Loving his childhood city, and treasuring those memories, Omran Barakat, Data Analyst, IDP Connect, London, tells us about valuing life’s experiences, adapting, and the importance of education.
"Syria is a lovely country. It has four distinct seasons. In summer, the temperature is 20-25°C and in winter, it does not go below 5°C, so it is nice weather. By the end of summer, I’m bored of the sun and need cold weather. It’s vice versa after winter.
It’s a friendly community in Syria and if you visit, you can really feel this. People welcome you into their shops and are very helpful. The older generation sit on the streets playing backgammon in the evening; it’s a really nice community. Throughout history, many people came to Syria, I love the diversity of race, religion, and cultures.
I loved growing up in Damascus. There are two parts to the city. The extremely old part with hundreds of years old Roman monuments, churches and mosques, and another part with Arabic style houses. You can feel this combination of styles and periods. I really enjoyed wandering the city and eating snacks from the street shops. I love this quote from Mark Twain 'Go back as far as you will into the vague past, there was always a Damascus'.
It was difficult to leave Syria with just two days’ notice. At that time, I was only 22 years old. I was a very young person who had just graduated and didn’t have much life experience. It was very challenging, leaving loved ones behind, going to a new environment with no friends and a lot of uncertainty. My family left a couple of months after me and now I have family in both Egypt and in Turkey.
The first two years were really tough adapting to the situation. It was really hard. But there is always a bright side. I’ve had the chance to live in Abu Dhabi, then Leeds and now London. I’ve developed cultural awareness, learnt about others, and made friends from different nationalities. Now I have friends all over the world! One of my really loved activities is sport and football. When I can, I play and watch, even play on Play Station. Another activity that is becoming an essential part of my life is reading.
Leaving Syria made me learn how to adapt to any new situations and taught me how to survive. I’ve also learnt to value experiences much more than materials, and to appreciate time with people. You might have nice objects, but you move, and you don’t have it anymore. What you do have is only the nice memories to take with you.
Fun fact - I am an IDP alumni! I came to the UK in 2017 from Abu Dhabi to study the master’s degree, and now I am an IDP team member.
Education is the lifeline for success and to upgrade your life. Education helped me to enhance my life and career, and to widen my perspectives. I studied my Bachelors in Business Administration and then did my Masters in Consumer Analytics and Marketing Strategy. Now I am studying a Diploma in Artificial Intelligence."
Omran, we value your story of personal growth, your life experience, and your love of lifelong learning. Thank you for reminding us to value and appreciate moments.