Like any immigrant, Said still faces the difficulties of integrating into a new culture. “In Afghanistan, children respect their father,” he shares, frustrated with some aspects of American society. Said grew up learning six languages: Russian, Pashto, Dari, Farsi, Urdu, and English.
He moved to Russia for school, performing at the top of his class for a master’s degree in Political Science and History of the World. After facing rampant corruption with the local mafia, Said and his family were awarded political asylum in the United States. They chose to settle in Portland, Oregon.
Reflecting on his six years in America, Said opens up about the many ups and downs that he has faced. One positive note is his work as an interpreter. Needing an interpreter himself early on, he had the realization, I can be an interpreter, too!
Working since October 2014, Said attended the OHCIA’s health care interpreter training this year. “This is not only [a] training; it open my eyes,” he exclaims. Especially enlightening for Said were the ethical scenarios; he learned the importance of telling patients directly about their condition without omitting anything. Today Said is moving towards qualification in Russian, and he hopes to write a book about the history of Afghanistan.