“Move out of your comfort zone. You can only grow if you are willing to feel awkward and uncomfortable when you try something new.”
Just like any biomedical engineering student, people continuously told me that my major has no career prospects in the UAE, but little do they know. Not all college degrees are equal, and that is enough for some students to ignore their interests and force themselves into a certain major.
However, during my internship at The University of Western Australia, I discovered the hidden potentials of my major.
I was asked to write about the skills I gained from this experience, and honestly aside from all the technical stuff, it made me realize that I was detracted from what I really want to do, just because I had meticulously defined goals in mind.
Moving out from my comfort zone was not easy. In fact, when I attended the first meeting at the Centre for Forensic Science in UWA, I did not fully understand what was expected from me. I’ve always thought that; regardless of the effort I put, I will never reach a level that I desire. However, I learnt to stop assessing myself based on a bad experience I had or someone’s opinion, for that will bring me nothing but negativity in my life.
In addition, mixing with experts in the field, or people that are better than you, will always help in enhancing your methods to increase your chances of success.
My supervisor, Dr. Guan Tay, and everyone in the center were very helpful. The meetings carried regularly were in a round table, providing the element of good eye contact, everyone had equal opportunity to share their thoughts and what they know. Numerous project outlines were created in the center through this type of communication.
In Perth, my group of friends and I experienced the real life of international students for six weeks. Some girls have the ability to meet the requirements for studying abroad, however most of them are afraid of moving out from their hometown. Indeed, being in a totally new environment and away from family is not easy at all, as I was told by my –soon to be a doctor- Emirati friend Hiba Albaloushi “you will eventually find yourself in a position where you have no option but to adapt”. But believe me, you will never know the value that you can add to your country unless you sacrifice a little.
It was also my first time spending Ramadan outside the UAE and away from my family. The holy month’s vibe was really missed, yet my friends and I tried our best imitate it to make it feel more like home, Aussie style!
People in Perth were so kind and culturally sensitive, for me that is the most important thing in any place I go.
Pushing my boundaries and the inspiring people I met on this short journey boosted my confidence level and made me more passionate about my major. That being said, I wish the best of luck for everyone in finding their true passion whether it is near or miles away.
By Halima Alnaqbi
Biomedical Engineering Student at Khalifa University