My name is Zahraa Jabbar and I am from Baghdad, Iraq. I am 21 years old. I fled Iraq in 2004 due to the war, and then lived in Yemen for over ten years. I lived through the start of the Yemeni civil war in 2014, which was a waking nightmare and the darkest days of my life. Trust me, you can have everything one day, and lose everything the next. Appreciate every single thing.
When our house was destroyed by bombs, we had to move back to my home country, Iraq, after many struggles. In Iraq, the situation was very bad. Women were being kidnapped and my parents were afraid that something would happen to me. Therefore, we considered coming to Europe, as my two older brothers had been living in Sweden for over six years. We made the decision to go to Turkey and take a boat, since there was no other way to come to Europe. We then crossed to Greece, and from there, we were supposed to go to Sweden.
Unfortunately, the borders closed and we were forced to stay in the camps by the border with Macedonia for over three months. My experiences in the camps were the hardest, although I had positive experiences volunteering with refugee translation organizations. However, I also saw the worst suffering and lived without food or even showering for weeks. I can see that all these obstacles made me who I am today as a Arab woman, and made me stronger and wiser.
We later ended up coming to Palma de Mallorca, Spain through a legal “relocation program” that the Greek government offered to refugees. In Mallorca, I had the opportunity to enroll at a private school in order to finish my education and take the A levels to secure my future. This was important to me because I believe that education is the key to many opportunities in life.
IE University visited my school, Palma College. This is when I came across my dream university and discovered my favorite city in Spain, Madrid. I chose IE University for many reasons. First of all, in my life, I have always been treated differently and less favorably than others, just because of my background. At IE University, there are students from all over the world, and therefore, I would never feel different or be stared at for looking different. This university is one of the best in the world and this opportunity gave me many ambitions, as I am a dreamer and a believer in achieving challenging goals in life.
The IE University Financial Aid department helped me massively during the admissions process. They answered every single question that I sent and kept in contact with me. I never felt left out or lacked information about any of the phases in the admissions process.I am currently in my first year of the Bachelor in International Relations. I chose this degree because I believe it can give me lots of opportunities in many sectors in terms of work. I have lived in many different countries and the history and culture of each country has always fascinated me. I love gaining knowledge from all around the world, and knowing what is happening and why things happen. For this reason, I decided on this course and I am very blessed to be able to learn about global affairs. I am always thirsty for more knowledge that will help to fulfil my dreams in the future.
My experience so far at IE University has been indescribable. I am enjoying it a lot and love everything at this university, including the professors and all the offices that help us with anything we need. I am extremely happy and constantly remind myself what a great opportunity it is. Attending this university is a dream come true and I can’t wait to see myself achieving many things in the future, proudly thanking IE University for all the knowledge granted to me. It is great to still be able to come and attend the classes face to face, which I prefer. On the other hand, I find it marvelous that the Liquid Learning method allows students to still join online, according to their own circumstances and COVID-19 restrictions in other countries. IE University doesn’t let their students miss any opportunity to learn and gain knowledge, even from far away.
If there is one piece of advice that I would give to all students, it would be to aim for your dreams, no matter who says you can’t. We decide our own value, not others, and you are worth more than you think. Education is the most important thing, and I believe that IE University will give keen students the opportunity to learn and make your future prospects better.
I am an artist, frequently depicting human and women’s rights in my work. I paint a lot in my free time and I have taken an A level in Art and Design. I am also an actress, and have been for two years. The image you can see is me with my teacher Currusca Collado and my favorite colleague Camille, who acted with me in the last scene from “The House of Bernarda Alba” by the Spanish dramatist Federico García Lorca.