USC students reflect on homeland

COLUMBIA, SC (WIS) - Friday's announcement signaled a monumental shift for the people of Egypt.

Now, imagine everything changing in an instant in the place you call home while you are thousands of miles away. That's the case for three Egyptians working on their PHD's at USC.

The world watched as Egyptians celebrated a moment 29 years in the making. "My friend just give me a call," said USC student Sherif Abdelgawad, "He said he stepped down. He stepped down! Then I started to follow the news. It was really something. I feel you know victorious."

Sherif and his friends all said word of President Mubarak's resignation brings new optimism for the land they call home. "I believe this is the dawn of democracy," said USC student Kareem Gouda, "This is the new dawn of Egypt. The country will stabilize again and go to the right people."

They quickly gave credit to one group. "Youth are, you know, driving everything right now," said Sherif, "They drove the demonstrations successfully and they got what they wanted."

They believe young people will also define the future of what they call the new Egypt. "Around 60% of Egyptians are less than 30- years-old," said USC student Mohamed Elbatanouny, "They are young people. We are a young country. We have a lot of opportunity in industrial or agriculture -- any field."

As the celebrations continue, "Our bodies are here, but our minds and hearts are there," said Sherif.

One of the students said while he's in Columbia, he believes his job is to be an ambassador of sorts for Egypt. He wanted Americans to know what the people of his country stand for.

Copyright 2011 WIS. All rights reserved.