Youth in Focus: An Interview with Mohammad A.

Mohammad Alawneh is from Azmout, a village outside of Nablus. He graduated from An Najah University in 2014 with a bachelor’s degree in Telecommunication Engineering. Alawneh

What sparked your interest in TYO’s Youth Service Learning program? Have you volunteered before?

Last session, I participated in a CV writing course at An Najah University offered by TYO’s international interns. I enjoyed it and found it very helpful, especially because I knew that I would need an improved and more professional CV when I graduated. I then heard through the university’s career counseling services that TYO was recruiting classroom volunteers for the Spring 2015 session. I was curious to volunteer at TYO and work with children so I decided to apply.

For me, working with children is a very important professional and personal experience. Each of us is a brother or sister, a future father or mother. If we can learn to work with children – particularly learning patience and learning how to listen to and understand their needs – it will help us in our personal lives and also professionally in working with adults.

What are your career goals, and how will volunteering at TYO help you reach those?

My current goal is to work in the field of wireless communication, networking, and satellites. Ideally I want to find a job in Europe or the U.S. because there are limited opportunities in that field in Palestine. Right now, I am working towards applying for my master’s degree in Germany.

Through working with children, I have learned how to communicate in a clear and direct way and also how to be patient. TYO has also helped me to build my self-confidence and leadership skills, and I have learned about commitment and professionalism in the workplace.

Additionally, I know that many youth my age do not see how important and valuable every minute is for improving ourselves professionally and preparing to enter the job market. Through volunteering at TYO, I have learned to value time and to treat every minute as an opportunity to learn.

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

The political situation here really limits career opportunities in certain sectors, and telecommunications is definitely one of those fields. Right after I graduated, I worked on a telecommunications project and submitted it for approval and implementation; unfortunately, we could not move forward with the project because the frequency bandwidth was not available due to restrictions from the Israeli government. It is discouraging and has certainly pushed me to consider a career outside of Palestine, even though I wish I could contribute to telecommunications infrastructure here in Palestine.

What do you believe your generation can do to overcome that challenge?

Under the current political situations, there are certain factors that are our of our hands. However, one thing that is in our hands is our education. We need to pursue a strong education and build our professional skills in order to overcome other external restrictions.

If there was one skill you wish you had (English, IT, etc.) what would it be and why?

English language. It has been the greatest challenge in my education and also the skill I need to improve most to pursue my career. Through working at TYO and taking formal courses on the side, I hope my English will improve. I also want to improve my public speaking skills; volunteering at TYO has already helped me significantly in that regard.

– Interviewed by Futoon Qadri, Outreach Coordinator