Aya Baroud, Architect
"You could be on your way to university or school and see a dead person on your way. I seriously don’t know how a person would want to continue their studies after such a shock".
Aya Baroud is a 21-year-old Syrian from Aleppo. The war in Syria forced her to leave her home, her education, and her dreams of becoming an Architect. There was no going back to the regular life she led before.
Aya had to drop out in 10th grade because there were no teachers left. She homeschooled herself and passed her final exam to study a Bachelor’s degree in Architecture at the University of Aleppo. However, after six displacements within Syria, her family had no other choice but to travel abroad, so they went to Gaziantep in south eastern Turkey at the end of 2015.
Listen to Aya’s full story in this podcast:
Aya described moving country like moving from one war to another. In the beginning she didn’t know anybody in Turkey, she didn’t speak the language and didn’t know what to do. “It was a time full of depression, misery and sadness”.
At the end of that year, full of new struggles in a new place, Aya received a scholarship from SPARK to study architecture once again. “It was a wonderful day, when I accepted the scholarship. It meant that I was going back to my main path, my goal. I have been at the top of my class for the past two years”.
Now in the final year of her degree and armed with her coffee cup, Aya’s day starts early. Her design classes at the University of Gaziantep are more like workshops, with students researching, drawing and creating maquettes of their own project ideas, with guidance from the tutors.
“There are many Architectural fields that are still unknown to me. I’d like to learn and try more things in the future, but in principle I like Islamic designs mixed with modern of features and interior design”, says Aya. “If I have ideas, I often think long into the night about them, even in my dreams”.
“I was asked once if I would prefer going back to Syria instead of staying in Turkey; or if I would like to go to Europe instead”, shared Aya.
“My answer was that whichever country I am in, I should be doing something significant in it”.
With much of Syria’s infrastructure and buildings in disrepair or ruin as a result of the ongoing war, Aya sees her skills as necessary for the reconstruction of her country. “Architecture is very broad and at the end of the day, it is construction. Constructing a civilisation. It is the main thing that our country needs”, she said.
Aya plans to pursue a Master’s degree and a PhD, and hopes to one day open an Architecture firm of her own.