Midia, 28 years old, from Syria living in Erbil since 2013. Baccalaureus in Agriculture-Plant Protection with the support of a HOPES scholarship funded by the EU through the ‘EU Madad Fund’ at Salahaddin University.
“I used to be a student at the University in Aleppo but due to war in Syria, I was forced, just like many others, to drop out of school and seek refuge with my family in Kurdistan region. Due to the circumstances, I had to postpone my studies for two years. Then, I joined the university again, but I had become a mother of two, Lauraine and Riwan, with family responsibilities. I was in my third year already, but I had to restart from the first year at the Salahaddin University because the academic materials were different. I faced some difficulties of language, adaptation in the beginning with the new environment. It was a challenge to coordinate between my responsibilities of a mother, a wife and being a student. I did not have enough sleep, which had drained me. But with patience, perseverance and support from my family and friends, I was among the top students in my field. I still remember the day when I applied for HOPES scholarship. I wanted to reduce expenses on my husband and ensure those of my academic studies. University fees are always a barrier for students and can cause additional concerns for them The HOPES project alleviates a portion of these burdens so that the student can continue his studies and save him effort and fatigue, especially in my case as we are a family of four people and my husband is the sole breadwinner for us.I was in the top students for four years; I was ranked 1st on the Department level and 2nd on the Faculty level. I got the best research project and academic poster on both the Department of Plant Protection and the Faculty levels, as well as I received an award from the Faculty and a certificate of appreciation from the University presidency, for having participated for a research project project in all the faculties of the Salahaddin University. I chose this field of study because Agriculture is life and provides life. I am passionate about nature and fight against plant diseases and insects that reduce plant production and threatens food security. Together with some of my colleagues, I planted beans – from agriculture to production for the first time in greenhouses and participated in workshops outside the college. I would like to do a lot of research in agriculture and get my masters and doctorate. My message to students is that they put their goals in mind and think of the importance of what they are doing. One must stay up, feel exhausted and depressed at times, without getting defeated. Perseverance, patience, time management and self-motivation are key. Don’
t hesitate to ask for help. Don‘t be shy about asking for something you don’t understand.”
By Midia Saleh