Determined Mohamed On Way To Nursing Degree At GTCC

Published on: January 12, 2021

When Rabila Mohamed came to the United States three years ago, she spoke only a few words of English, but she was armed with a fierce determination to succeed.

With that determination and the help of Guilford Technical Community College, she has never looked back as she works her way toward a career as a registered nurse.

In less than three years the 24-year-old, who is originally from Niger in Western Africa, has completed beginning English for speakers of other languages (ESOL), earned her GED, completed a CNA program and passed the state board exams, enrolled in a four-night-a-week phlebotomy program, started an advanced ESOL class to bolster her English skills and began working 10-hour shifts as a CNA.

French was Mohamed’s first language, so when she began GTCC’s Adult Education Program at the Greensboro campus in 2018 she had to immerse herself in her new language.

“(First) I had to learn to speak, write and read everything I know in English,” recalled Mohamed. “After I became confident with my English ability, I decided to try to get my GED. I spent six months (working on that). Then I took a CNA class at the continuing education program because it is one of the requirements for the career I chose.

“When I finished it, I took a phlebotomy course so I can work part time while in college. I started college at GTCC last semester and I’m taking my general education.”

She hopes to begin the nursing curriculum in 2021.

Perhaps the most difficult part of Mohamed’s journey has been mastering a new language.

“It was difficult learning English at the beginning because most of my classmates could communicate with the instructor, but I couldn’t for the first two months,” she recalled. “It got better once I started speaking English at home with my family. I am an introvert and making new friends had always been challenging, especially since we didn’t speak the same language. The instructors were very encouraging, so it was easy to connect with them.”

Writing in the new language has also been a challenge.

“Writing is the most challenging part of a new language and I’m still struggling with the spelling. But luckily we have a free tutoring center at GTCC and I go whenever I need someone to review an essay before I submit it.”

Mohamed’s father had lived in the Greensboro area for almost 20 years when she made the move to America.  As she settled into her new surroundings Mohamed was drawn to GTCC.

“I learned about GTCC from my father who lived here for many years. I was attracted to the school at first because it was free. Then I saw in the school many opportunities to have a successful career,” she said. “Studying at GTCC has impacted my life in many ways but the most important one is now I can express myself in English. I remember when I stepped into GTCC I was in low intermediate in ESOL class. I only knew the greeting ‘good morning, how are you’ and in my class I was the only one who speaks French.

“Of course, I will recommend GTCC for my fellow immigrants who are planning to go to school in the USA. I know the process can be long but with courage and determination, they can make it.”

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