- Who are you and what have you done in the past?
Thank you for the chance to introduce myself. My name is Mohammad AlSaleh and I have a Bachelor’s Degree in information and technology, 5 years, equivalent to a masters here. I already did two exchanges in Europe, in France and Brussels. I also did an internship in IT and programming. I also learnt French here and now I finished my six months at JESC. Amazing six months, a lot of experience.
- What brought you to Brussels?
I arrived to Europe in 2014 to France, with a scholarship and I stayed for 1 year. Then I moved to Brussels with another scholarship and because I have family here. I prefer Belgium than France.
- Any personal slogan that makes you remember who you are?
I do not have a lot of motto in my heart but one I like is “make fun, not war”. Specially for me being a person who comes from Syria. So always when I present myself, I come from Syria and I try to make people laugh or be friendly. They can have the impression that because I come from a war zone, we had this bad time and I prefer to make people laugh and have fun.
- How did you find out about JESC and Why did you apply to JESC?
I wanted to start my career here in Belgium in a non-profit organisation because I wanted to get some experience in this working environment so it helps me in my future career in Belgium. It was useful for me to start in an organisation to help me to develop myself personally and professionally. Also, the values of JESC are freedom, human rights as I already did some related work in the Red Cross in Syria where I worked one month. I wanted to learn how to work with professionals, improve my skills in IT and how to collaborate and communicate with the people I work with.
I learnt about JESC because I have a Belgium friend who was my neighbour and his wife worked with Jesuits before so she encouraged me to make the interview.
- What did you expect from JESC and what differed from your expectations once you were here?
When I started to work here I knew it would not be like a Software company. I did not expect it to work as it does as I have not done an internship in other organisations. I learned a lot of different working aspects: communication, because of all the meetings, self- management from the daily working reports and the most challenging, working with others in a professional environment. From a technical perspective I did not learn as much but rather put into practice my student knowledge on IT. Besides, I learnt more in a general way, working. I had a problem, if it can be addressed this way, I left Syria straight after I graduated, so I did not have the experience to work with a group, but it turned out smoothly and I take this opportunity with me.
- Three words to describe JESC
Friendly, Committed, Professionalism.
- What did you do accomplish at JESC? What did you learn at JESC?
I improved more in a personal rather than a professional way, which is definitely a bigger asset for a future position at another workplace. I accomplished personal goals as I mentioned, but also, I learned more English as I could not speak my mother tongue Arabic. As I mentioned previously, there is not a lot of work for a software developer but I felt my skills increased by cognitive growth. For these purposes, I did receive training for 10 days at Maribor in Slovenia at a Software Solutions company called Flawless Code.
- What was the most challenging situation you faced?
Meetings made me a little stressed at the beginning. I did not know how the meetings were handled when I arrived, plus I am more of a technical person so in many occasions I did not know what to say in case it was inappropriate. Slowly I understood how the periodic meetings worked and I participated more in to meeting discussions.
- How do you think it will impact on your future performance? in particular regarding the work in a team.
When I was in University, in Syria and in France I did not work in a team and so when I started it was challenging but then I learnt a lot about how to work with others. It is very important, especially with IT employees they should learn how to be part of the whole picture as we are normally focused on our own performance and in front of our screens.
- Last statement from you to JESC.
Everyone here had an impact on me. Considering it is a small team and multicultural I get a different message from every member. For instance, advice and treatment was different with each person. I was very integrated and it was like a big family.