Humble beginnings are a common theme for the city of Peoria and the people who populate it. Our region is the definition of “true urban, boundless country.” From the bustle of a major concert at the Peoria Civic Center to a peaceful ride down Grand View Drive, the range of what Greater Peoria can offer on any given day knows no bounds.
Ibrahim Hussaini Syed Saad, an international student at Bradley University, is one of the many people who fell in love with Peoria at first sight. Saad came from India to Peoria in 2020 to complete his master’s in Civil Engineering at Bradley University.
“Peoria is special for me because it was the first place I came to in the United States. After traveling to many states and big cities like Chicago, New York, Los Angeles, and Miami, I’ve realized how peaceful it is to live in Peoria with minimal crowds and traffic. If I feel like going somewhere, whether it is my workplace, the riverfront for some fresh air, or Grand View Drive, I can be there in 15 minutes or less.”
Soon after graduating in 2021, Ibrahim secured a job at Crawford, Murphy, and Tilly as a surface transportation engineer. Still, he wanted to find a way to do something with all the pictures and footage he had acquired. “I started making videos as a hobby with the idea of how I could keep my travel memories alive. So, I combined short films I can easily watch and go on a memory trip. The plus point was that even my family members and friends started to like my work, which kept me going.”
Ibrahim said he wanted to make a video that encapsulated his time here in Peoria and what Peoria can offer to anyone. “I’ve always wanted to make something that showcases Peoria in all its glory. More importantly, I wanted to show people who say there is nothing to do or see that they are wrong. I want people to see this video and stop telling people to move to Chicago or other places. It is beautiful and peaceful to be in Peoria”.
Ibrahim’s YouTube channel has only six videos. Still, it has grown to almost five thousand subscribers in less than a year. His video “Greeting from Peoria, Illinois” has quickly become his second most viewed video and showcases all sides of Peoria. Ibrahim’s story from India to the River City is among the many reasons our region is so great. Not only does Peoria reward those who are unfamiliar and are willing to take a chance, but it also gives them a reason to stay and share their experiences!