Daughter of former Afghan interpreter has a dream of her own: to become a doctor


Every dream starts somewhere.

Aisha traces her dream back to when she was a kid.

She was born and raised in Afghanistan. Aisha and her family made it to Cape Coral last week after escaping the Taliban rule. Her father Frank was an interpreter for a Green Beret from Cape Coral who helped him flee his home country.

Aisha’s dream is to become a heart surgeon.

“I didn’t know how to talk in English, or how to read in English or how to, I don’t know anything in English. But then my father just give me a graded science book,” Aisha said.

To make her dream come true, Aisha said she comes home and practices her English with her dad.

She said when she reads and she comes across a word she doesn’t understand, she underlines it, highlights it and writes it down a couple of times, then looks up the definition and also writes that down too.

Her dad also helps her.

“He starts with me from the first page … how to learn English by myself, like alone without any courses and videos, any teachers or anything.”

She hopes to help her dad with his heart condition after she becomes a doctor.

“For sure, I have a some heart problem,” Frank said. “We don’t have that much health facility to go into check what’s wrong with me? So I’ve never been in hospital.”

Aisha said her dad really needed a doctor.

“That motivates me more and more to study on via doctor as soon as possible,” Aisha said.

In Afghanistan, Aisha was told that her brothers could become doctors but she could not.

“He’s going to be a doctor,” Aisha said. “He’s going to be that engineer. He’s going to be blah blah blah. Why haven’t you choose anything for me? Then I become jealous. Then I become like, so angry. I will be a heart doctor before him and I will prove myself to you that I can do it.”

Frank said he is optimistic about his daughter achieving her dream.

“She has energy and she’s like, eager to learn and to make progress,” Frank said.

How can her high school education in Afghanistan translate to the United States?

Her education equates to about the 12th grade in the U.S.

Experts with FGCU said she can either take the G.E.D. now to get into college or enjoy a senior year of high school.

“And when she sees all the women in these positions on our campus, who are successful, who did what she’s got to do, it motivates you,” said Lisa Johnson, associate vice president for Enrollment Management at FGCU.

“We want her to see also strong women role models, who have been successful,” Johnson said. “I want her to know that when you have no money, and you come from a background where people haven’t done it before you, you can be that trailblazer and you can do it.”

Emily Liu works in international admissions at FGCU.

She moved to the U.S. from China when she was 29 years old.

“This is a country that can make students become what they want to become,” Liu said.

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