What she described as an ‘impossible dream’ turned into a fantastic accomplishment for Syrian refugee Shefaa Al Deek as she graduates from Queens University Belfast (QUB), but it doesn’t stop there.
If there is a story that encapsulates sheer determination and motivation, it has to be this one.
Syrian refugee Shefaa Al Deek who recently graduated from Queens University in Belfast, receiving the prestigious First Class Honours, has described her educational journey as complicated, yet she persevered.
“The journey was very tough, and at times I thought I wasn’t able to do it anymore”, the inspirational young woman goes on to explain how she made her dream come true and what her future plans entail.
Refugee graduates from Belfast University – a dream come true
Not only did Shefaa Al Deek arrive in an unknown country seven years ago, but not speaking English made it even harder for her.
Despite the language struggles, Shefaa took matters into her own hands to make her lifelong dream of becoming a Software Engineer a reality by teaching herself English.
“When I arrived in the UK in 2016, my English was limited, and I couldn’t speak or understand it”, adding, “My dream of getting into university and becoming a Software Engineer looked far beyond impossible”.
Taking all the necessary steps to achieve her goals, including taking various courses and an English language test, Shefaa was determined to follow her dream.
Talking about the source of her motivation, Shefaa’s determination is exemplified by her favourite quote – ‘A dream doesn’t become a reality through magic; it takes sweat, determination and hard work’.
Through relentless effort, she gained a place at Queens University in September 2019, a place that she credits for its multiculturalism and diversity.
Syrian refugee achieves her goals at Belfast University – a sense of belonging
When speaking of her time at Queens University Belfast, the Syrian student recognises a sense of belonging amongst others from various backgrounds.
She acknowledges the support of her tutors, who motivated her to persist despite the barriers and difficulties along the way. “Being from a different background, I love how diverse Queen’s University is, and as I got to know people from everywhere, I always felt that I fitted in”.
In addition, Shefaa credits her loving family and friends, who always supported her as she worked tirelessly to accomplish her dream of becoming a software engineer.
“I would like to give special thanks to my family, especially my mum, who’s always been my role model for a successful woman and an amazing mother, and my brother Alaa who believed in me and was always there for me”.
It doesn’t end there – the dream continues for Shefaa
Despite graduating with a First Class Honours, Shefaa feels she has the whole world in her hands and is even more determined to keep going.
Her studies will continue, as she will soon undertake a course in Artificial Intelligence at Queens University in Belfast, Northern Ireland.
Shefaa inspires many to achieve their dreams and goals no matter how impossible they may seem. She said, “Dreams can become a reality when you believe in yourself and work hard.
“Never let tough times hold you back from pursuing your dream, and remember that tomorrow you will wish you had started today”.