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Murrow College of Communication at WSU

Declining Economy in Lebanon affects WSU Student

PULLMAN, WASH -Much like an abandoned mansion that is falling apart from negligence, the Lebanese economy is decaying day-by-day, while the ruling political parties stand by and watch. Even before the coronavirus pandemic, Lebanon seemed to be headed for an economic crash.

Then on October 14 unprecedented wildfires swept through the country’s western mountains. Three days later, the government proposed new taxes on tobacco, petrol and voice calls via messaging services such as WhatsApp to drum up more revenue.

The people of Lebanon are united in their anger over their leaders’ failure to deal with an ailing economy, rising prices, high unemployment, poor public services and corruption.

Lebanon used to be current WSU Student, Yara Feghali’s home.

“Hi my name is Yara Fehagli and I just moved to the states 6 months ago,” Yara said.

After the declining economy and political battles, Yara’s family and other Lebanon residents started to look for other places to move.

Her family decided it would be in their best interest for them to leave their home town and have Yara look for schooling somewhere else.

“The first thing I thought about was to go to France or Europe, which is near our country. And the tradition is kind of the same,” Yara said.

Her dad left first and landed in Tacoma, WA. 6 months later Yara met him there and begin to think about what school was her best option.

“I was really sad, I never thought I would come to the states, because it was really far from our hometown. And nothing is the same… not the language, not the traditions, everything is different. At first I didn’t want to, but then I figured out, it was for my best interest and I would give it a try,” Yara said.

When she first moved to Tacoma she really loved it. It was near the water, close to downtown and there was so much to keep her busy. 

“No, my whole family didn’t come with me. There’s only me and my dad in the states. My mom and my sister are still in Lebanon,” Yara said.

They all hope to be reunited by next year.

When looking for schools in the state of Washington…University of Washington and Washington State University were the ones she considered.

“My dad said it was pretty competitive to apply to UW so I didn’t apply and then I got accepted at WSU,” Yara said.

Her first adjustment was leaving home and going to Tacoma, but then a few months later moving to Pullman, a college town with a lot of students excited about being back on campus during an ongoing pandemic.

“In Lebanon for Covid-19 it was dependent on you. If you’re afraid, you stay home. But there wasn’t strict rules for us. Bars were open, malls were open, everything until the numbers of cases really got high,” Yara said.

If you were out passed curfew you would get a fine, but Yara says it was not as strict as it was here in the United States. When she came to the states restaurants, bars and malls were closed and there wasn’t anybody on the street.  

It’s hard for Yara to connect with her teachers. Some consider what she is going through, but some don’t.

“In the classroom it’s really different, because I don’t speak the same language and its pretty hard for me to keep up with the teachers when they’re talking really fast. Now I’m getting used to it more and more. t’s really frustrating but its something that comes with moving to a new country,” Yara said.

Face-timing her family and talking to someone who just understands is what is getting her through it.

“Its hard for every one of us to be so far. But I hope we will meet up as soon as possible. I wish my Christmas gift would be to spend Christmas with you,”  Carla Feghali said.

“I never lost contact with my friends in Lebanon and they are going through it with me. We all moved abroad so we just understand ourselves,” Yara  said. 



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Note: Murrow News is produced by students of the Edward R. Murrow College of Communication at Washington State University. Northwest Public Broadcasting proudly supports the work produced by these young journalists. 

If you have any issues/concerns please feel free to reach out to Instructor, Matt Loveless or Department Chair, Ben Shors.

©2020 Washington State University Board of Regents – Edward R. Murrow College of Communication. 

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