Alumni Focus

Stories About IEC Alumni from Around the World

Alumni Focus: Rawa Abo Alsamh

Catching up with IEC Alum Rawa Abo Alsamh

By Amanda McCracken

Posted August 23, 2017

On May 12th, 2017 Rawa Abo Alsamh graduated with a 3.95 GPA from CU Boulder with a Masters in Educational Equity and Cultural Diversity.  She is the first of her nine siblings to obtain a masters.

Rawa Abo Alsamh at her car after graduation

“I’ve taken huge jumps,” Abo Alsamh told a group of Greeley high school students where she did part of her practicum. “I went from graduating high school at 17 years of age to becoming the mother of my daughter, Maha, at 18. I went from not being able to drive to owning my own car named Star. I went from studying at a small college in a small town in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia to graduating from a top 50 University.”

When Abo Alsamh came to the IEC in 2009 at the age of 20 to study English, she put her collegiate studies on hold in Saudi Arabia.  She completed Basic 1, Basic 2, and Intermediate 1 during her initial study at the IEC—all while pregnant with her son, Abdulmalik.  She returned to Saudi Arabia with her husband and son in 2011 to complete her bachelors. She then returned in 2013 with a KASP government scholarship to complete her masters. Abo Alsamh first returned to the IEC to improve her English, and there she completed the Advanced level.

In addition to excelling in her master’s program and being the primary care-taker of her two elementary school children (her husband was working in KSA), Abo Alsamh managed to work part-time at an after school program to gain experience. She also volunteered at a food bank, a senior center, and on countless school field trips.  She completed her practicum in fourth and fifth grade classrooms in Mesa Elementary School in Westminster.

Upon graduation, Abo Alsamh wants to teach at an elementary school in the States for a year. She then plans to teach equity and the value of cultural diversity to Saudi university students. In turn, she hopes to instill in others the importance of offering equal education to all regardless of gender, class, religion, or language.

“Learning English was really hard, but it was the only chance to live the life I want to live.”