Rijad Brkic comes home from a long day of school and lays down on his bed. He closes his eyes and dreams of his family, friends, and his childhood home, all of which are located in Bosnia. Although he chose to come to America for the educational benefits, his entire life is 4,353 miles away from the small city of Milford.
Rijad was born in Derby, Connecticut and lived in America for the first two years of his life. When he was two years old, his father, mother, and himself were involved in a car accident. Tragically, his mother died while trying to shield him from the crash. Because of this horrible turn of events, Rijad’s father decided to move to Bosnia to be with their family. After 15 years of living in Bosnia, Rijad decided it was time to return to America, primarily because he was going to start college.
Currently, Rijad lives with his aunt, uncle, and two cousins. His father still resides in Bosnia with his step mother, step sister, and half brother. When asked what he thought of America, Rijad said, “America is really a better place economically and visually. I came here for the educational advantages and dreamed of attending Sacred Heart University, but something I noticed was that the people are more accepting here. In Bosnia, they are more traditional and nationalist. We are still fighting with the Arabians for coming into our land. There was a war that lasted for 4 years in Bosnia and made people fear for their lives. The country is still improving and recovering from it, but it is drastically different from America.”
Although Rijad only came to Milford 6 months ago, he has adjusted fairly well and even managed to make several friends. Sarah Galaburri, a senior at Foran high school, says, “From my point of view, I’d say Rijad is adjusting pretty well to Foran. He’s definitely made some friends through sports which is great and I can say he’s also made friends in his classes, myself being one of them. School is a challenge but I know he handles it well.”
When asked how Rijad has changed, Lejla Nuhbegovic, Rijad’s cousin, said, “For the last few months, he’s been more independent and learned how to live and control himself better. He is also becoming more extroverted and less shy. He finally has friends that accept him for who he is and he feels happier now.” Even though Rijad gets homesick frequently, he’s becoming more independent.
Rijad takes Marine Science, which is taught by Ms. Laura Donovan. When asked about Rijad, she said, “I have noticed that Rijad has come out of his shell a bit more as the year has progressed. He enjoys sharing about his life abroad, which is really great because we have the opportunity to learn all about a different culture.”