Abu Dhabi Fire and Emergency Services Student Climbs Professional Ladder With UF Online

Ebrahim Almulla is studying fire and emergency services while working as a correspondence specialist in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates. He recently transitioned from a career in aviation to his current role in emergency public service, and is continuing his professional development by earning his bachelor’s degree with UF Online.

“It’s a huge jump for me career-wise! I’m the only one in the Emergency Management Center who will have a degree of this caliber.”


Ebrahim’s father had a career in the Air Force, which meant he was surrounded by all things airplanes from a young age. “I loved aviation, anything that had to do with airplanes. I went to college and earned my associate degree in aviation mechanics,” said Ebrahim. His first professional role involved flying to carry out maintenance requests in airports. These travels took Ebrahim to places like India and the Middle East, which is where he got a first-hand look at what nature can do.

“India has monsoon season. On many occasions I saw destructive floods and people losing their homes. I also witnessed the first signs of the Arab Spring. This was a series of protests in 2011 in many Arab nations that resulted in political changes in countries like Egypt, Libya, and Syria.”

Witnessing these events gave Ebrahim specifications to consider when selecting an American bachelor’s degree program. “When it comes to resiliency and facing natural disasters, Florida is a pioneer. Watching on the news how Floridians face multiple hurricanes, lose their homes, and then rebuild again. I’ve never seen people like this before,” said Ebrahim on deciding to attend the University of Florida via UF Online.


After seven years of working in aviation, Ebrahim wanted to do more to help citizens suffering from emergencies. As he describes the deciding moment, “I got this rare chance to experience the crisis from the perspective of the victims, not just reading about it or seeing it on television.” Ebrahim then decided to join the local fire department, where he remained for seven years. In July of 2021 he became a correspondence specialist with the Abu Dhabi Crisis Management Center.

“When I was in the fire department I was the first-ranked graduate in bootcamp. Instead of being assigned to a fire house, the commander took me aside and said he wanted me to be part of his team. He acknowledged my scores and my fluency in English which allowed me to work closely with the policy makers within the fire department. It’s comparable in size to the FDNY.”

Knowing he would need an accredited college degree to continue his professional advancement, Ebrahim found an affordable program at UF Online. “The UAE is so selective when it comes to online degree programs. My country only formally recognizes 25 American universities. Just 25. Fortunately for me, UF was among them. Getting an education from such a special group of people is something very unique for me,” said Ebrahim.


Flexibility is a big advantage offered by online degree programs, but other aspects were a bit more surprising to Ebrahim. “There’s a course that talks about terrorism, and there was a major focus on terrorism that originated from the Middle East. I was concerned, maybe because I’m from this region, but I was pleasantly surprised. The course itself, the instructor, the students, everything was so objective. My instructor, Christopher Reynolds, even stated that terrorism has no religion or nationality. It’s individualistic,” explained Ebrahim when crediting his professor’s lessons.

“Although I’m nearly 40, attaining this goal is very special to me. It’s rewarding and fulfilling at the same time. I’ve built up these writing skills which I was able to transfer to my work. Here in Abu Dhabi the main language is Arabic, but as soon as my colleagues noticed a huge improvement in the reports I produced and the presentations I made, they’d ask me how I suddenly gained such a noticeably huge improvement. I attributed this to UF.”

Ebrahim will soon utilize his UF bachelor’s degree to transfer to the technical side of his profession. “If I want to be an emergency manager or to work in the field, I need this degree. It’s a requirement. That’s where I want to go. That’s where I plan to be.”

UF Online proudly celebrates Gators like Ebrahim who take the initiative to make educational advancements to progress professionally. Earning a degree is commendable on its own, but it’s that much more special knowing the selfless path that has led to Ebrahim’s journey. From everyone at UF Online, we thank Ebrahim for contributing to our mission of building a reputable online education program.


Ignite your spark to help save lives today! With an online Fire and Emergency Services degree from UF, you can open the door to a multitude of rewarding careers. Please note that the degree does not certify you as a firefighter or provide EMS certification, but prepares you academically to manage fire, EMS, or emergency management agencies. Learn from the esteemed UF faculty of the College of Design, Construction and Planning, and begin learning how to protect and serve the public at local, state, and national levels. As the top-ranked undergraduate program in the nation, UF Online offers a variety of majors and minors. To learn more about UF Online’s Fire and Emergency Services program, visit the degree page or attend an upcoming virtual information session.