Hala Tameem, in green, waits with other newly arrived Syrian refugees at the school bus stop near their house on the first day of school. Image by Robin Shulman. United States, 2016.
When Hala and the other Syrian kids get on the bus, the driver asks, "How do you say, 'Sit down and don't turn around' in Arabic?" Image by Robin Shulman. Des Moines, IA, 2016.
The food at school is unfamiliar. Hala just pokes at her "wiener dogs." She struggles to open a milk carton while the girl beside her wrestles with a ketchup packet. Image by Robin Shulman. Des Moines, IA, 2016.
Hala can write her name in Engilsh, which puts her at an advantage. Some other refugee kids in her ESL class from other parts of the world don't know how to hold a crayon or sit still in a chair. Image by Robin Shulman. Des Moines, IA, 2016.
On the elementary school bus ride home on the first day of school, at least three kids get off at the wrong stop. "I have never driven a bus where nobody speaks English,” the driver says. Hot and exhausted, the kids get home hours late. Image by Robin Shulman. Des Moines, IA, 2016.
At night on the first day of school, when Hala goes to sleep, she says, "I think tomorrow will be a better day." Image by Robin Shulman. Des Moines, IA, 2016.
The children of Syrian refugees have the same worries and insecurities as every child. Starting a new school can be scary, but what is it like for young children who have recently fled war zones and are at a disadvantage linguistically?