Long Journey Coming to a Start


I have always thought that finishing my last architectural studio at Illinois Tech would be the end to my 6-year-long journey of studying architecture, a journey that I started in 2009 at the college of Architecture in Damascus University, Syria. However, ever since I presented my last project in December, I have had life-changing experiences that changed the way I imagined my career, and my entire life course.

While still trying to adapt to the fact that I don’t have to be running towards Crown Hall every Monday, Wednesday and Friday around 2:01 pm, I received a letter from the Graduate School of Architecture, Planning and Preservation at Columbia University offering me admission to an Urban Design masters I had applied to in January. A letter that I have never dreamt of receiving, at least not while still in Syria trying to figure out how to keep my dream alive in the midst of the chaos inside my Damascus University and outside of it.

Less than a month later, I received a call from one of the biggest architecture firms in the world, Skidmore, Owings and Merrrill (SOM), offering me an amazing opportunity to join their team even if I had to leave in few months to join the masters program I had been admitted to in New York. Spoiler Alert, I took it.

Today, four months later, I just finished my first day of classes at Columbia and I can’t help but to take a minute to look back and show appreciation to the one event that triggered this chain of amazing events that changed in my life. My admission to Illinois Institute of Technology, their incredible scholarship program in partnership with Jusoor, and all the people at IIT who made this possible.

My journey is just starting at Columbia, and I can’t wait to see what the future holds for me. And how I will be able to contribute through my education to a better future for Syria and to any community I would live in.

Majed Abdulsamad

Columbia University GSAPP| M.S. AUD 2017
Illinois Institute of Technology| B. Arch 2015



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