From ESL Student to Medical Laboratory Science Graduate: A Story of Persistence

Friday, August 25, 2023
Maysam Asadi

In 2014, Maysam Alasadi moved to Phoenix, Arizona, from Baghdad, Iraq, and while she studied English for years in her native country, she wasn’t quite prepared for the drastic transition of being fully immersed into her new lifestyle. While Maysam had mixed emotions and described her new situation as difficult and challenging, she refused to give up and persisted to achieve her goals.

“I was happy that my family and I would have a new life with many opportunities to change our life,” she said.  “Then, I experienced how hard it was, especially since we didn’t speak English or drive a car.”

As a wife and mother of five children, Maysam knew that she needed to make a change to help herself and her family.  Her first goal was to obtain a driver’s license.  She studied hard and practiced many times, which proved to be the perfect recipe for success.  “I got my driver’s license in my first attempt, which gave me the motivation for my next step: the language,” she added.

Determined and ready to achieve her next goal, Maysam enrolled in Level II ESL courses at Phoenix College.  However, her first day was a little more than she expected. 

“I went to the class number that was provided in the course information.  I sat there and I was so scared because everyone was speaking English so well.  They were discussing the assignment of reading a book each week and writing about it.  When I left the class, I called my husband to tell him that I would quit!  He told me to check my student email, and when I did, I found out that my classroom had been changed and I was sitting in a high-level reading class,” she said.

After Maysam made her way into the right classroom, she found herself doing well and gaining confidence while learning English.  “Course by course and semester and semester, I found myself reaching my goal once again,” she smiled.

“Maysam is a prime example of the hard-working immigrants that come to Phoenix College’s ESL Program to learn English, earn credentials and work to make better lives for their families,” said Jeff Eldot, ESL program director.  “Our ESL students are tenacious and hard working contributing to all aspects of our community.”

In May 2023, Maysam graduated with an AAS Medical Laboratory Science (MLS) from Phoenix College, and now plans to achieve her master’s degree in MLS.

Through persistence and motivation, Maysam continues to achieve her goals, and she encourages other ESL students to do the same.  “Keep yourself motivated and don’t give up!”  She also recommends that English language learners stay positive and watch motivational videos throughout their language-learning journey.  

“Phoenix College changed my life by offering me many opportunities to study and reach my goals.  I wasn’t able to speak one sentence in English, and now I am good and have a job in a hospital lab,” Maysam said.


For more than 100 years, generations of families have benefited from the diverse programs Phoenix College has to offer, and the college welcomes families from all over the world who decide to make Phoenix their home. The ESL program at Phoenix College offers students one of the most diverse language learning programs in Arizona.  Our ESL students come from more than 100 different countries, speaking 50 different languages.  Additionally, the ESL Program at Phoenix College offers the most variety of classes of any of the 10 colleges in the Maricopa County Community College District from basic English to Freshman Composition and Research.  Students may enroll in ESL classes now by going to or calling (602) 285-7375.