Academic voluntary aid in practice

  • Photo
    Håkon Sparre, NMBU

Khaled Khalil was educated as a food scientist in Syria. He now works in a traineeship in the dairy at  NMBU.

Academic voluntary aid in practice

Khaled works at the pilot facility in Meieribygget (the dairy building), and says that the machines and equipment are much more modern than what he was used to in Aleppo, Syria.

Khaled Khalil speaks with Rector Mari Sundli Tveit about the opportunities to earn a master’s degree at NMBU. The transcripts of his examinations from Syria will be carefully scrutinized and will become the basis for his continuing education.
Photo
Håkon Sparre, NMBU

Refugee from Syria
Khaled Khalil is 35 years old and comes from Syria. In Aleppo, Khaled studied food science and was well on his way to getting his master’s degree when he had to quit and get a job. Finally, he was forced to flee from Syria. He came to Norway two years ago as an asylum seeker. At first, he lived in the reception centre at Raufoss in Oppland county and attended the introductory programme for refugees. Here he was given training in basic Norwegian language and social studies, along with help to find a place to work. After some time, he was given a permanent residence permit, and he moved to Asker.

Through the introductory programme, he came into contact with NMBU, and it turned out that the university had need of a man with his qualifications.

- At first they tried to find something for me in different factories, but they were unsuccessful. But when they began to talk about a university, I thought they were joking. I thought it was something far beyond what I could anticipate. But here I am!

Came to NMBU at Ås
The Faculty of chemistry, biochemistry and food science (IKBM) and its pilot facility for dairy and brewery products welcomed Khaled and immediately placed him in the heart of daily operations. One of his closest co-workers, Ola Tjåland, is very pleased with him:

- Khaled can work on his own, and he is talented. He really makes himself useful to us. It’s true that there are a few language problems, but that is improving day by day.

Khaled already speaks Norwegian fairly well, and he attends classes to improve his Norwegian even more: 

- I am taking a course in English, too,’ Khaled says, ‘because eventually I want to apply to get into the master’s programme in Food Science here, and I understand that many of the textbooks are in English.

The machines here are much more modern that the ones I am used to in Aleppo, Khaled says.
Photo
Håkon Sparre, NMBU

The future
The possibilities for being successful in Norwegian society look very promising for Khaled Khalil, because through his traineeship he is learning more than merely a vocation and a language.

 - I am learning about work conditions, safety and the Norwegian system, too, and that is very useful. 

Nine months ago, Khaled’s wife and three-year-old son arrived in Norway and were reunited with him.

Khaled has no choice but to learn two new languages and become familiar with a new culture and new living conditions, but he shows promise of having both the will and the intelligence to be able to succeed!

Published 28. November 2016 - 9:29 - Updated 28. November 2016 - 13:46

Norwegian University of Life Sciences (NMBU)

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