With the odds stacked heavily against him, few people would have expected Abdisamad Adan to go to college, let alone one of the world’s elite institutions of higher learning-Harvard University.
But the 20 year-old from Somaliland has just done that. Abdisamad Adan was accepted to study at Harvard University on a full scholarship where he will begin classes this month.
For Adan, being accepted to study at Harvard is nothing short of extraordinary, considering the college rejects about 95 percent of applications. Somaliland (not internationally recognised) is still recovering from years of infighting while unemployment and poverty are widespread.
Unlike most of Harvard University freshmen, Adan comes from a modest background, his parents divorced before he was born and he was raised by an illiterate grandmother and only met his mother for the first time at 12-years old. Add to that, “some of his 18 siblings are illiterate and never went even to first grade, and he was raised without electricity or indoor plumbing,”Somalilandpress reported.
Adan’s fortunes dramatically changed when he was accepted to study on scholarship at Somaliland’s Abaarso School of Science and Technology, a small boarding school, founded by American Jonathan Starr, in 2009, a former hedge fund manager.
Despite what seems like a daunting college challenge, new environment and extremely different cultures, Adan is up for it.
“People kept telling me that Harvard is really really competitive and everyone is trying to beat you. I was like, great. That’s what I want,” CNN reported.