Amid

19-09-2008 | Bilal Benyaich

In my opinion the most important condition here in Belgium is the language

Amid, een Palestijnse universiteitsstudent die anoniem wenst te blijven, studeert informatica aan de Vrije Universiteit Brussel. Bron: Kif Kif In my opinion the most important condition here in Belgium is the language. 06/05/2007 - Bilal Benyaich   Amid, een Palestijnse universiteitsstudent die anoniem wenst te blijven, studeert informatica aan de Vrije Universiteit Brussel. Dit jaar zal hij afstuderen als informatica ingenieur. Omdat hij geen beurs ontving om zijn studies te bekostigen, heeft hij van bij zijn aankomst geprobeerd om een studentenjob te versieren. Maar zonder resultaat: kennis van één der landstalen bleek een noodzakelijke voorwaarde. Uiteindelijk heeft hij twee jaar lang op de kosten van zijn familie uit Gaza moeten leven.   Good afternoon, can you tell us who you are? My name is Amid, I come from Palestine, more specifically from Gaza and came to Belgium to get a master degree in informatics engineering at the VUB. When did you arrive in Belgium? A year and a half ago I came to Belgium, at the beginning of the academic year 2005-2006. How do you pay your studies? Actually, I face big problems with paying my staying and studies in Belgium, because I didn’t receive a scholarship. In the beginning I was convinced that there would be possibilities to get a decent student job or part time job. But exactly the opposite was true, so I live and study now thanks to the financial aid of my father. As you may know, our situation in Palestine is very precarious, as a result of the Israeli occupation and Euro-American boycott. So my family who’ s supporting me are having a very hard time. You live alone? No, I’m married and have two children. Did they also come from Palestine? Yes, they did. How do you manage to live then without a scholarship? I’ve tried to find a job, but I have to admit it is a very difficult task. There was one exception and that was last year when I had the opportunity to work during a couple of days at the Expo boekenfestijn in Brussels. Did you search for other types of jobs in other sectors? Yes, off course, also in my field of computer science. What I’ve learned so far is that spoken language of French or Dutch are obligatory to apply for a job, and unfortunately in my case I barely speak those languages, as my studies are always taught in English. So, I know it’s very important to know the language to work here, but how can I combine my studies with a wife and two children to support, learning the Dutch or French language and simultaneously looking for a job? That is an impossible task, indeed. Did you also face some other problems next to the language problem? In my opinion the most important condition here in Belgium is the language. In Belgium you have 3 languages and if you want to work you have to know 2 or 3 of them! Friends of mine, also foreign students, experienced racism when they applied for a job or even during their work. Is knowledge of Dutch or French also a threshold for jobs like industrial cleaning or kitchen work? Yes, also for those simple, mechanic jobs there is that language demand! I went to the job service at the VUB, but also there I was told that I need to learn Dutch as a condition to work. There are many student jobs available but you need to know French or Dutch to work. Did you try to find a job at the Brussels Airport? After all, it is an international airport where the knowledge of English could be sufficient. I went to the airport, to Brucargo I think, and there were many jobs available but still when I told them that I arrived a year ago and that I cannot talk Dutch, they show me the door. But at the labor market for temporary jobs they won’t accept you if you don’t speak the local language, even not for those very simple jobs that you mentioned. Why didn’t you take Dutch courses? I went to register myself, but after a couple of weeks, I couldn’t attend class anymore because it took 3 hours a day every day. My wife is studying biotechnology, so who will take care of the children? Do you think that it will be less problematic to find a job once you have your master degree? After all, in Belgium there is a great shortage on computer scientists. Absolutely! To be honest, international companies don’t have the language demand, so that makes them more accessible. There is also a good chance that I’ll have an academic carreer: I’m writing my PhD proposal at the moment so let’s hope I’ll find the necessary funding. Thank you for your time Amid, and good luck! You’re welcome.

http://www.kifkif.be/jobs/amid