5 Questions With Syed Hussain

Dianna Jimenez, Staff Writer

Three weeks ago, seventeen year-old Syed Hussain, 11, finally immigrated to the United States from Pakistan in order to continue his studies after having waited thirteen years to procure a visa.


Q1: When and why did you apply to get a visa?

A1: I remember the date when our visa came. The night before I was preparing for school, which was the next day, and my father told me “Syed, you are going to the United States,” and I was like “oh my god, no way.” At the time, I was preparing my bag and wearing my uniform while checking myself out in the mirror saying “I’m looking good.” I told my mom “Look mom I’m looking very smart and good!” Comex College is Pakistan’s #1 ranking college and I got an admission for an IT course. I got my interview cleared, my test cleared, everything cleared. And after that, my dad told me I was going to the United States on the 7th of January. I was so upset I told my dad “No dad please don’t do that. I want to live over here. It’s a good life and good college.” My parents sent me here for studies. From my childhood I used to watch movies that showed how good high school life is. And now I’m sitting in high school. It’s not as good, because it’s going to take some time.


Q2: How did you feel when you received the news that you finally got your visa to come to the United States?

A2: I was very upset. I didn’t want to go anywhere because all my friends were in Pakistan, my cousins, and my whole family. I came here with my family and now my family went back to Pakistan. I’m living here alone, in a one-bedroom apartment. My father sends me money every week for food and everything. I love being alone. My parents are going to come here in a month. Living alone is not a big problem, but I do miss my family sometimes.


Q3: How different is the United States from Pakistan? What are some things you like or dislike?

A3: There’s a lot of differences between Pakistan and the United States. The United States is a really good country; it’s clean and safe. When I was in Pakistan, I used to buy Nokia phones so from my childhood to this age I got my thirteenth phone snatched on a gunpoint over there because Pakistan is not a safe country. I got shot over here [chest]. It’s now a hole, but I love the United States. Everything is good. People over here are good; they are friendly. In Pakistan, people have attitude with an ego.


Q4: Is school different or the same compared to back home?

Way different. When I was in Army Public School, it is a very strict school; you have to cut your hair, no beard, no mustache, nothing. And when I would enter the school they would check me for like ten minutes: my hairs and they take off my shirt. It was a strict school, but the studies were good. Now I feel free over here. This is the first time I’m growing my hairs because I love my hairs. As I told you, everytime I see myself in the mirror I say “Oh my god, I’m changing myself.” I feel very good over here. I feel free. I can do anything I want. I can make friends because I never had a friend girl, not a girlfriend, a friend that’s a girl.


Q5: What do you plan to do when you grow up?

A5: Engineering. I went to Saudi Arabia back in 2008 and I saw my uncle over there. His son is an IT engineer over there and he got a job in Microsoft; he was living a really good life. So he said “Sayed please promise me that you become an IT engineer,” so I said “I promise I will become an engineer.” I love computers. I used to always get good marks and 99% in computers, so I promised him that I would become an IT engineer. I plan to stay in California, because the schools are good and Downey High school is good. I specifically shifted over here in Downey because I heard that Downey High school is really good school. I heard this from my cousin who graduated from this school. She is 21 and she told me “Please go to Downey High school; it’s a good school. There’s more activities, you will see as compared to other schools.” So I said “yeah.” I love to play soccer, so when I came over here I said to my counselor that I’m going to play soccer here. The principal assistant said “You are a soccer player? I’m going to give you a trial and if you pass, you will get into Downey High’s soccer team. I was like “Yes! Yes!”