How it all started
It all started when I attended an unusual course at my home university under the title Human Resources Management where the teacher introduced the concept of how to be a globalized citizen with 21st-century skills. I started to dream and think globally, became self-driven to go beyond education to learn and gain knowledge beyond the given text. The flame of curiosity to experience and explore transformed my dream into a goal. The sound of the word “unknown” became the main passion to explore new areas, a new lifestyle, away from the norm. I wanted to sense the feeling of traveling, the smell of grass, to be totally independent with my sound choices, and of course to enjoy the feeling of detachment from home to another reality where I would be surrounded by colleagues from international backgrounds. This was the new color and skin I wanted. The first step was addressing the External Academic Relations Office at my Home University where I was briefed and introduced to Erasmus+ Program Student Mobility. I got to know more about the application procedure, criteria of selection and learnt more on how-to for creating a successful application with a competitive edge.The call for Erasmus+ Student Mobility to Deusto was announced by the Palestinian Ministry of Higher Education on a national scale, one seat available among 15 universities in Palestine competing for this opportunity. It was a competition that I challenged myself to win. After a short while, I was contacted by the Ministry that I was exclusively and competitively nominated for this opportunity. Time felt like thin air, three months passed to find myself walking in the corridors of 2019 Spring semester at Deusto University in Bilbao/Spain.
Arrival at Deusto
First step at Deusto was to explore different methods of learning and interacting with new staff, academics and students with diverse backgrounds. Once I got engaged in the program and became part of the enrollment process and procedure, the exposure lead me to know my true call and passion for life and living. I met influential Bilbao locals and internationals where we all blended in an extraordinary enabling environment. We had a lot to talk about and share especially since they wanted to know more about my daily life and living in Palestine, with all that they hear from social media, which by the way I can now totally understand where their prespective was established and comprehended.
Dancing and Spanish
So, my true passion is dancing. Back home this is considered to be a hobby, not a career. As an active traditional folkloric Palestinian “Dabkeh” dancer, I wanted to learn more about new folkloric traditional dancing themes and patterns, so I attended a local dance center to pick up Flamenco Spanish dance. I emjoyed dancing with talented Spanish ladies and, by the way, I improved my Spanish language via practicing. I needed to learn the language because that was the only difficulty I confronted in my entire mobility experience.
What I take from this experience
Upon my return from Deusto, I realized the benefit of the student mobility experience when coincidentally I had an opportunity to start my career in dancing. I saw an announcement about a national competition to choose an “Ambassador of Palestine for Heritage and Folklore” to compete in an international world Heritage Competition under the auspices of the League of the Arab States and UNESCO in Cairo. Thanks to Deusto’s experience, I saw myself in that competition, a liberal young woman who can spread her country’s cultural heritage, youth achievements, and represent the ambition of the young Palestinian generation.
I can’t deny that the Erasmus+ experience was the main motivation that pushed me to apply for this competition. The cultural interaction I experienced; the knowledge I gained about the nation’s lifestyles; learning more about human rights, international values and ethics; how to be a globalized liberal Citizen all added value to my personality and presence. I learned how to accept others no matter how different they are from my background and standards; to be open to varied cultures and backgrounds, I became a person who wants to stand out and create a leading career that expresses true passion and goodwill intentions in life. And the most important thing is that I discovered that every person has a message to spread and share worldwide, no matter how small and / or insignificant one person may/might self-evaluate oneself.I am proud to present and represent myself as an icon to empower the Palestinian Youth from all genders and backgrounds. My message is dedicated to all young people around the world, GET OUT of your comfort zone if you wish, desire, and dream to get internally connected with your true inner self and identity. Erasmus Program and Deusto University opened doors of opportunities for me. I advise you to go out and hunt after your dream, make it true, make it happen. Simply live life and the moment to the fullest. Don’t forget, be genuine, be your best self, BE YOU (BU).
Samar Qwasmi, Bethlehem University (BU), Palestine