Friday, April 29, 2016

Nisreen Al-sabie: Finding a home at Cuyamaca College

Nisreen Al-sabie
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.  

Al-sabie’s accomplishments 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 Scholarship. 

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.”