Sara Basiri

Mt. San Antonio College, School of Continuing Education

Nominated in 2023


Born and raised in Iran, Sara Basiri came to America with her husband about 10 years ago when she was 23. She knew little to no English, and after a short time, she encountered great challenges and obstacles. Her husband divorced her after only 2 years, leaving her alone. “I felt lonely…” Sara recalled. “No one understands me… I feel like I don’t have a connection to this country.”

Alone with few friends, no family, and no resources, one of her friends suggested that she try taking some free classes at Mt. SAC to learn English. She enrolled quickly, excited to meet people from other cultures and to connect with and learn English.” She placed in a level 2 ESL class, and took levels 2, 3, and 4. “The ESL program helped me so much,” Sara said. “It was the best way for me.” Unfortunately, she didn’t get to complete the ESL program and attend to the VESL Career Pathways program as she had hoped because she had to return to Iran and help her family. “They needed me. My mom was sick because she was so worried about me.” While home helping her family, she served as a female activist and felt compelled to continue her efforts globally. “In my country, I’m an activist for women’s rights. How can I do this for all women?” she ponders. 

While she was happy to be home with her family, she knew she had to continue her education accomplish her goals. She returned to America last year and signed up for classes right away. “I want to finish this journey,” she dreams. Currently is a full-time student at Mt. SAC her major is Sociology. Sara also works as an ESL registration clerk. She credits the Mt. SAC ESL program for giving her the education and confidence she needed. She also credits one of her professors for really being an inspiration. 

Some of her current challenges are finances and transportation. She must take the bus and wants to work more but she is also focused on the future. Sara’s future plans are to continue improving her education so she can transfer and apply to a master’s program. She wants to fight for Iranian woman and all women globally. She knows education can help her and her family. Sara really wants to make her parents proud of her. Some advice she learned along her journey, “I want to say to woman don’t give up. We should improve our knowledge and power. After this we can fight for equality, don’t think you aren’t enough, try your best. I want to remind myself of that too.” 

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