Suaad Obaid

Suaad Obaid

  • Major: Business Administration
  • Home: Baghdad, Iraq

The dream of a better life for her children brought Suaad Obaid to the United States from Iraq. “There was no safety in the country, especially for kids. In Iraq when you go outside you don’t know if you will come back alive. I want the kids to have a good education and a good life. This is the life I want for them.”

This Unity Day Mosaic hangs in the lobby of Coulter Hall in honor of Obaid and the five other students who created the event.

Four years ago, Obaid and her husband made the difficult decision to leave their families behind and move to the U.S. with their three children. In the spring of 2016 she began taking classes at OCC. “When I started here my English was very difficult to understand. I worked hard. I read a lot and wrote a lot. I learned a lot of English from American tv shows and movies too.”

When Obaid struggled, she went to The Learning Center and received assistance. She worked with tutors in writing, math, accounting and business. Today she’s a Business Administration major and is six months away from earning her degree.

As a member of the Diversity Council, Obaid was one of the primary organizers of the College’s first-ever Unity Day earlier this year. The day-long, campus-wide event was a celebration of the diversity student’s enjoy here. Unity Day included cultural food offerings, activities such as the building of a unity mosaic, interactive written displays, cultural writing exercises and a diversity/inclusion photo booth. “I was very proud. We did something amazing. It was a huge success. Everybody was happy.”

It’s that diversity which has helped OCC feel like home to Obaid since she began taking classes here. There are a large number of students who immigrated to the U.S. from the other side of the world. “When I came here and saw so many Iraqi or Arabic students it made me feel like I have my space here, like I have a big family here. Arabic students make me feel like I am with my family.”

Financial support from OCC’s Foundation has helped make college affordable for Obaid. She received both the Community Scholars Scholarship and the Helen and John Etherington Scholarship. “The scholarships helped cover my expenses with classes, books, everything. It’s been very helpful.” You can learn more about supporting OCC’s students through the Believe in Better fundraising campaign.

College leaders have also played a significant role in Obaid’s transition to a new country. “So many people here made the difficult easier. The president (Dr. Casey Crabill) is a very nice person. You think, ‘she’s a president. I can’t talk to her.’ But she is so nice to talk to. Professor (Eunice) Williams helps me when I need anything. I love the professors here. I love the Learning Center. Everyone is so helpful.”

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