The Student News Site of Sacramento City College

The Express

The Student News Site of Sacramento City College

The Express

The Student News Site of Sacramento City College

The Express

Photo credit: Nick Shockey / nshockey.express@gmail.com
A letter from the editor
February 6, 2024

From Egypt to City College

City College foreign exchange students from Egypt: (left to right) Ashraf Abdelbaky, Mohamed Yossif and Mohamed El Kassar are Egyptian students here as part of the Fulbright Scholar Program. Photo by || Michael Lucas || Michael Lucas | [email protected] ||

A mass of people traveled out of Egypt on an epic journey across the desert, mountains and seas—but no, Charlton Heston did not part the Red Sea. Four hundred Egyptian students spread out across the United States in August 2009.

Fourteen of those students traveled to Sacramento to study at City College and American River College for one year as a part of the Fulbright Scholar Program. The program’s main purpose is to expose students to different cultures in an effort to promote an understanding and bond between two countries.

Never having traveled to the United States before, many of them had conflicting expectations.  Ahmed Aboelnour, 28, was always taught that America is the “mother of all countries.”

However, according to Ashraf Abdelbaky, 23, the foreign policies of the Bush Administration caused many in the Arab world to distrust America. Most are now hopeful that President Obama will change those policies and bring peace to the region. The students expected two things of American culture: sex and discrimination against Muslims.

All four say that they have not been discriminated against during their stay in America, and Abdelbaky says that American students are eager to learn about Egyptian culture and Islam, and he is more than happy to teach them.
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They also connect with some of the Egyptian population in Sacramento. Every Sunday, they play soccer with a group of Egyptian dentists.

All of the students come from different parts of Egypt, but they share at least one thing in common:  They came to America for a good education. Abdelbaky says that no matter the subject, having a certificate from an American college will give him a lot of opportunities back in Egypt.

Ayman Mepwali, 27, is a teacher in Egypt, and says that in America, education is more accessible and relaxed. Abdelbaky was extremely surprised during his first week of school when a student called the teacher by his first name.

Aboelnour pointed out another big cultural difference:  In Egypt, students may only speak with female professors during class or office hours, while in America, students are free to meet with their teachers at the café after class.

With all of the cultural differences, the Egyptian students all agree with Abdelbaky when he says, “If you work hard and study hard here in America, you will have a good future.

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