A Long Way from Home, Pursuing a Dream of College

Awet Eyob fled his Eritrean homeland in 2010 in hopes of pursuing a dream to earn a college degree in the United States. Eritrea MapAn eager student and aspiring basketball player, Eyob spoke to Ursinus students about the challenges of his journey, the aspirations he has for the future, and his first impressions of life in the United States. Now 22, Eyob lives and works in Brooklyn.

Students in Ambassador Joe Melrose’s International Relations Africa class heard from the soft-spoken refugee about his experiences as one of Eritrea’s “lost generation.” Eyob paid human traffickers to smuggle him out of the troubled country.  His plan is to earn a degree in business and eventually return to Eritrea when the political climate there has changed.

“My friends and I have not stopped talking about Awet Eyob’s visit,” says Cait Harley 2013. “He was the most interesting speaker I have ever heard and the most inspiring story that I can imagine.Having him speak to us today truly opened our eyes.”

Eritrea gained independence nearly 20 years ago and is ruled by former revolutionaries who have held to strict governing policies. Eritrea has been ruled since its inception by President Isaias Afewerki, who had led the rebellion.