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From Egypt to America: Saddleback Student Ahmed Ibrahim Student Spotlight
Ahmed Ibrahim was living in his native Egypt and had never heard of Saddleback College when he secured a study abroad grant to further his career as a computer support specialist and was paired with the Mission Viejo campus.
It turned out to be one of the best moves of his life. Not only did Ibrahim earn a network administrator certificate of achievement, but also an associate degree in business administration, both of which are part of Saddleback College’s extensive Career Education division. What’s more, the support and encouragement he found at Saddleback College sent him on a path that led to a bachelor’s degree in business administration from California State University, Fullerton. He’s currently enrolled in the university’s master’s degree program in information technology management.
His goal? Return to Saddleback College as a professor, either in information technology or business administration, to help students like him who have overcome more than their share of challenges.
“Saddleback is my home,” he said.
Saddleback College’s Career Education programs are transforming lives daily. Career Education program graduates in Orange County are earning an average salary of $66,000 annually, $27,500 more than community college students earning general education degrees.
Several programs far exceed that amount. The Computer Information Management Department, for example, works with Orange County businesses and industry to identify the most in-demand pathways to success in computer-related careers such as network administration, programming, cybersecurity, and more. Those jobs can pay from $78,000 to more than $123,000 annually in the region. Graduates of Saddleback College’s Business Administration and Management programs, meanwhile, are earning salaries of nearly $40,000 to more than $114,000 annually  . And for good reason: the Business Administration program offers classes ranging from Small Business Accounting to Business Law in preparing students for both professional opportunities and higher degrees; the Network Administrator program prepares students to design a basic, high-speed computer network and fully grasp the UNIX and Linus operating systems.
Ibrahim, who is 40 years old, married, and has a toddler son, was living in Egypt, where he grew up, and was working in the computer technology sector, but was eager to expand his knowledge and build on his skills.
The journey to his dream has not been without its challenges.
Ibrahim initially arrived at Saddleback College as an international student via a U.S. Department of State grant program, but has been beset with various health issues. At one point, he had to return to Egypt because he was unable to work and was without family in the United States to help care for him. His determination, however, never wavered and he returned to Saddleback to complete his educational journey.
Virtually every class he’s taken has had an impact. One example is a horticulture course he enrolled in purely out of interest. Ibrahim says the skills he picked up from that one class alone led him to create a garden at his home that is now flush with rosemary, sage, mint, and other herbs, along with an abundance of roses. An English class had the same impact. “I learned so much from my English class, I was able to help correct English papers for other people. Every class has helped me,” he said.  
“The professors there are extremely nice. Supportive. Understanding…The staff are friendly, they’re helpful, they provide great advising services. The education was at the university level. It was a very good education.”
Among the most significant benefits of attending Saddleback College, Ibrahim said, is its diversity.
“At Saddleback, you have a very diverse student population, different cultures, different backgrounds. When you have this kind of diversity, you have different approaches in problem solving. It leads to greater creativity.”
So, why a college professor?
“Thanks to Saddleback, I’ve become what I am right now,” he said. “It’s my goal because I understand the importance of education,” Ibrahim said. “Education basically changed my life. It took me out from (being) an Uber driver. So right now, I have all this knowledge. I want to transfer this knowledge to other economically disadvantaged students and immigrants. I want to teach poor students, disabled students. I want to give them the idea that education will give you hope. If you need a second chance, it’s not the end of the trip. If you are poor, if you are ill, if you are an immigrant, you can do it.”
Great data. Please gimme just a couple sentences about each program, what they offer/ focus on, etc. Thanks!
This feels disconnected from the previous sentence- does he have a comment about IT? Or setup the English bit instead.
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