Cape Coral Resident Fulfills Dreams, Graduates From International College

When Arkady Grinberg emigrated from the Soviet Union to the United States in 1989, he came with religious freedom on his mind and a quest for fulfilling the “American Dream” in his heart.

“The United States is the best country in the world for people with different religious backgrounds,” said Grinberg, a Russian Jew, who added that he hoped to learn English and find a career. Grinberg was an electrical designer for a machine plant in what was formerly known as the Ukraine.

Grinberg, 45, a Cape Coral resident, is among 371 International College seniors who will graduate on June 9 during the College’s 13th commencement ceremony. He has earned a bachelor’s degree in Computer Information Technology and has been on the dean’s list eight times since enrolling at International College in Fall 1999.

“Graduation is something new for me. In Russia, graduation is different. They give you a diploma and tell you ‘good luck and goodbye.’ In America, the ‘goodbye’ isn’t always necessarily goodbye. With some colleges, like International College, it’s a lifelong relationship,” he said.

Grinberg admits he didn’t know what kind of career to pursue. He didn’t know whether he’d have a career at all. His first mission was taking English courses after moving to Brooklyn, N.Y. in July 1989. He then went through a series of odd jobs with American companies so he could continue to learn the language, as well as American customs and culture.

He decided to take a one-year programming course in New York after realizing that computer-based jobs were flourishing. He also took a computer graphics course. Then in 1995, Grinberg moved one step closer to his dreams when he moved to Cape Coral. After going through another series of odd jobs, he enrolled at International College.

“I came to build my career in computers. I had never built a computer before. After the coursework at International College, I can put a computer together and I can build a network,” he said.

In August 2001, Grinberg was offered a full-time job at the College’s Fort Myers campus as a senior teaching assistant in the Computer Information Technology program.

Dave Rice, Computer Information Technology Program Chair, said Grinberg is an invaluable part of the CIT team.

“Arkady came to us with a firm foundation in electrical technology and through hard work and dedication overcame the language barrier and succeeded in completing his bachelor’s degree in computer information technology,” Rice said, adding that Grinberg’s strengths are in programming and networking. “Arkady now has all of the necessary skills to be successful in a wide variety of information technology specialties.”

Grinberg said he is excited about participating in graduation on Sunday. Grinberg also has been accepted into International College’s computer information technology master’s degree program.

“I’ve only seen graduations on television,” he said. “I can’t wait to really take part in one myself.”
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