"I remember how the variation of first-year subjects was my favourite part because I got to learn about all the different aspects of business management, especially the international angle."
For this month’s Life@AMSIB, we got in touch with everyone’s favourite friend, Pegy Ibrahim, a 3rd year AMSIB student who sprinkles a bit of happiness everywhere she goes! We asked for her unique perspective on life at our school and she gave us nothing but honest and heartfelt answers. Read on with us to see what Pegy had to say!
Tell us your story! What’s your background?
Hi, my name is Pegy! I’m not sure where to start with my story… I’m basically a refugee from Syria who came here about 5 years ago when I was 16. I’m 21 now. When I first came here, I had to do some courses to start learning the language before I could think about what to study further down the line. When the time came for me to do so, I really wanted to do something with business! So, what I did is I attended an Open Day, which is a very popular thing to do in the Netherlands. I initially went to see a Dutch program called Commercial Economy but then discovered the AMSIB IB programme. I remember during the open day a student that was graduating shared how happy she was with the school, and she looked so great – I told myself that I wanted to be her in 4 years, and that’s why I chose this program! I was actually supposed to start studying a year earlier but I had to take a gap year because of personal circumstances. My dad was very sick, and he passed away as well in that year, so I started studying a year later.
Is there something that you would like more people to know about your culture?
In Middle Eastern culture it is quite important to be welcoming, nice, and respectful to people as well generous when it comes to inviting them and showing them that you care. Care and respect really are, in general, a very important part of our culture. We show this to other people by reflecting these values in our manners like by being generous in our invitations, paying for the bill… things like that are how we show that we care and I think that that is something beautiful that I wish I could keep, even in a place as expensive as The Netherlands where when we go to a restaurant the bill is bound to be quite high. I hope that sometimes I can pay, so that I too can show how much I care.
What are your thoughts on the semester being online?
I must say… I was really in shock and a little disappointed because it’s not what we had in mind. We were hoping that things would get better and would go back to normal, but the truth is, I don’t think “normal” is normal anymore. It’s going to be something to get used to. We didn’t have the mindset now that we were going to do this for a long while – we were just adapting to something temporary. Now that this is not temporary anymore, I think it’s going to be tough. At the same time, it will be a new experience that might benefit us in the future, maybe give us some skills that’ll help us in our future like having online meetings or virtual collaborations. I do hope that there will still be this connection: getting to know new people, seeing them face to face even if its once or twice a week, gathering for group work and projects… just to not lose that vibrant face-to-face environment.
Finally, do you have any advice for our young first year students?
I think for someone who is starting their studies, that experience is really exciting! Everyone might be overwhelmed in the first semester of their first year because there really is a lot of information and adapting. My advice would be to really enjoy classes and subjects. I remember how the variation of the first-year subjects was my favourite part because I got to learn about all the different aspects of business management, especially the international angle. Because it’s going to be online, I do advise people to still try to connect with their groups and get to know in their class. Meet up, try to work together, and try to keep it as normal as possible by communicating in person. Just because it’s online you don’t have to think of it as a bad thing. Keep in mind that you can be wherever you want and still be able to follow an education. This is a really positive thing to consider that I did not see in the beginning, but now my eyes are opening up to the fact that I can somewhat be on “vacation” and still continue my 3rd year. So, for students: I know this is something different that you hadn’t expected during your first year but try to make the best out of it and to keep it positive. Don’t let the virtual system keep you from connecting. It’s your first year, and you’re now a student at university level, so live it!