Youth in Focus: An Interview with Wala’ Abu-Hamad

TYO volunteers act as mentors for young children Wala’ Abu-Hamad graduated from An-Najah National University and studied English Language and Literature. Wala’ is from Nablus, Palestine.

What initially interested you interested in TYO's STEP! Program?

I was interested in registering for the STEP! program because I wanted to develop my English language skills- as this is a highly sought after need in the job market. Further, I wanted to get experience working with children.

Have you volunteered before?

This is my first voluntary experience because I didn’t know before that there are places like TYO to volunteers and develop our professional experience. I heard about the STEP! program through my friends who were volunteering at TYO before.

What do you hope to do as a career and how do you think this will help you?

I would like to work as a translator for an international organization, such as TYO. I think volunteering at TYO will help me to achieve this dream. In my role as a volunteer at TYO, I translate for the international interns in The Women's Group. I've been learning how to work with people from different cultures and the importance of translating both words and actions to ensure meaning is conveyed. The training TYO offers through the STEP! has also been helpful in teaching me how to lead a group, and communicate with others.

What is the greatest challenge for youth like you in the current labor market?

In general, I think that the biggest challenge for youth in the labor market is the lack of job opportunities. I've found that most available jobs require previous work experience, which is difficult for a recent graduate to have. Another major challenge I've found is that graduates are not finding jobs in their field of study. Many people take the first job they can get, which often leads them down a career path entirely different than what they had planned and studied for. The problem seems to be that there is a disconnect between the types of jobs available and the skills graduates are leaving university with.

Where do you hope to be 5 years from now?

In 5 years I hope to be a successful translator in an international organization. It has been my dream to be translator since I was in grade school.

-Interview conducted by Volunteer Coordinator, Ruba

This program – as part of Student Training and Employment Program (STEP!) – is sponsored in part by the Abdul Hameed Shoman Foundation.