Meet Farkhondeh T.

Individual Studies student

“The great thing about Hudson Valley is the progress you can make. Here, I know I can get the support I need to go on to another school.”

After moving from Iran to Afghanistan to Turkey as a child, and then from Turkey to the United States as a teenager, Farkhondeh Tajik had plenty of life experience at a young age. What she didn’t have was a formal education. But that all changed when she and her family moved to the United States five years ago—and now she’s on the way to achieving her dream of becoming a medical professional.

That dream has been a long time in the making for Farkhondeh. While living in Turkey, she and her family became well-known in their community for their willingness to help immigrant and refugee families with translations. Because she spoke both Farsi and Turkish, Farkhondeh became invaluable for those who needed help bridging the language barrier. Then, one day, a group of immigrants were driving over a winding mountain pass and lost control; the vehicle ran off the road and over the side of a cliff. When they were brought to the hospital, none of them spoke Turkish. Farkhondeh was called in to help, and spent nearly three weeks in the hospital, around the clock, translating and tending to the victims and the survivors who had lost loved ones.

The experience, she said, changed her. She had always liked helping people, but by the end of those three weeks, she knew it was her calling to become a medical professional and devote the rest of her life to helping others.

Not having had the opportunity to pursue a formal education while growing up, Farkhondeh was faced with the idea of starting from scratch when she and her family arrived in the Troy area. But she wasn’t deterred by the hard work ahead of her; instead she chose to focus on the opportunities that hard work could bring. She dedicated herself to the task of learning English as her third language and took ESL classes wherever she could find them, including at BOCES and at the Capital District EOC. At times, she was taking up to five English classes a day. Meanwhile, she was also working to make up for lost time by earning her High School Equivalency, all while working to help support her family.

Today, Farkhondeh is well on her way to the career she’s always dreamed of. After finishing her associate degree in Individual Studies at Hudson Valley, she plans to apply to the nursing program here at the college, then pursue a bachelor’s degree in nursing, with the hopes of ultimately becoming a doctor. She’s also very involved on campus—during her time at the college, she has served as vice president of the Student Senate, a member of the Faculty-Student Association, and a student representative on the Strategic Planning Steering Committee.

According to Farkhondeh, starting at Hudson Valley has been an essential step toward achieving her dreams. “The great thing about being in the U.S. is the opportunity to get an education,” she said. “The great thing about Hudson Valley is the progress you can make. Here, I know I can get the support I need to go on to another school-- and the first and most important thing is getting that support.”