my home country was as if you had won a lottery ticket.

I remember when I was around the age of eight, I had to walk tw0-plus miles just to get to school, and that same distance to come back.

I went to a large public school called Chefe Public School, where 100 plus students were in one classroom. At an early age, I learned that my education is something that can empower, and help people reach their goals. I dreamed of being able to learn in a small classroom where I could actually get to know the teacher and the students well. I could not conceive the idea that education can be taken lightly.

Four years later, I was able to finally receive a coveted American education that I would not take for granted. My culture engraved in me the value of education and its power to help kids reach their goals in life. Even though I could not engage with the American culture, I was able to understand that it takes dedication and hard work to achieve my goals of going to a prestigious college, becoming a top academic student, and going to a Pre-Medical school; something my parents were never able to acquire.

Four years later, I was able to finally receive a coveted American education that I would not take for granted. My culture engraved in me the value of education and its power to help others reach their goals in life. Even though I could not engage with the American culture, I was able to understand that it takes dedication and hard work to achieve my goals of going to a prestigious college, becoming a top academic student, and going to a Pre-Medical school; something my parents were never able to acquire.

I have a deep desire to enhance the lives of others.

There is or was a lack of good cardiovascular surgeons in Ethiopia. I remember my young friend suffering from heart disease in sixth grade, but he couldn’t get the proper medical attention because he didn’t have the money to go outside of Ethiopia to get the treatment he needed for his medical condition. Becoming a cardiovascular surgeon emerged inside me at that moment because I was tired of seeing hundreds of people dying from lack of good medical care.

My career goals are to attend college and medical school, to become a top academic student, and eventually to become a respected cardiovascular surgeon.

I intend to go back to Ethiopia to assist those who are in need of medical care, especially those who are left out by the government. As a first generation student to go to college, I use my two-mile walk and my childhood friend’s medical condition as a symbol to overcome obstacles, strive for something great, and to shape my future as a doctor.

Refugees shaking hands

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About Abel Getachew
Abel is a refugee from Ethiopia who dreams of becoming a doctor. He interned for the Refugee Center Online the summer of 2017.