Living a (water)dream - From Young Expert in Yemen to master student in the Netherlands
Nada Al-Dahmashi joined YEP Water in 2017, being a Young Expert for MetaMeta in Yemen. Last year, she acquired a scholarship and moved from the Middle East to the Netherlands. She is now doing the master program Urban Water and Sanitation – Sanitary Engineering at IHE Delft Institute for Water Education.
You did your YEP Programme at MetaMeta in Yemen. Can you share a little bit about your experience?
I was lucky to start my career with MetaMeta, a company where many of its employees have started their careers. As commonly found in Dutch organisations, MetaMeta is a company with a flat organisational structure and culture. This contrasted with where I came from; a culture that makes a lot of differences regarding hierarchy and gender. To be honest, I liked the Dutch working environment. It gave me the space to express my ideas and openly share suggestions or interventions.
During and after the two years of YEP my skills were developed and changed, as well as my personal life. I significantly improved my communication skills; my project management and coordination skills; and my presentation skills both professionally and personally.
After finishing YEP programmes, you started studying in the Netherlands. How did that happen?
When I was in the Netherlands doing my YEP training I was impressed by the Dutch approaches to water management. I also got the chance to go on field visits which allowed me to see the high technologies in wastewater treatment plants, aquaponic farms and the Maeslantkering. At institutes and universities in the Netherlands, this long experience in the water and agriculture field is being provided through expert trainers and teachers. YEP invited some of them to share their real-life stories and experiences during the YEP Training sessions.
All these things combined, together with my passion to get more water knowledge made me seriously think of doing my masters in the Netherlands, the country where you can drink water from the faucet!
How did YEP Programmes help you win the scholarship?
I think good planning and precise preparation of documents are really important factors. Most importantly you have to share your real desire in doing the thing you aim to do, it brings faith and hope that will make you reach your dreams and plans. YEP programmes helped me to concrete this desire and reach this dream.
If I reflect then I think that the skills developed (also in working on personal development through coaching sessions), as well as the network and knowledge acquired have helped. However I think most important is that it sparked my desire to take on this master; in terms of ‘yes I want to study in the Netherlands’ but also ‘yes I can’. The visits and the YEP programme allowed me to experience the Netherlands: the directness of the Dutch, but also the learning from the Dutch training and studies, is that you should rather work smarter than harder, and you know what they say ‘it’s learning by doing!’.
I also got kind of used to the weather (both YEP training were in winter ☹), and how to deal with people and this lovely diversity of nationalities in the Netherlands.
You now have the chance to do a public shout out to 'your' batch 13. What would you like to say to them?
(NB. This question actually makes the article too long, so we will try to put this into a separate block next to the article.)
I am glad to have you all as friends and happy that we’re still in touch. We shared a lot of nice memories, we laughed, danced and ate together. I personally did ice skating for the first time with YEP#13, this is something I will not forget!
Thank you for creating these memories and for this experience with all of you.