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Mohamed Abaker

Pre-Business Transfer

By Dexter White
On March 29, 2013

  • Alisabeth Von Pressley (center) is cast as Eve and Mother Noah in Children of Eden. (Photo by Mike Weber)

Mohamed Abaker, a Pre-Business to Transfer student at Kirkwood Community College, has followed his path to an education halfway around the world.

Before first arriving in the United States, Abaker lived in the Darfur region of Sudan. The region has been affected by genocide and war. He said that while living in Sudan he met a lot of people from other nations who helped him make his journey to America.

"People encouraged me. (They said) if you find a chance, go study in other countries," Abaker said. 

Abaker got his opportunity when he came via the lottery system to America. He first arrived in New York and shortly after he decided he wanted to continue his education at Kirkwood.

"There are many ethnic backgrounds and people from different countries here (at Kirkwood)," he said. "I moved from New York to Iowa just for Kirkwood because it is an ethnically diverse college."

One challenge Abaker noticed when he first came to Kirkwood was adjusting to the American accent. While in high school, Abaker studied British English. He said the best method to get familiar with the accent was by talking to local people.

"I didn't know anybody but one friend," Abaker said as he recalled his first day at Kirkwood. "Now, I am friends with a lot of people."

Abaker went on to find success in his studies at Kirkwood. He said he received some help along the way.

"I think the teachers here are very good and very friendly," he said. "All of the faculty here are like family. They work together with people."

The weather and the food here were a couple of the biggest
differences from Sudan, said Abaker. He said making the adjustment to living in Iowa was all right.

"Iowan people are very nice, open people," Abaker said. "It's very peaceful (in Iowa)."

In his free time, Abaker said he enjoys playing soccer and attending Kirkwood's athletic events. "I go to every game in Johnson Hall and support Kirkwood," he said.

When he's not cheering on the Eagles, Abaker works as a tutor for a business math class. He also helps incoming international students adjust to life at Kirkwood.

"For new students who are coming and taking English classes, I advise them on how to get financial aid and tell them where to go to get to class," Abaker said. "When new students come here, (the international students office) calls me and asks me to help them."

After he graduates this semester, Abaker said he plans to transfer to the University of Northern Iowa next fall, where he will major in finance. He said that one day he hopes to do financial analyzing and that the biggest challenge he faces is a job interview.

"I have to keep going to reach my goals. My education is the best way," he said.

Abaker said he keeps in touch with his family and friends in Sudan. When he completes his studies, he said he will go back and visit them. He said he also hopes to continue his friendships and relationships from Kirkwood. 


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