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Ottawa, Canada (April, 2010)

Alsalam Alikom to everyone,

I was delighted to be asked by our Embassy to write a short biography about myself. Frankly I was motivated and happy because it gave me an opportunity to share my experience with my Yemeni peers so that they get to know me better. The goal, at least as I understand it, is to share the experience I gained while obtaining my studies, with my fellow Yemeni students, both current and prospective. I do admit, although I have been through many challenges, difficulties, and successes in my life here in Canada, that there exist many Yemeni students who have encountered many more experiences than I have.

It’s always easy to write about others, but, as you can imagine, it’s very difficult to write about yourself. To start, my name is Abdullah Nijad. I am 25 years old, married, and I have a daughter, Wafa, who is the light of my life. I came to Canada in 2004 to pursue my Bachelor’s Degree in Civil Engineering. I achieved the #1 score in the Ministry of Education Grade 12 exams in 2003. I was honoured to be chosen as one of the ten students sponsored annually by Nexen Inc. as part of their human development program to the Yemeni people. I graduated with Distinction from the University of Ottawa, and I am currently completing my Master’s Degree in Engineering at the University of Toronto, and am also working full time in the nuclear industry.

I started my Bachelor’s Degree at the University of Calgary. I faced several challenges in my first year, from homesickness to learning difficulties and trying to adjust my studying techniques to be able to succeed. I failed to achieve my personal goals and I didn’t succeed at first - I even failed all of my first semester midterms, but with strong faith and support from family and friends, combined with huge effort, I was able to overcome my challenges and to succeed. Or so I think!

Before I came to Canada, I used to only have one plan. This plan was easy, clear, and without many obstacles and challenges. I used to call it Plan ‘A’. After I came here, Plan ‘A’ didn’t work, so I had to find other plans. I have learned to create Plans ‘A’, ‘B’, ‘C’, and ‘D’. Plan ‘A’ is the easiest and fastest; D is the hardest and most time consuming. Plan ‘D’ almost always transpires. What I am trying to say is that things won’t always go according to your first plan. You should be prepared with alternative plans that will fulfil your goals. You should have clear and specific goals. Try to develop them in a systematic way. Set time limits, work hard and never, ever lose faith in yourself.

I have learned, in the past six years of my life, many things through my experience here in Canada. I have learned to respect everyone, because everyone here respects you (mutual respect). I have learned tolerance. I have learned to listen to everyone, but not necessarily take advice from everyone.

My advice to the new students who have come to this wonderful country is to pursue their goals and dreams. Listen to everyone, but please don’t take advice from everyone. Your ability is different from any other person you see. Even if you fail, it is not the end of the world. Failure is one step towards success. If you believe in yourself and the purpose for which you have come thousands of miles, I promise you will, with determination, succeed in your dreams.

Each and every one of us, in whatever field we have chosen to pursue, is a great treasure to ourselves and our country. Take advantage of this experience - enjoy and have fun, but work very hard:

“Shoot for the moon. Even if you miss it you will land among the stars.”

Less Brown, Motivational Speaker

I have always asked for advice and help from my friends. I believe that a person should at least have two close friends and family members to consult with and from whom they can take advice. Chose your friends wisely and I am sure they will be happy to help. I believe everyone will eventually understand what I am saying, however, I will feel that sharing my experience has been successful if everyone who reads this is able to learn from it now, thereby avoiding some of the struggle and tough times that I have experienced.

If you need any help or advice, please don’t hesitate to contact me at:
abdullahnijad@yahoo.com. Please, also feel free to contact the Embassy directly should you have any concerns.


Abdullah Mohamed Nijad

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