Sipping knowledge, serving tea: Egyptian studies at work to earn degree

Lamiaa ElKholy

Published: Updated:

Sayed Ismail, 30, a back office staffer at Cairo University, managed to acquire his Bachelor degree in Arabic language and Islamic Studies this academic year.

Dr. Ola Hafez, Chair (academia) of The Department of English Language and Literature at Cairo University, shared on Wednesday photos celebrating Sayed’s achievement.

The photos show Sayed surrounded by the professors at the staff room of the English department.

In an interview with Al Arabiya English, Sayed said that he had very little time to study as he worked sometimes till 10 pm.

Sayed told Al Arabiya that he enrolled in 2013 when the professors of the faculty recognized his ambition and saw how he persevered as he worked long hours every day to support Salah, an older worker at the kitchenette.

Sayed says that before the professors arrived to work, he would open the facilities and classes and get the kitchen set to prepare each person’s favorite cup of coffee or tea.

Late night hours

“Sometimes, I would have less than an hour of study so I used to review my lessons at the faculty, while I work,” he said.

He was able to complete his four academic years on time and studied three levels of English with the support of the academic staff.

According to Sayed, the faculty staff brought him a cake to celebrate his graduation. He added that all professors at the English department were extremely supportive throughout his study, particularly Dr. Ola.

Dr. Ola, on her part, wrote on her facebook page: “Congratulations to Sayed Ismail for earning his bachelor degree. Sayed was able to study during brief slots while he was at the department and helping Salah.”

“The staff at the English department are very proud of you and your great achievement”, she added.

As for his future plans, Sayed said he doesn’t wish to leave the English Department and the people he loves, although he has already received job offers to teach at schools.

His dream job is to be able to assist the professors who supported him get to that milestone in his life, but for now he doesn’t consider leaving.