Beyond My Comfort Zone

When I was 15 years old I received a scholarship to attend a year of high school in the United States. I had to leave my family and my comfort zone.

I couldn’t imagine the place I was going or what would happen to me. It was very difficult for me to leave my family and my home for a strange country. My family was worried about me and did not agree with me going to the United States, but they allowed me to go.

This one year gave me a broader outlook on the world and changed my life. I believe that the unique blend of a new experience, and distance from what was familiar and friendly made me a stronger woman.

During my year in the United States, I learned different ideas about how to define a comfortable life. These new ideas are helpful when I consider positive changes for my country’s future. Furthermore, my academic journey helped me to develop and strengthen leadership and communication skills. I also learned about team work and mentoring.

Most important, I became serious about completing a higher education. Before going to the United States, I did not expect to continue my education after high school. Most girls, including me, thought that when you have a nice family and a nice house, you are comfortable and have everything you need. But after a year in the United States, I saw the importance of having an advanced education.

I discovered that women who go to college can be as active and smart as men. I realized that I was wrong about my opinion of what comfort means. Comfort to me now means a nice home, safety, and more education. I learned that by helping others I help myself gain peace of mind, which makes me happy.

I also learned that if Afghans want to live peacefully, we must bring peace to our country. Afghanistan needs potential Afghan leaders and skillful Afghan policymakers to rescue the country from internal conflicts. Skillful leaders will help rebuild the destroyed society, deal with the economic situation, raise the standard of living, and develop a good and effective education system.

Afghanistan also needs to establish efficient regional and international relations and allow women to participate in their community. In order to bring all these changes, future Afghan leaders must have an education with a broad, global understanding.

My year spent out of my comfort zone made me stronger, wiser, and braver to fight against the current life women have in Afghanistan. I am now taking leadership classes and working hard to make my ideas a reality. By fulfilling my dreams I can increase my prospects for a better and more rewarding professional career, and will help the next Afghan generation.

We have a proverb: “When a man is educated only one person is educated, but when a woman is educated the whole family is educated.” I am grateful for the opportunity to help my fellow Afghans, especially the women!

By Angela


  1. Nicole D says:

    Hi there,

    I commend you for taking the risk and going against your comfort zone to come to the United States and study. It is usually in situations that we are most uncomfortable that we begin to discover more about ourselves.

    As a college student in the United States, I wanted to share with you my thoughts on education and what it means in today’s world (to me). In a world that is constantly changing, the one aspect of our lives that we can always hold on to is our education. We can lose a job, we can lose our house, we even lose the immediate presence of family members and friends; however, the value of our education and what we learn from our experiences during those times are always ours.

    May you continue to have success in your educational endeavors and be hopeful that you can be a voice of change for your future.

  2. Terri D says:

    Angela, I agree with Nicole and wish you much success. I also wanted to say I am impressed by your writing skills. You story is very clear and nicely done. When did you learn English?

  3. Meghan H says:


    Your story is an inspiring one. I commend you for taking the risk to come to the United States. It is not every day that we go beyond what is expected of us, and I believe you have made the first step towards independence in taking a risk like you did. I am proud of you for your decision.

    Because you have made the decision to learn beyond your own culture, you are now finding ways to improve your own life and the lives of women in Afghanistan.

    Your story is full of hope and passion and has made me proud to be a woman.

    Good luck on your journey.

  4. Bernadette says:

    I congratulate you for stepping outside the conventional box and exploring the World beyond your homeland borders. It will be up to your generation to solidify the changes needed for Freedom and balance that is needed World-wide. Change has already begun as evidenced by your journey. Just think how you will impact those girls younger than you when you return home! Many blessings and THANK YOU!

  5. Amanda D. says:

    I think it is very inspiring that you went out of your comfort zone to experience a new culture and advance your education. I agree with the above comments about how education is one of the most valuable things that women can have because you are right, when women are educated everyone is educated. Thank you for sharing your story it was very well written and thought out!

  6. Emily D. says:

    Your story is so inspiring! I know I would not have had the courage to go to school in a foreign country. Taking the risk and coming to the United States to study is a commendable action. Your story could have a big impact on other women all over the world. Thank you for sharing your story. Good luck in your future educational undertakings!

