OU Graduate Prepared for International Scene

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Newly minted Ohio University Journalism alumna Sara Salman has her eye set on becoming a foreign correspondent. 

With a still-warm sheepskin in hand she has a better chance than others in her class as her youth has been spent on the international stage.

"I was born in Lebanon and then my family and I moved to Libya, and then we moved back to Lebanon where I lived for a few years," she said.

"Then in 1996, my mother, sister and I moved to the Democratic Republic of Congo to follow my father who went there to start a business with a family member."

For most teens this would be a lifetime of travel and experience, but political instability forced her to move yet again.

"My sister and I moved to Ivory Coast for six months where we stayed with an aunt and then we moved back to Congo."

Then more political unrest in the Congo required relocating back to Lebanon for a year.

After that she finally found some stability moving back to the Congo where she attended school and remained there until her graduation in 2008.

What she didn't know during all these moves was that her father had been faithfully saving money to send her and her older sister to college.

"He suggested that my sister should consider studying abroad."

"She found out about some universities in Ohio through the college board website," she recalled.

Her sister was admitted to the private liberal arts Hiram College in northeast Ohio.

Sara followed her sister to Hiram in 2008, but after a year wanted to find a school with a good journalism program.

"That's when I enrolled in Ohio University in 2009."

While her education has moved her to seek a position as a foreign correspondent, she's cautious.

"If there's anything I've learned from moving to different countries it is that there are so many things that could change while trying to figure out what you'd like to do," she said.

Still those experiences are part of what has prepared her for that possible future.

Africa and the Middle East are familiar and she said she would feel comfortable working in those locations, but she said she remains flexible.

"i'm always up for new adventures and new countries and experiencing new cultures."

About the same time Sara graduated, her sister was graduating from American University with a master's degree.

Having two daughters graduate from college at the same time was a very big deal for the Salman family.

"It has been such a pride for my family because neither of us actually knew we would ever be able to go to school," she beams.

"It has been such an incredible experience for my sister and I to be able to come to the U.S. and study here and make my father proud."

But Sara's father had to take all this in from a distance; he was denied a visa to accompany the family to his daughters' graduations.

"Sometimes visas take a longer time," she lamented.

"If there was anyone I wanted to be present at my graduation it was my father and my mom."

It would be easy to conclude that the Salmans come from wealth but Sara said that is not the case.

"I don't come from a wealthy family.  Just like many families in the Democratic Republic of Congo, people had to work really hard to send their kids abroad for education."

"It's really an achievement for him to be able to educate his daughters … I really wish he were able to make it to my graduation."