What is your background?: My real name is Elhadj Mahieddine, but I go by Vincent. I was born and raised in Oran, a large city in Algeria, and I went to Colonel Lotfi High School. I have two siblings, an older sister and an older brother, both graduates of Kirkwood and soon to be graduates from the University of Iowa.
What brought you to Kirkwood and why?: My uncle was the first one that went to Kirkwood Community College, so when my brother graduated from high school, my father wanted him to have a better education. That’s when my uncle suggested he go to Kirkwood. My brother really enjoyed the college, as did my sister, now it’s my turn!
What is your program of study and what interests you about it?: I am studying for an A.A. degree with an emphasis on Business. At first, I didn’t really know what I wanted to do as a career for the rest of my life. However, after having the opportunity to work at the One Stop on the Iowa City Campus, I realized I really liked to help people. That’s why after Kirkwood I am going for a Business Management degree with a minor in Chinese. There is a large community of Chinese International Students at Kirkwood Community College and I would like to speak with them in their own language. Plus it will give me the opportunity to better understand their culture, which will prove useful when I travel to China!
Are you involved in anything else on campus? If so, what and why?: During activity hours I played bingo, which helped me meet new people. My new friend and I joined Student Leadership Counsel and I also became a student ambassador. In addition, I am also a leader in the International Leader group. As I am an international student myself, I was really excited when this group was created and wanted to reach out to other international students that might face the same struggles as me. It can be difficult adjusting to the American culture. Recently, I also joined the honor society, Phi Theta Kappa.
Are you involved in anything off of campus? If so, what and why?: My friend, who is a student at both Kirkwood Community College and the University of Iowa, is a member of the Bridges International Club. He encouraged me to go to some of their events and I have became more and more involved with them. I also go to the Korean Conversation group because I am learning Korean on my own and it is a good way to keep track and practice my speaking so that I won’t lose it.
What do you do for fun?: I really like to sing. I don’t know If I am good at it or not, but it helps me release all my stress and makes me happy. I enjoy reading books and novels especially medieval historical fiction books. I also recently started to learn how to play the piano with the help of a friend. One thing that I am gifted at is languages, and so I am currently learning Korean as well as Spanish and Chinese. It is hard to progress with classes and work going on, but I make sure to spend time to learn more when I can. I also make sure to speak with my high school friends back in Algeria, especially Maya and Many, my best friends. They always push me forward to do the best I can. It is very helpful to have them by my side – especially when I get homesick.
Where do you see yourself in five years?: I see myself in three different places, depending on if I get the opportunity to stay in the U.S or not. I see myself possibly as an international academic advisor in the Kirkwood Iowa City Campus, because I really enjoy speaking with international students. I would also like to work with a company that is affiliated especially with the Asian market since I am interested in that. Another option that I would be highly enthusiastic about is to work for a company in China and try to put my language and business skills to use.