  7. Kimberly V. says:

    Your story is amazing! Going out of one’s comfort zone is not an easy task for anyone, and coming to the US is something that is definitely inspiring. Valuing education and taking that step to educate yourself was a bold yet rewarding choice. I hope you keep writing and look forward to reading your next piece.

  8. Samanta L says:

    Angela- A motivating one! plz keep writing. Looking forward to read your next piece.

  9. Bree D. says:

    Angela, you should be so proud of yourself for taking a giant leap and stepping out of your comfort zone. I wish I had the courage to do the same, maybe I will soon after reading this. I can only imagine how difficult it was to make the adult decision to go to the US for one year away from everything you knew.

  10. Your story is very inspiring to me because of all your effort and courage for taking this step in life!

  11. Madison says:

    Your courage and motivation is absolutely inspiring! As an American college student myself, I often take my education for granted. Reading your story has reminded me of what a precious gift my education truly is, and has given me the extra motivation to continue to pursue my dreams. I wish you lots of luck in your courageous endeavors to help your future Afghan women!

  12. Xavier Green says:

    This story interested me a lot!

  13. Carly Muir says:

    Dear Angela,
    My name is Carly and I am currently a second year college student in California at Saint Mary’s College. Congratulations on getting a scholarship for high school in the United States. That is so amazing! I would imagine it being hard to leave your family for a year and come to the U.S., somewhere where you have never been before. I am glad to know that this yearlong trip was worthwhile and life changing, to where it broadened your horizons to keep up with an education. It is exciting that this trip opened your eyes to go onto get a higher education. After I graduate from college I plan to go to graduate school to become a child psychologist and teacher. I am so happy to hear that the United States made you a stronger person and gave you a new perspective on life. You are able to see what Afghanistan needs to establish for the women to become more involved in the community. It really sounds like this trip taught you so much. I am glad you are pursuing your dreams and not giving up! You are such a positive woman! Keep your head up and never give up!!


  14. Dear Angela,
    I found this writing particularly interesting and can relate to it in some ways. I think it is great that you were able to get a scholarship and come to the United States for a year to pursue higher education. I think that sometimes people take advantage of higher education and do not get anything out of it except for a degree. School has never really been my favorite thing and when I graduated from high school, I was contemplating whether I wanted to go to college or not. Looking back, I am very glad that I did because, like you, in the year that I was away from home, I grew up in many ways. I really applaud you for taking the opportunity to get a higher education because it really seems like you have grown up significantly and are going to take what you learned to help bring change to Afghanistan. After reading your writing, I now have a new outlook on how to use my education in the future and I have figured out that I can make a difference. I hope that you can continue making a difference in Afghanistan and keep working hard!


  15. Krystina says:

    You have a very inspiring story here! I love that you have stepped out of our comfort zone. Going to college and being away from family is not easy, but it is necessary to achieve success and a better life. Here in America, many people take college for granted. Some people at my school get kicked out or fail many of their classes. They don’t know how lucky they are to get an opportunity to go to school. Also, I’m glad you brought up women becoming more educated than men. This is a topic that is brought up very often, especially within one of my classes at my school. We talk about many social issues that happen in America, specifically this one. I think it’s a great thing that women are become more educated. I enjoyed your story very much.

  16. Dear Angela,

    My name is Alayna and I am a first year transfer at Saint Mary’s College of California. This school has taught me how important it is to connect with your community and that is why I found your story to be so inspiring. It takes a strong person to step out of their comfort zone and take the initiative to make a difference in this world. I think its great that you chose to take the scholarship in America so you could experience a different place. You took a chance at higher education and it really made you grow as a person, so the risk you took paid off. It is amazing how living in a different environment can totally change your perspectives. I applaud you for having the strength to leave your family while starting your journey because that was the hardest part for me when I left for college. When your are in a strange place all alone, you are forced to be responsible and make the right choices, but those kind of experiences are what makes you a stronger person. I loved that you stepped out of your comfort zone and I feel like a lot more people have to do that in order to achieve their greatest success. I love the proverb you brought up at the end because in many cases that is so true. There are many women who are stronger than men, take more risks, and are willing to sacrifice more in order to succeed. I can imagine one of those women being you. You prove to everyone that one person can make a difference and gender does not matter. I really enjoyed reading your story. This world needs more women like you! I have so much respect for you and I hope you are able to continue making a difference in Afghanistan. You are so positive and I hope that your spirit will embrace others along your journey. Take care and God bless!


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