A Place for A Place for a New Life
Before Osama Al Dargazly emigrated to the United States from Iraq and started a hospitality career, he served as an interpreter for the U.S. Army for almost eight years. As a child, he taught himself English by watching television – serving him well throughout his career.
“When I was very young, I loved languages,” Osama explained. “In Iraq, back then the only way you could learn English or other languages was through the TV. That’s it. You didn’t have tourism; you didn’t see people from outside. So, the only way we learned English was through the media.”
Osama further perfected his English getting a degree in mechanical engineering in college, where the textbooks for his degree were often in English. After college, Osama lived near a police station, where he befriended the American soldiers who were stationed around that area.
“And then one of them suggested to me, ‘Hey, you speak good English. Why don’t you come and help us?’” Osama explained. “So, I did because I wanted to help my neighborhood and I wanted to present a good presentation of my country.”
Serving from 2003-2011 as an interpreter, Osama’s life was filled with uncertainty and danger.
“Fighting and bombs, car bombs, IEDs or improvised explosive devices, snipers. I went on missions, knocked on doors like any other soldier,” Osama said. “You know, when you’re leaving for the day, you kiss your family because you don’t know if you’re coming back.”
Once the war ended, Osama was still under constant threat because he supported the United States. He eventually made the decision move to the U.S. on a special immigration visa or SIV, a visa designated for people who were interpreters or helped the U.S. Army. It was a close call at a security checkpoint that made the decision clear.
“I was doing a job for a company when a car bomb went off right behind me, maybe 200 feet away,” said Osama. “It blew up and killed 58 people.”
That moment, Osama decided to move to the United States. Emigrating to Dallas, Texas, his local friend recommended exploring a career path within the hotel industry.
“You’re dealing with so many different people. I love being a communicator…It’s part of my DNA.”
“My first job here was laundry supervisor, which I didn’t know anything about,” said Osama. “But one of our hotel laundry machines was always out of service and because of my background in engineering, they decided to hire someone who could fix it.
From there, Osama moved up the ranks and became a trainer for new hires within his first three to four months in the business. Today, almost nine years later, he’s a housekeeping supervisor and hopes to become an operations manager as his next milestone. He credits his time as an interpreter with making him a better supervisor and his success in hospitality.
“You’re dealing with so many different people. I love being a communicator,” said Osama. “It’s part of my DNA.”