A Refugee’s Story: Emilija Rosenthal

Today I’d like to share the story of Emilija Rosenthal….

Emilija Rosenthal Refugee Story

Emilija Rosenthal was only 9 years old when came to the United States as a refugee. She is originally from Sarajevo, BiH and her family fled the civil war that broke out there in the early 1990’s. They lived in a couple of different countries before permanently settling in America. The longest place they lived in was Germany until it was decided that all refugees had to find a different home. That was after four years of being there. Roots were beginning to be established and close ties were forming. It was especially difficult for her as she had started school there and made many friends along the way.

After this, their journey led them to Dallas, TX. They knew no one and had no family there waiting on them. It was just her parents and older brother. Her older brother knew English, and was self-taught, but Emilija had to take a year of ESL classes just to be able to converse with people. After the initial culture shock and adjustment period, she began to get the hang of American life, although it was incredibly difficult for her parents. They had to take jobs that were well below their skill levels and they had to leave everything they knew behind.

Emilija continued her journey through school where she developed an interest in science and history. This led her to the idea of pursuing something in the medical field. She developed an interest in nursing after volunteering at a hospital and seeing how she could directly make an impact on peoples’ lives. She continued on and completed her Bachelor of Science in Nursing from UT Arlington. The first in her family to earn a college degree. She went on to work as a nurse in various fields for many years before going back to school to get her master’s degree. She is now a family nurse practitioner specializing in infectious disease/HIV medicine. She is currently working for a nonprofit organization in Oak Cliff and is able to have an even greater impact on peoples’ lives.

A special thank you to Emilija for allowing me to share her story. You are truly amazing!




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