Featured Colleague — Hamza Lamrani


By Dani Moritz-Long

International Recruitment Specialist Hamza Lamrani says the world is his office. He spends his days traveling the globe, experiencing new cultures, meeting new people, visiting the places of his past and connecting with students from all walks of life and — quite literally — from every corner of the globe. As he finds himself in places like his familiar homeland of Morocco or new frontiers like Vietnam, he thinks about his own experiences — reflecting on his journey from Africa to the palm-tree covered paradise of Central Florida where he traveled to in search of an education at Valencia.

Hamza was raised in the northern tip of Morocco, a part of the country that afforded him proximity to places like Spain, Portugal and England where he would often travel. The residents of his hometown spoke a mix of French, Arabic and Spanish — making being bilingual more of a need than a luxury — and he attended a French high school located in Morocco that focused significantly on French language and culture.

“I consider myself a global citizen who grew up in a multi-cultural environment,” Hamza explains.

He also gained a knack for the English language and fascination for American culture from his dad, who, for as long as Hamza can remember, has had a bit of an obsession with American culture. Hamza chuckles as he recalls seeming out of place when he and his friends would sing along to Disney songs. While his friends would belt out their favorites in French, Hamza would happily sing along in English — the language in which he watched Disney movies with his dad.

Hamza’s dad, a Moroccan-born American citizen who attended college in Georgia, had Hamza naturalized as a U.S. citizen at five years old and inspired Hamza to eventually follow in his academic footsteps.

When Hamza was ready, his dad explained to him the concept of a community college — something Hamza explains to be a foreign idea in many international communities — and relatives in Orlando recommended Valencia. So he packed his things, prepared for a new adventure and set onward to experience yet another culture firsthand.

He attended Valencia from 2009 to 2011 before transferring to the University of Central Florida (UCF), where he received a bachelor’s degree in international and global studies.

Perhaps not surprisingly, the well-traveled student didn’t find it hard to adjust to American life.

“I traveled extensively growing up and I was very mobile,” Hamza explained. “We would always go somewhere different in Europe, so I was used to being in a different environment. When I came here, I was used to changes so I easily assimilated to the culture.”

When Hamza graduated from UCF, he was eager to find a job that would put his experiences and proficiency in multiple languages to use — and allow him to travel. Amidst the search, his dad came across an opening at Valencia and recommended he apply, so he did — and, after only two weeks, he found himself employed at the College. Two years later, Hamza is still here, loving life and doing exactly what he set out to do.

“My favorite part is the fact that I get to travel often,” he said. “I get to experience other cultures and help other students come to the U.S., and I get to spread the community college concept throughout the world.”

Hamza also enjoys connecting with students who have had similar experiences to him. “I know what it feels like to be away from home, so our office is very welcoming,” he explains.

In the two years Hamza has been with Valencia, he has contributed to the doubling of international enrollment from 400 degree-seeking students to more than 890 students enrolled today.

“Hamza is talented, speaks three languages fluently and helps to motivate the international team,” said Talia Popovski, director, international student recruitment and global engagement. “He understands the importance of customer service and wants our students to have pleasant interactions from recruitment to graduation. We are proud to have his talents helping the recruitment team to attract great international students to study at the College.”

According to Hamza, he draws that energy and dedication from leaders like Talia.

“What inspires me the most at the College is the continuous support for internationalizing our campuses,” he said. “The leadership’s commitment to diversify our community is represented not only by our exponential growth but also by the number of countries represented by our students. Today, we are proud to announce that Valencia College has students from over 115 countries.”

Outside of work, Hamza enjoys traveling for fun (as if he doesn’t travel enough), keeping up with innovations in automobiles (“guy stuff,” as Hamza explains it), enjoying relaxing lounge music and eating good Italian and Greek cuisine.

Know of someone doing great work at the College, who has been an employee for one year or more? Send the colleague’s name to us at The_Grove@valenciacollege.edu. He or she might be one of our featured colleagues, subject to supervisor’s approval.


  • Dr. Yasmeen Qadri said:

    Congratulations Hamza! It is so good to know all the wonderful things you are doing with International students. Look forward to meeting you sometime soon!

    PMTue, 05 Jul 2016 21:11:07 +0000Tue, 05 Jul 2016 21:11:07 +0000pm16,9:11 pm

  • Christopher Alvarez said:

    This is well deserved! Continue being you!

    AMWed, 06 Jul 2016 09:37:24 +0000Wed, 06 Jul 2016 09:37:24 +0000am16,9:37 am

  • Nadia Sidibaba said:

    Congratulations Hamza! I don't expect any less. I am so hapy that you enjoy being part of this great team 🙂

    AMThu, 07 Jul 2016 11:57:05 +0000Thu, 07 Jul 2016 11:57:05 +0000am16,11:57 am

  • Anonymous said:

    He dated my sister lol

    PMThu, 07 Jul 2016 18:02:21 +0000Thu, 07 Jul 2016 18:02:21 +0000pm16,6:02 pm

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