The freshest news and views from the Grossmont-Cuyamaca Community College District
Friday, April 29, 2016
Nisreen Al-sabie: Finding a home at Cuyamaca College
She fled a war-torn Iraq and
sought safety in Jordan before moving with her family to El Cajon. Now Nisreen
Al-sabie, 19, is on the verge of completing her studies at Cuyamaca College and
transferring to the University of California, Riverside, en route to a career
with the United Nations or perhaps as a human rights attorney.
“I’ve been fortunate in a lot
of ways, really,” Al-sabie said. “I just feel bad for the people who are still
in Iraq or Jordan, or the whole Middle East really, who are my age and don’t
have the same opportunities that I have here.”
Al-sabie was born in Baghdad
and was living there with her family when war broke out in 2003. That’s when her
mother, who worked at a United Nations compound, was injured during a bombing
and needed life-saving medical treatment in London. Al-sabie was shuttled back
and forth between Iraq and Jordan in the ensuing years before she and her
family made the journey to the United States four years ago.
Fluent in Arabic and English
and able to speak some French, Al-sabie flourished at Valhalla High School, and graduated with a GPA of 4.0. When she
wasn’t accepted into the universities of her choice, Al-sabie enrolled at
Cuyamaca College. The economics major is now attending both Cuyamaca and
Grossmont colleges, and has been accepted to begin at UCLA this fall.
were recognized at a recent awards celebration sponsored by the Foundation for
Grossmont & Cuyamaca Colleges, where she was honored with a $500
Rancho San Diego-Spring Valley Rotary/Bernard Osher
Since arriving in El Cajon six years ago,
Al-sabie has been busy helping others. She is an active volunteer at Our Mother
of Perpetual Help Syriac Catholic Church, where she has been organizing events,
feeding the poor and helping out with whatever other needs the congregation may
have. In addition, she has volunteered with the International Rescue Committee,
helping refugees and other immigrants create and polish their resumes and
prepare for their citizenship tests.
Al-sabie said Cuyamaca College will always have a
place in her heart.
“There is a good atmosphere
here, and an environment that is cool,” she said. “There are a lot of events and
a lot of things to do. All of the professors are nice and you feel they really
want to help you. You feel special being here.”