The Denison University sophomore is using her writing and one-woman show to inspire audiences.

In her 2016 TEDx Talk, Columbus poet Sara Abou Rashed speaks of diving into an ocean as a metaphor for diving into life. Six years ago, Rashed literally moved across an ocean—a major life change that inspires much of her acclaimed work.

In 2013, Rashed relocated from Damascus, Syria, to Columbus with her mother, who wanted to escape the upheaval and danger of Syria’s Civil War.

For then-13-year-old Rashed, the culture shock of leaving her native country was experienced in dozens of small ways. For example, she remembers attending a birthday party at which she was offered a piece of cake. “In Arabic culture, you never say ‘yes’ on a first time,” says Rashed, now a 19-year-old sophomore at Denison University who has won widespread recognition for her poetry and her one-woman show, “A Map of Myself.”

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