Thursday, 23 November 2017 04:54 GMT
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Young Saudis pursue career dreams despite the odds

(MENAFN - Arab News) One needs to leave no stone unturned on the road to self-satisfaction, which is a concept well-known to the young generation of Saudis

Often, the paucity of career guidance in the Kingdom leads to youth making wrong decisions either in choosing a major at college or a job at a later stage which results in a constant shift from one job to another in the hope of finding one that will suit their passion

"Change is very difficult," says Muhammad Obeidallah, a Saudi director and producer at Smart Penguin Productions who graduated from KFUPM with a bachelor's degree in engineering.

He rediscovered himself later through the extra curricular activities he had back then. "I played different roles in more than 30 plays and also directed 15 plays during my 8 years of study at King Fahd University of Petroleum and Minerals," Muhammad said. "By the end of my studies, I had a theater group and we produced a feature film on a shoestring budget of SR2,000. The film was screened for two days in the KFUPM theater in December 2005. The film was sold out with an audience of more than 1,400 people," he said

Pursuing his dream, Muhammad sold everything in Saudi Arabia and moved to Canada. "I first worked in small jobs like managing front desk work but I learned so much. Then I studied for a certificate in film studies at Ryerson University in Toronto which introduced me to the scientific background of film making. After that I studied for an intensive one-year diploma in film production at the Vancouver film school," Muhammad continued.

Commenting on the difficulties he encountered in the pursuit of his passion, Muhammad said, "My family wanted me to continue in the engineering field for a better future. Some of my family members even tried to talk me out of it saying it was haram (against Islamic instructions).

Asked on whether he had fulfilled his dream, Muhammad said, "Well, I am getting there. In 2012, I finished school and established a small production company in Vancouver with a friend of mine to work on films. My graduation film project received an award at the Indie Fest in California and was screened at the Gulf Film Festival in Dubai last April.

Ghassan Haidari is another example of Saudi youth who are making drastic career changes. "I was told that Saudi society wouldn't consider it respectable to have someone with my profession," said Ghassan, a 24-year-old Saudi chef who left his medical engineering internship to pursue his dream of becoming a cook. "My journey began as a child when I would save my weekly pocket money only to spend it on buying ingredients for my recipes I made during the weekends," he said

Ghassan said he was challenged by the gender-based profession which is socially accepted for females only in Saudi society. "I was asked to leave many online cooking forums because I was a man and told that cooking was for women only. As a cooking major is not enlisted on the King Abdullah Internships Program, I had to cook to pay the fees in the cooking school in Canada."

"I refused to become a medical engineer and live the life of someone else. I have always known that my passion is cooking and I'm lucky to have supportive parents, friends, and instructors who supported my daring decision," Ghassan said

To help the young generation make the right choices regarding majors and careers, Rawabi Holdings Group of Companies, located in Alkhobar has created Youth Empowerment Programs.

"Everybody in Saudi Arabia wants his child to be either a doctor or an engineer whether he has the potential or not. We try to lead each individual to what he wants to do in life," said Farah Al-Ghamdi, Corporate Social Responsibility Officer at Rawabi Holdings


Young Saudis pursue career dreams despite the odds

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