For Jami Amin and her husband Rabie, you could say it was love at first sight at Macomb. Jami, 27, grew up in Roseville and was homeschooled beginning in the fourth grade. Meanwhile, Rabie, 29, spent his teenage years surrounded by violence and volatility in Baghdad, Iraq.
“His … education was disrupted due to the Iraq War,” says Amin. “His high school was actually destroyed.”
Rabie’s family fled to Syria in 2006, following a spike in violence due to the ouster of Suddam Hussein. They spent a year living as refugees in Damascus, after which the United States agreed to sponsor them.
“His family virtually had to start life over again,” relates Amin. “They knew very little English.”
When Amin was 17, she was able to get an early start on college at Macomb. During a summer history class, she found herself admiring a photo depiction of Arabic calligraphy in her textbook.
“It struck me as being very beautiful,” notes Amin, “and I wondered how something so artistic could also be read as a language.”
Through YouTube videos, Amin began learning Arabic. Shortly thereafter, she befriended an Iraqi refugee in her math class. This person would go on to serve not only as an Arabic tutor, but also as an indirect matchmaker. One day, while practicing the language in K Building on South Campus, Amin’s friend and her sister introduced her to Rabie.
“My husband commented on the Arabic dictionary in my hand, and we just started talking. And talking. A whole hour passed before we realized we’d basically been ignoring our mutual friends the whole time,” muses Amin. “They later said they knew something special was taking place.”
Amin graduated from Macomb in 2011 with an Associate of Arts degree. She went on to pursue a bachelor’s degree in English from Oakland University, followed by Baker College, where she completed her preparations to become an ultrasound technician. But it was through Macomb that Amin acquired the life experiences necessary to excel both socially and in her career.
“My time at Macomb changed my life,” adds Amin. “I developed both academically and as a person. I built confidence and made friends. I also met the love of my life.”
Much like Jami, Rabie has flourished professionally since graduating from Macomb with both Associate of Arts and Associate of General Studies degrees. Currently employed in hospital security, he plans on furthering his career through an employer-sponsored police academy.
Jami and Rabie got married in June 2017, “six years to the day after we met.” Significant to note is where the couple chose to wed. Because Macomb holds a special place in their hearts, they selected the South Campus gazebo (pictured right) as the venue for their intimate ceremony. Now parents to a one-year-old, they still frequent Macomb, reminiscing while walking around campus with their son.
“Macomb was the arena in which we became adults,” explains Amin. “I got to … explore what I wanted to do with my life. And, for my husband, it was a chance to learn about and adjust to American society before starting a career in law enforcement.”