As a boy growing up in Egypt, I always dreamed of living in the U.S. When I was in my late 20s, I won a visa lottery that allowed me to follow that dream. The moment I arrived, I knew had a tough road ahead of me.
I was happy to be here, but I was also scared because I knew very little English: only how to say “hello” and “goodbye.” It didn’t matter that I’d earned a law degree in Egypt. That wouldn’t help me here. I worked two jobs, delivering pizza and driving an Uber, trying my best to make ends meet. I felt isolated and trapped. After three years, I’d had enough. I couldn’t continue like this.
No one in Loudoun should fall short of reaching their full potential.
The Next Chapter
I found a nonprofit organization that offered low-cost English language classes. I first started with one-on-one tutoring. A volunteer taught me for two hours each week. He helped me learn words and phrases that were particularly helpful in everyday life. Then, I started taking a formal class that prepared me for my citizenship test. In February, I took the test—and passed it. I am proud to say I am now an American citizen.
I’m applying to work as an airline check-in agent. I also applied to serve as a volunteer paralegal. I may one day even take the bar exam here and pursue my dream of practicing insurance and business law.
Thanks to the volunteers who dedicated their time to helping me learn a second language, I have a whole new perspective on life. Now, I want to help End the Need, right here in Loudoun County. Won’t you join me?
As part of the Community Foundation’s Faces of Loudoun campaign, Loudoun Now is publishing monthly articles highlighting men, women and children who have found a helping hand when they needed it most. Learn more or donate to help End the Need at FacesofLoudoun.org.