When learning English in high school to prepare for his future education goals, Basher Atiya came across an opportunity to work for the U.S. military as an interpreter in his native country of Afghanistan. However, after some U.S. forces withdrew, his living situation became unsafe, which presented Atiya with an opportunity to advance his education in a new country.
“My situation turned into a great opportunity because I could move to the U.S. to get an education. I always thought about continuing my education in the U.S. after earning my bachelor’s degree. Instead I was able to start it here,” explained Atiya, a junior majoring in accounting at the University of Nebraska–Lincoln College of Business.
After a nearly two-year process, Atiya moved to the U.S. with a plan in mind. With a family to support and school to pay for, he began working for Kawasaki in Lincoln, Nebraska, all while going to Southeast Community College (SCC). With a busy schedule as both a full-time student and worker, and the intent to do an academic transfer to Nebraska, Atiya knew he would need assistance and reached out to Ashley Light, academic advisor for the College of Business.
“It was a struggle, but it really built me. After two semesters at SCC, I started talking to Ashley to make sure I was on the right path and taking the right classes. She was a tremendous help to me,” he said.
Light became impressed with Atiya’s initiative and the research he had done prior to transferring to the college. She called his transition to Nebraska “a seamless one.”
“Working full-time, along with going to school, Basher was on top of it and did it all well. I could tell he'd done a lot of research due to his understanding of the requirements for graduation, planning out classes and asking knowledgeable questions about what courses to take and why,” she said.
The drive and initiative Light witnessed were drawn from Atiya’s experiences from both the military and work. He felt his soft skills came naturally throughout earning his degree and applied well to the world of business.
“I have a lot of personality traits that fit accounting like paying attention to details. In the military, you need to be disciplined, organized and able to communicate on time because missing a deadline could cost a life. Along those lines, communication is also important in accounting. Talking to people, getting the information you need and sending it to them. It's just the technicalities that are different,” he said.
Looking to his future, Atiya plans to earn his MPA after graduation. Light hopes other transfer students follow his example.
“Basher was very involved throughout the entire process of his transfer and the management of his course load. He took ownership of the whole thing and was not afraid to reach out for help when he needed it,” she said.
To learn more about business advising, visit: https://business.unl.edu/base