What’s your name and what are you studying?
My name is Shadi Salameh, I’m a medical student at Technion, Haifa.
What’s your age?
I am 24 years old
Can you tell us a little bit about your background and life?
I was born in a very warm, supportive and appreciative family – dad, mom, two sisters, and brother twin. Unfortunately, my parents have no much financial means – Dad and Mom are elderly and suffering from some illness and disability, Mom is a housewife and receiving a disability pension, and Dad worked as an employee in a factory and due to the Corona epidemic, he is now unemployed, however, they are in favour of learning, succeeding, and thriving. We as a family are very united and sharing all things with each other, which is very special for me and gives me so much strength and motivation to continue on my way. My twin brother and I are both type 1 diabetics, and this has put us in a lot of empowering situations and we have received a lot of support and love. Today we are balanced and following a healthy lifestyle. However, I think it greatly affected us as students not to be active in the job market that available to students in general, which made it difficult for us Financially. I made a hard and long way to get to where I am today, I gave up a lot of things, I preferred things, I made a way in which I was able to shape my personality, strengthen it and add more values and features to it. I’m a sociable guy who likes to volunteer and contribute from myself to society. Today I volunteer at the “Ashujaan accociation” – Brave in Arabic-, a Diabetes Association located at Nazareth, where I accompany the diabetic children and teaching them how to accept their situation and know how to deal with it. In addition, I lecture at schools in order to raise awareness about this topic among Arab society.
How did you end up applying for the Galilee scholarship program?
Since I started studying, I heard about the scholarship from a friend who had already been accepted for the scholarship but unfortunately, I missed the opportunity to register. She told me how much the program supports both financially and socially, and I knew it might help me financially especially that in the first it was hard for me to fund my payments and financial expenses, so, in the second year of my studies I decided to register as soon as the registration opened, and indeed that is what happened.
Would you have been able to afford going to university if it was
not for this scholarship?
As a student who in his first year of study did not have this scholarship, I did not get along so well financially due to all the financial obstacles in the family medical difficulties that prevented me from earning an income and earning a living along with my studies, it was hard to fund my studies’ expenses. In the second year I was accepted for this scholarship, this financial support helped me a lot to put my debts and expenses in order, so I realized how important and vital this scholarship was to me and without it everything could have been more difficult and complicated.
What for you are the key benefits of the program?
I think the benefits of the program are multiple and varied. First of all, the financial support we get is one of the main and attractive benefits, I believe the scholarship helps many Arab students to succeed and prove themselves in this racist country, especially since there are not so many options to get this support, and if there are any then the requirements are very tough and not very suitable to combine with studies. While in this program this combination is possible and convenient, especially since the staff is very flexible and come towards the students so the success of the students comes as a first priority in the program. In addition, all the campaigns and activities organized by the staff in the program greatly teach and enrich the students, provide them with the tools and self-confidence to be leaders and dominant in their study frameworks, and contribute to their personality, which increases the motivation to succeed, thrive and stand out.
The program enables a huge social network, so it is a tremendous opportunity to establish relationships with Arab students who come from different backgrounds with diverse beliefs and it can further deepen the meaning of our identity as an Arab ethnic minority. This network is also significant at the academic level, there is a lot of academical assistance and support among the students. Furthermore, it is worth noting that the staff itself always takes care of students who have difficulty in their studies and invests in offering them academic help by other students in the program
What are the biggest challenges you face in your day-to-day studies?
As a diabetic student, I have to deal with something else besides my studies, which is one of the challenges I face in my day-to-day life. First of all, I need to set myself a monthly budget for my own medications and the healthy diet I follow, in addition I have to combine my studies, my activities and my social life along with physical exercise to keep my blood sugar balanced. Thanks to my supportive environment (parents, friends, volunteering at the Diabetes Association, and participating in this program) I have been able to cope excellently with this challenge. In this program, students were given an activity of how to arrange their schedule and day-to-day priorities, and this is one of the things that contributed to my coping with my challenges significantly.
What are your goals in life and what would you like to do after your studies?
Since I was diagnosed with diabetes I have been exposed to many opinions about diabetes in Arab society, and I realized that the awareness around the issue is extremely low so there are a lot of misconceptions that need to be changed. This intensified when I volunteered at the “Ashugan”- Type 1 Diabetes Association and noticed up close how the parents of diabetic children are unaware of their children’s condition and don’t have the tools to accept and deal with it. While volunteering, I heard stories from the children that others don’t accept them just because they are diabetic, I think it indicates a lack of awareness and insufficient education whether it is from home or in schools, so one of my goals in life is to continue lecturing in schools and increase awareness about diabetes because I believe that everyone should feel accepted and socially integrated in order to prevent outbreaks of mental disorders and acceptance or self-esteem problems.
All this encouraged me to study medicine and deepened my motivation and desire to be an endocrinologist in the future so that I could make a certain revolution, change, or improve awareness and misconceptions about diabetes. I hope to get there and specialize in this subject and achieve my goals.
What do you consider to be your greatest achievement to date?
The most significant achievement for me to date is that I have studied hard and achieved respectable grades along with maintaining a balanced health status, and a satisfying social life without letting all the challenges and financial obstacles take over me and prevent me from continuing my studies. This was very important to me because I did not want to disappoint myself or my family who did all its best and gave up a lot of things in order to support me both morally and financially. And so, I prove to myself that desire, motivation, and determination are major and important things that can help people achieve their goals.
What has been the most significant change in
your life since participating in the Scholarship Programme?
Tell us why you consider this change to be the most significant.
Since participating in this scholarship program, I have gained a lot of confidence to talk about my identity freely that before I would not even think about it, no longer afraid to express my opinion, and I have learned to accept myself and others more and more. And thanks to all the activity in this program I learn about where I live, its history, its past occupation and the importance of being an open-minded, revolutionary, purposeful, educated, intellectual, worker, dreamer, and ambitious generation. I think this is very important in order to form a civilised, supportive society that believes in all freedoms to all its people.
Finally…. tell us your favourites:
Book: mmmm Not sure.
Film: Ghadi – Lebanese film
Band/artist: George Khabbaz
One more thing: Would you like to give a
message to our supporters?
I want to thank you for your support, I highly appreciate this great opportunity that any student can dream of, I was honoured to receive the scholarship as a donation from you, it is very significant for me and for continue studying so this gave me big motivation to work hard and give the maximum.