Meet Othman Saymeh

This is part of a Columbia News series introducing members of the University's Scholarship for Displaced Students, a program administered by the Columbia Global Centers. 

April 21, 2021

Othman Saymeh was a student at Columbia’s School of General Studies and is from Syria. In an interview, he reflects on Syria, his architecture studies, and his plans for the future.

What were you studying?

I graduated this past December with a degree in architecture from the School of General Studies. I am currently working as a teaching assistant for an introductory design course, on the lookout for a design internships, and working on my graduate school applications in architecture and related interdisciplinaries.

Where are you living currently?

Since I graduated, I moved to York, Pennsylvania with my best friend, temporarily waiting for a more permanent job position or for graduate school. I was recently hired as a sales/consulting position at a solar energy company out in Chicago. I am looking forward to moving to a new city and entering a new industry!

Two men standing on Columbia's Morningside campus, on either side of Alma Mater, a bronze statue of a woman sitting on a throne, with a laurel wreath in her hair and a scepter in her hand.

What are your goals for the future?

I sincerely believe in the role of architecture education in solving many of the problems that humanity is and will be facing over the next centuries. As a fresh graduate, I am planning to work in an architecture related field as a designer and an educator in order to gain some professional experience before returning back to school to gain my PhD and be able to teach both architecture history and design. 

What do you wish more people knew about Syria?

Syria has a great history and heritage. Syrians are both hardworking and most welcoming and they are known for their hospitable homes and delicious foods. Before the war started, Syria was one of the safest countries, and I hope that it gains such status very soon so that the people can continue to be proud of such heritage and historical status.