How Do Young Iraqis Spend Their Free Time?

How Do Young Iraqis Spend Their Free Time?

Produced by Ali Al-Le'abiy

BAGHDAD, IRAQ– The education system in Iraq is well known as one of the best education systems in the Arab lands, most scientific departments give lectures to the students in English, for example in the medical departments most of the books are imported from famous universities in the United Kingdom.

Today students are going through different difficulties that prevent them from understanding their materials, such as the constant shortage of electricity, the weak security situation and the financial troubles facing the students.

The security problem remains the number one issue facing the students. Many explosions, militia attacks and security raids have targeted the Iraqi universities. Baghdad University has been attacked several times with car bombs and students were kidnapped on their way home from the university. Some students were forced to carry fake identification cards with different names in order to prevent being kidnapped by sectarian militias.

On the other hand many students and young men in Iraq are not able to enjoy themselves or relax in sport clubs or go to cultural centers that help improve their education. The security situation in Baghdad has limited the establishment of cultural centers or students clubs, clubs that important to students because they allow them to exchange knowledge with other countries and mix with students from outside of Iraq.

Unfortunately Iraqi students are not being provided scholarships or financial support from their government. Because of this, some students left Iraq, traveling to nearby countries with their families to finish their studies. There are a few projects adopting Iraqi students, for example the Iraq Student Project, to help them finish their education in the United States.

Others were not so lucky and had to quit their schools and find a job. The financial situation and the constant problem of unemployment forced many students to leave school and take jobs that do not suit their age, for example in the industrial field or as car mechanics. One of the students, Muhammad, 21, is a student in the technical university in Baghdad, he said “I work for one year and my brother goes to university, then next year, my brother will work and I will go to university. Our father was killed in an explosion in Baghdad Jadeeda neighborhood, and we must work to live.”

In the end the Iraqi students are struggling to finish their studies under the stressful situation in Baghdad. Alive in Baghdad brings you interviews with some of those students who are still studying and just looking for some free time to relax and see their friends.

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Editor's Note: The concept for Alive-in/ began in 2005 with the launch of Alive in Baghdad. Many of the stories produced by our team of Iraqi reporters were taken offline with the closure of

In remembrance of the 20th anniversary of the United States war against Iraq, we are republishing as much of Alive in Baghdad's original content as possible here on Alive-in/. Each story has been given its original date so that these posts don't overwhelm our current stories, and tagged as relevant.