By Alia Alwadeai
In 2011, Sana’a University was closed for one full year due to the revolution’s events that took place around the university. Students didn’t have a choice but to wait without even knowing if the university is going to be open again or not. As the time was passing, I decided to apply for internships inside and outside Yemen; particularly in Germany. I was more interested in Germany because I had visited it during an exchange program not so long ago and liked it.
As an undergraduate student from a developing country, I thought that my chances are slim to find an internship outside of Yemen; however, I kept trying. I spent long hours finding where I could contribute, sent tens of resumes and went through the interviews, and finally that paid off. I was surprisingly and unexpectedly hired for an internship by one of the most important and well reputable companies in Germany “Bosch” in Sep 2011 and I started the internship in the beginning of May 2012 because of some delays on my visa.
While I was waiting for the visa, Sana’a university re-opened so I went back to school and I completed another semester of my studies. I got the Visa and flew to Germany and instantly started my internship, which was in software development and tool management. This was very challenging but rewarding.
During my internship period, I started to think of transferring my courses and finishing my bachelor here in Germany. I have heard a lot about the quality of education in Germany, it was hard to miss this opportunity. So I started to actually plan it, contacted universities, filled applications and applied. I was accepted in two universities as a transfer student and they accepted to transfer all my credits from Yemen, which means that I shall start from the point I stopped in Sana’a University. I decided to study in SWF-FH in west of Germany and since then everything went smoothly, except for one major obstacle: how am I going to finance myself?
I began looking and applying for many scholarships in Germany and in Yemen and I applied for part time jobs in many companies in Germany. Fortunately I made it to Bosch again but in the branch they have near my university city. It was quite difficult at the beginning of the semester to manage the time between my job and my studies; however, with time I started to learn how to have a tightly organized schedule.
Those were professional and academic challenges, yet what was even more challenging is the personal experience. The problem I had here in Germany in the personal level is that I am being judged by being wearing Hijab. Some people – including some Arabs – would make judgments about someone just based on what they are wearing. Those premade judgments could turn simple daily tasks to very hard to accomplish missions. It also makes one feel uncomfortable and in some extreme cases unsafe.
The other challenge I am facing is the language. It was not a problem in school since my courses are being taught in English, however, living in a country requires knowing the language to be able to live the experience to its fullest. With school and work I barely have time to sleep, therefore, it was impossible to take language course. However, I keep trying to teach my self the language using the fact that everything around me is in German.
At last, I need to say that I have never been that satisfied with my life. This experience has been a life changing one. I feel that I got out of my protected area and became an independent, confident and strong woman who can survive life’s challenges on her own. A woman who knows what she wants and what she is capable of. This was possible because of the support of my wonderful family. I am very blessed with my family as they were and are supportive in all my decisions and they stand by me all the way.
Alia Alwadeai is a Yemeni student in Germany.
The views expressed in this article are the author’s own and do not necessarily reflect La Voix du Yémen’s editorial policy.Français
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