How We Met Laurel

In How We Met Laurel, we witness how Laurel, a blind Syrian asylee, navigates a move to the United States in an effort to make a better life for himself. The film shows him getting into a shelter, starting a job, and most importantly finding allies along the way. Laurel has been lonely, homeless, and ignored, yet fights to be seen.

Consider This

Watch this video to explore the film’s meaning and major themes a bit more. Talking with others about a shared arts experience can enrich our perspectives. Share your thoughts in the comment section, below!

Meet the Filmmaker

Arpita Aneja is a New York-based video producer, shooter, and editor for TIME magazine. She has done many stories around the issue of immigration as well as general news, politics, sports, and entertainment. Along with TIME reporter Lily Rothman, she followed Laurel over the course of a year, learning about his life since moving to America.

Arpita was recently awarded a Webby award for her work on Welcome to America, a documentary that follows a migrant mother’s journey to find her children who were separated from her at the border. Her most recent documentary, Border Hustle, a collaboration between TIME magazine and The Texas Tribune, takes a look at how people and businesses on both sides of the border make money off of Central American migrants.

Join the Conversation

How does the film change your perspective on what addiction can look like? When nothing outwardly seems wrong, how can we check-in with friends and family to make sure they’re coping and have someone to confide in?

Share your responses in the comment box below:


  1. Anonymous

    Barriers have no place in this world. We need to live as one.

  2. Tanya

    Wow!! What courage this young man had!! The determination, courage are just amazing. We should all follow his example!

  3. Anonymous

    Laurel is such a brave and wonderful soul. I can’t imagine what his mother had to go through to allow him to leave in search of his dreams. It’s so wonderful how the strangers you meet on the street can be so vital to your future. His positive spirit and drive shines through and is totally what has helped him overcome the many obstacles in his lie. I try not to take for granted the many things I have on a daily basis and am humble enough to recognize that the missed opportunities in my life are NOT due to lack of opportunities but rather my failure to take advantage of them by being so consumed by my fear and/or insatiable need to have everything be perfect before taking a leap.

  4. Regina Mhiripiri

    Laurel’s story was powerful, what an inspiration! To be blind and still motivated to travel the world! And then to come full circle and help others while being a reunited with his family. Amazing!

  5. Anonymous

    It takes a village


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