Experience of Mr. Mohamed Abdelhamy Farag with NFP in the Netherlands
My name is Mohamed Abdelhamy, 26 years old, and I’m from Egypt. I work as an engineering geologist for Dar Al-Handasah Consultants. I have always been interested in the field of Geographic Information Science (GIS), which has a wide range of use in my discipline of work. The main challenge I have been facing is the fact that enhancing my knowledge in the field GIS requires intensive specialized courses that are not offered in my home country on the level that I need. Few months ago, it came to my knowledge that the Dutch embassy in Cairo runs the Netherlands Fellowship Program (NFP), for mid-career professionals who are already in employment, to enhance their professional skills through studying in the Netherlands. I have closely checked the offered courses through the NFP and I strongly recognized they meet my needs and expectations. The program was a short course of 3 months at The International Institute of Geoinformation Science (ITC), one of the most famous institutes in the world in the field of GIS and remote sensing. I applied to the course and was fortunate to be accepted. Upon getting my employer travel permission, I had an interview at the Dutch embassy in Cairo and submitted my application packet. Three months later I get the positive reply and was nominated to the fellowship. The embassy, thankfully, facilitated the travel procedures for me and I didn’t face any problem in regard of Visa issuing.
The program start day was September 23rd, 2010. I invested the first two weeks of the program exploring the Dutch life and getting more acquainted with the courses and professors. The education system in the program was to a certain extent way of different from my previous academic experience. The courses were quite intensive and required broad self independent skills. I managed to stand on the top of things in a short time and worked on class readings, assignments, papers, and fieldwork. Although the challenges I have faced in this intensive program, I successfully managed to pass all the exams and I have graduated with a grade of 83%. Most importantly, I have gained many new experiences through the people I have met from different cultures and backgrounds. I believe that I managed to achieve more than my previously anticipated expectations in the field of the GIS.
Socially, I greatly enjoyed exploring the Dutch culture; Dutch people are characterized by punctuality, seriousness, and ability to enjoy life. They are friendly, sociable, welcoming to foreigners and helpful, conservative, and multilingual. I learned to be more sociable, open to the world and other cultures and appreciate their values and diversities; I gained warm friendships from all around the globe and made great relationships with the distinguished professors in the institute.
I am extremely honored and grateful to be a recipient of the NFP and its impact on my whole life, academically, professionally, and socially.