“It never crossed my mind that I’d be leaving Syria,” said Noor Joma’a. At 24, she could not anticipate having to leave her country in the middle of her university studies to start a new life in Jordan, along with more than 600,000 others.
Jordan is one of the countries most affected by the Syrian crisis, with 89 refugees for every 1,000 inhabitants, and higher education is expensive, unlike in Syria where it is free. Despite this, many scholarship providers only focus on Syrian nationals, neglecting Jordanian youth. Noor was born and raised in Syria, but holds the Jordanian nationality from her ancestors. She applied for scholarships for four years, but all required a Syrian nationality card. “I got depressed. I removed all my coloured clothes and kept only the black ones only, as this was the only colour I was seeing,” she explained.
But Noor kept herself busy during the four lost years. She worked as a private tutor for students in her area. “I started teaching myself English by watching Youtube videos. I invested in myself so that doors would open, eventually”.
And they did. Noor was accepted for a scholarship from SPARK and Al Fakhoora to study Business Management diploma at Luminus Technical University College. Noor kept her tutoring job during her studies, “I used to wake up at 3:30am each morning to study before I left my house, as the evenings were occupied by tutoring”.
She had classes in Accounting within the course and her teacher noticed her abilities in the subject. “I even started teaching my classmates [Accounting],” she said. “All of us got high marks in the Accounting final exam”. Noor decided to change her major to Accounting & Financial Management, where she went on to gain the highest grade in the whole country in the Jordanian comprehensive exam!
Upon Noor’s successful graduation, her college – Luminus Technical University College – offered her a job in the finance department there. Noor was delighted. “Education has and always will be my goal,” she said. “In five years, I’ll get my Master’s degree and start teaching my favourite subject, Accounting!”. Noor is proof that obstacles exist to make us stronger.