A New Beginning: Daring to Dream

Dr. Fekrat’s resume is crowded with remarkable achievements in medicine. Despite having 13 years’ experience as an obstetrics and gynecology specialist, the lack of necessary linguistic skills became her biggest obstacle in pursuing her passion here in the United States. Dr. Fekrat was evacuated from Afghanistan after the fall of the Afghan government. The challenges of starting a new life did not prevent her from pursuing her dreams. Therefore, she decided to join online ESL classes offered at SGE. She said: “In order to adjust to the new environment and pursue my goals, I knew I had to break the language barrier. My goal was to keep my profession and practice medicine as a doctor here in Virginia.”

Dr. Fekrat was resettled by Lutheran Social Services of the National Capital Area (LSSNCA) and connected with SGE for its pre-intermediate ESL class in October 2021. In order to work in her field, Dr. Fekrat’s goal was to pass the exam for the American Registry for Diagnostic Medical Sonography.

Less than a year after starting English learning classes, Dr. Fekrat successfully passed the ARDMS qualifications in August 2022. She said that studying ESL at SGE helped her become fluent in English and learn about life and culture in the United States. She stated, “Studying English helped me learn about US culture, improve my public speaking skills and build confidence for studying other subjects.”

Her message for Afghan refugees is “The United States is a land of opportunities. Keep trying and face your challenges. Set up goals for yourself and then try to choose the right path towards achieving them. No matter how many challenges you face, keep moving, keep trying. You will succeed.”