Where are you from?

Planet Earth, but if you want to know where I lived before coming to the United States, and where my parents were born; then the answer is Egypt.

What is your occupation?

Currently I am a Masters student studying electrical engineering at Cleveland State. I am also an entrepreneur who is in the process of starting something new in social media.

What was it like growing up?

Multicultural experience since 4th grade. As an international student since I was 10 years old, I grew up confident, open minded, accepting differences, and always ready to learn something new without losing my values or compromising my beliefs. Fearless and away from my comfort zone is one of the traits that have always distinguished me throughout my academic, professional, and personal life.

What brought you to Cleveland?

I would like to start with “why did you come to the United States?” For the past four years since I came to the US, I have been asked this question many times. My answer was “Why not?” The US felt like my school, but in a larger scale. I really wanted to travel and see the world, and I thought of the United States as my first location, since I wanted to see how different groups of people can come and live together, and what are their drivers and motives that at some point made them appear to the world as one unit. I started looking for schools in the United States that offer accredited engineering programs within my budget, and Cleveland State happened to be one of them. I applied to the university and got accepted, then I started the process of moving to Cleveland.

What challenges did you face as an immigrant transitioning here?

Absolutely nothing; besides adjusting my budget and making sure that I am financially stable. I would say that might have been because of the international experience I had since I was a kid in my school. It helps me find a room to exercise my beliefs and yet also enjoy learning more about others, and I am delighted to answer any questions because it makes me feel that I am bridging the gap between different cultures. There is nothing wrong about asking questions, as this is how we enrich each other with knowledge and we can live a better life when we know a little bit about each other.

What traditions or customs do you continue to practice?

Everything. I never felt that I had to compromise anything.

What do you love about Cleveland?

I love the summer in Cleveland; the green space, the parks, libraries, and theaters. I have also enjoyed that different cultures get to celebrate their special moments, cuisine, and holidays here. Like the Greek festival, little Italy, Chinese new year festival, Muslim holidays, and Indian Diwali festival. Cleveland is a growing city with great investments opportunities especially in the real-estate market.

Why is it so important to welcome immigrants and refugees?

Because America in a land that is based on immigration. This planet is for all the beings who live in it, since none of us “the human beings” created it. If someone believes that they can do better in a different place with a certain group of people, they have the right to join them as long as they accept their culture and abide with their set of laws. Everyone in this world have the potential to add a unique value to the human society and make this world a better place if we give them the chance.

What suggestions do you have to make Cleveland a more welcoming community?

Essentially continue your hard work in reaching out to international college students and the universities that hosts them. Young talents are the future of this world, and they have invested so much to come to the United States with great ambition and energy to make a difference, and become the best of themselves. Make Global Cleveland easier to approach for non-American investors and help them know more about the markets available, and the rules and regulations.

Why is it important to travel abroad?

Why not. It is amazing to see that you are not alone in this world. Reading about it, or watching a documentary is not enough; living the experience is different and very satisfying. You will have the chance to enjoy their food, arts, music, religions, and traditions. I can promise you that you will leave it with a different perception than the one you had before visiting it. Visiting different countries, especially those that were part of the human being’s development like China, India, Greece, and Egypt gives you the chance to learn about the civilizations that shaped the world we live in today. Modern transportation means made it easier to connect, even though it could sometimes take more than 21 hours to reach your final destination. Acceptance or at least tolerating the different, because when you are a visitor to a different culture, your beliefs and culture is different to them and the last thing you would want is to be treated as an outsider. Business and educational opportunities; just like you cannot find all your groceries in one place, you cannot find all the opportunities in one country. It is fun, and a excellent relief from work tension, and routine life. You will love it, just plan it right!

Disclaimer: sometimes it is expensive, but if you are good with managing your funds; you will do just fine.