International student struggles to find positives among U.S.-Iran disparities


Ryan Sajjady.

Jacob Gajda

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For many, finals can be a stressful time, but one Iranian student is feeling all this pressure and some more.

Iranian international student Arian Sajjady has been in America and Kent for two years. Ryan, as his friends call him is studying biochemical engineering at Kent State. His father wanted him to pursue an American education and soon after he found himself in Kent.

In recent times, Sajjady has had a series of issues to deal with politically as relations between the U.S. and Iran deteriorate.

Recent economic sanctions from President Donald Trump have greatly harmed the Iranian economy, the effects of which have been felt by Sajjady.

One of Iran’s currency would add up to one American dollar, but now it takes 13 of Iran’s currency to total $1.

This became an issue for Sajjady as his parents would send him money to help pay for things like tuition and living expenses. Things are complicated workwise for Sajjady as international students are only permitted to work on campus and are limited to 20 hours a week during the school year.

“The only way to pay for tuition if you don’t have a scholarship, would be the money that like your parents would help to pay for tuition,” Sajjady said.

This is not enough to even come close to paying for tuition.

Sajjady is struggling to stay afloat financially and was forced to drop his fraternity.

His fraternity brothers served as his family away from home, and he made his best friends there —  friends that helped him adapt to a new culture and country.

Ryan is left wondering where to turn. He doesn’t know if he should stick things out in Kent, or return to his family back in Iran, whom he hasn’t seen since 2016 due to financial restrictions related to U.S.-Iranian relations.

“Life is a ride, it has its up and downs, but I think staying positive is important,” Sajjady said.

Recently, Sajjady was sworn into a new role on Kent State’s Undergraduate Student Government. His role is the Senator for International Students and seeks to help those who are going through the struggles he himself has experienced as an international student.  

“I spend a lot of time at the gym try to stay healthy, I think in order to be mentally healthy I think you need to be physically healthy, I think that helps,” Sajjady said.

Jacob Gajda is a Kent State journalism student. Contact him at [email protected].