The decision to immigrate to America can have different effects on various family members of the many foreign nationals living in the United States. For Health Sciences B&G Worker Magdy Elyamany, it meant leaving behind a good job, life-long friends, family and his birthplace. But, for his children it meant expanded opportunities for education, career and culture. For Elyamany, the latter was more important.
When he left Cairo in October 2006, Elyamany had just been promoted to general manager of a large Middle Eastern tour bus company he had worked at for 24 years. He started there as a clerk after graduating with honors from Ain Shams University in 1979 with a Philosophy degree. This job provided stability and the opportunity for Magdy and his family to visit different Middle Eastern cities.
But for a man who grew up dreaming of becoming an undercover detective, only to be suppressed by a lack of police department contacts, Elyamany wanted better for his children.
“When I came here I sacrificed my position to give a chance for my kids to get educated in America,” said Elyamany.
This was not an impulsive decision. Elyamany applied for a U.S. immigration visa eight years in a row before finally getting accepted in 2006.
Elyamany and his wife Hwayda now live in the Highland Park area of St. Paul with their two daughters, Dina, 16, and Sara, 14, and their six year old son Mohamed. He encourages all of his children to play sports, especially soccer like he did in Egypt. Back in Cairo, Elyamany liked to participate in neighborhood versus neighborhood soccer matches that included friendly wagers for items like a case of soda.
As a B& G Worker, Elyamany appreciates the good advice and direction he receives from his supervisors. He says they try to help him when he encounters problems and make sure he takes his breaks, even when he wants to keep working. In turn, Elyamany likes to do the same for his co-workers. If he sees someone struggling with their job, he will offer his help.
Elyamany also taught English back in Egypt and is working to get his master’s degree in teaching from the University of Minnesota. He is proud that his daughters now speak English better than Arabic because he thinks it gives them a better chance to succeed in the U.S., which would be a great reward for the sacrifices he made to come to America.