Goodnight Scholar and Biochemistry major, Maab Aldulimy T’23, is committed to two academic and professional goals, graduate from medical school and join Doctors Without Borders. After spending 10 years as a refugee with her family in Jordan as a result of the Iraq war, Maab explains that the goal of becoming a part of the Doctors Without Borders organization is deeply personal, and stems from her own lived experiences in the Middle East. Read more about this soon to be early graduate from NC State and future doctor in our latest Goodnight Scholars Spotlight!
Goodnight Scholars Program: Tell us about yourself!
Maab Aldulimy T’23: I am majoring in Biochemistry. I am part of the transfer class of 2023. Technically I am a senior at NCSU but it’s only my second year at NC state. In the United States my hometown would be Cary, but I have two other hometowns in Iraq and Jordan. I plan to graduate in the upcoming fall semester and then prepare to apply for medical school.
Some of your hobbies include art and travel! Where is a place that you have traveled that you recommend visiting, and where is one place you hope to visit soon?
I would highly recommend visiting Istanbul in Turkey. The amount of history in this one city is incredible. It was part of both the Byzantine and Ottoman empires. The cultural impact of both empires can still be seen today in everything from the architecture to the food. Growing up I learned about the influence of these empires and getting to see it for myself when I visited Istanbul was enchanting. In the future I hope to visit Italy and Spain, since growing up I learned about the middleastern and Islamic influence in these countries and I would love to experience their cultures. I think it will be fascinating to be able to draw parallels between my culture and theirs.
What are your favorite aspects about being in the Goodnight Scholars Program?
There are many aspects of the Goodnight Scholars program that I enjoy. I like having a community to rely on and share my experiences with. I really enjoy meeting the different scholars and hearing their stories and the journeys they took to get to the program. I also really enjoy the community service events that the scholarship hosts and find that the events and trips are great opportunities to really get to know all the scholars. I was lucky enough to go to Boston with some of the other scholars last semester. Looking back I really enjoyed the trip and was able to make some awesome memories. I could probably go on and on about many of the other aspects that I love about the program, but to summarize I think my favorite aspect of the Goodnight Scholars program are the Goodnight scholars.
Can you tell us about your journey to the United States as a refugee and how that experience inspired you to help others?
I guess my Journey begins with the war between Iraq and the United States. My family and I became refugees as a result of the war. As a child my dad would tell me about how beautiful Iraq once was, but the reality that I was faced with was that of war. Thankfully my family and I escaped the war, we fled to the neighboring country of Jordan, I spent the majority of my childhood in this country. I vividly remember the refugee camps, the smell of the plastic tents as they seemingly melted on the hot summer days. I remember the excitement when we moved into the two-room apartment below the fabric factory, it was my childhood castle. The VW Beetle which served as my magical carriage, how the whole neighborhood would help my dad push the car downhill, and then we would jump in. There are just so many memories of the ten years I spent as a refugee in Jordan. I could not possibly talk of all of them here but suffice it to say that I am sure that these experiences largely shape who I am today. As for how my family and I ended up in the United States, one day all the Iraqi kids in school were put into vans and taken to the United Nations headquarters. Our families then filled out applications agreeing to take refugee in any country outside of the middle east. It was just fate that our refugee case was accepted by the United States and not another country at the time. When we landed in the United States of America, our first night we slept on top of our luggage in the airport. In the years after that night my family faced one struggle after the other, there was just so much we did not know. I stood witness as my father worked night and day to secure our providence and a fire was kindled within me to help others as a result of our struggles with foreignness and poverty. In a way our struggles helped me understand how important it is to help others. The way I see it is that I probably would not be here today without the help and altruistic actions of many other people. And so now that I am capable of taking action, it is time for me to lend a helping hand.
You have a dream to join doctors without borders! Where did this dream come from and are you in the process of getting a location?
This dream came as a result of the experiences I lived through and the situations that I saw in the middle east. It is hard to describe in words but I will briefly describe one of the situations that lead to this dream. When I was a refugee in Jordan my family lived close to the borders with the Palestinian Gaza strip. At the time there was a barricade on Gaza and no medical equipment was allowed inside. This meant that when Israeli missiles hit the civilian areas there was a lack of both medical supplies and doctors. I would hear the missiles as they hit the nearby areas and all I could do was pray. I remember wishing that there would be an organization that would disregard the barricades and absurd borders and just help the civilians. I think it was situations like this that paved the way for this dream. As for getting a location, I would say that is a question that I can answer maybe five years from now. I still need to get into medical school first and then when the time comes, and I become a doctor then I will look to see which area needs the most help and make that decision.