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Fleeing to the Top down Under: the Syrian Refugee Rewriting the Rule Book

It’s the heartwarming story that’s going globally viral and has the potential to change perceptions of refugees and immigrants everywhere. Saad Al-Kassab, an 18-year-old Syrian refugee who fled to Australia, achieving an almost perfect 96.65 score on his ATAR – the Australian Tertiary Admission Rank – just two years after learning English.

Saad travelled to Melbourne after being captured and tortured in Syria for protesting at a peace rally. He fled with his brother, Omar, in 2014.

The brothers say they learnt English by watching ‘Question Time’ on TV and studying an English-Arabic dictionary.

It’s incredible to see this story of success and achievement being shared so enthusiastically on social media. Saad’s is a real story of human endeavour and struggle not only for survival but also to carve out a successful life against all odds.

Saad has overcome unfathomable despair and horror to become a celebrated Syrian-Australian in less than two years.

As the new ‘posterboy’ for refugee success – not only for immigrants but also for the welcoming country – Saad is fast becoming a spokesperson for the young people of Syria. He recently spoke about his experiences fleeing war-torn Syria and arriving and integrating into Australian culture and education at a TEDx talk, alongside his brother.

Congratulations to Saad and Omar – your achievements are an inspiration to us all.

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