Helping students to develop professional skills that will benefit them and their communities is a priority for the Northwest Community College Initiative. Mohamed Hassan participated in the NWCCI program during the 2010-11 school year at Edmonds Community College. He earned two certificates, in English as a Second Language and an Office Skills Certificate of Completion. Below he catches us up on what he has been doing in Egypt for the past two years and how he is using what he learned in the United States now.
What have you been doing in the two and a half years since you graduated from the NWCCI program and returned to Egypt?
After I returned to Egypt, I did more than one job. It was hard to find a job because of the economy of Egypt. So I decided to start a small business on my own using the experience that I have gained from the United States. I rented a small chicken farm for keeping chickens and then sold them at the market. I made money and after one year the market went down, so I decided to end the business.
But I did not give up; I looked in my pocket to see what I still have, there are a lot. Using my English language skills I started a job using my experience from the United States again. I started to teach English for primary school students. It was not easy at the beginning but it became much better one day after another, and I am still doing that now along with my new job.
How are you using what you learned in the US in the work you’re doing now?
I am working as an assistant researcher in the City of Scientific Research and Technological Applications so it is a must to be able to use English very well. Also computer skills, presentation skills and network skills are very important here. I think I am lucky with that because of what I learned in the US…The participation in the CCI program benefited me professionally as it gave me a lot of skills which I am using in my work now and before.
How has your participation in the CCI program benefited you?
The participation in the CCI program benefited me personally as it changed my way of thinking. Now I think with an open mind and I have a plan for the future. And every time I have a challenge, I never give up. I have learned how to use my tools. Also I accept the differences and I care for others and I get their care back.
What did you learn during your time in the US that surprised you the most?
I have learned during my time in the US the value of time and life and how it could be if you think of your life as it is only one day.
Do you have any advice for current students?
If I were to advise the current students I would like to say to them: There is a lot to do and learn in the USA so please do not waste your time. You have got a good chance to change yourself so it is your challenge. You should have goals and dreams and to make them true you must have a plan for that. If you have a chance to be in the US, it means that . You should try to make new and good friends and try to learn from their culture. You should try to make the CCI program a bright point in your life. And when you leave, make sure that you have left good memories behind you.
What are your plans for the future?
For the future I made a plan and I hope to reach my goals. I applied for a PhD degree and I will try to find a scholarship in the USA to complete my studies.
The NWCCI program is part of the Community College Initiative, an exchange program sponsored by the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Education and Cultural Affairs.