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Asneira Livre

"Once upon a time there was a boy who was studying in a university in another city far from his family...", Hamid Hosseiny (UOSE)

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Asneira Livre

Once upon a time…

Por Hamid Hosseiny*

Once upon a time there was a boy who was studying in a university in another city far from his family. One cold autumn evening the neighbor’s son knocked on his door, looking for him. This neighbor had received a phone call from the boy’s family. The boy was wondering why his family called as he’d just talked to them two days ago. He always talked to his family once a week from the nearby telephone booth. Anyways, he immediately changed his clothes and went to his neighbor’s house where he talked with his father.

“Aloo father! You are back from Europe! How was your trip? How did you find Europe and European people?”

Those were some of his questions... His father answered all the questions one by one patiently. It was the first time his father had been out of the country, and he had a lot to say. His father’s answers hinted an outside world he had never imagined, never thought about, but would soon start dreaming of. The image the father depicted wasn’t comparable to what the boy had seen from the restricted media, the only available means connecting the boy to out of the country. The more his father talked about his experiences, the more the boy was eager to hear and learn. That night was a turning point for the boy.

He spent the entire night dreaming and thinking about what his father had said. The following days it seemed he felt a different power growing inside, a different dream and goal for his future life. The dream influenced the boy so profoundly that he became one of the top three students in the university every academic term. Three years later he graduated from university with honors, but still the dream was with him. What was the dream? He desired to broaden his horizon, to gain experience and to be a wise man by exploring the world, seeing human diversity, different cultures, customs and traditions in varied regions, the way people approach and overcome their problems in different countries. He wished to live among his non-countrymen for a few years to learn from them and to see the world from their perspective.

The boy served military service for almost two years. That was compulsory in his country for his generation and still is. He didn’t really enjoy the long obligatory military training but he tolerated it to complete his documents to request for a passport and become one step closer to his dream. (People use the birth certificate as an ID in his country and once they go abroad they need to ask the government for a passport). Even going through this stage he still lacked some ingredients! He required proper funding and also an English language certificate. There was almost no support from his government and other institutions in his country for master’s students studying abroad and normally master’s students were supported by their families. He asked himself:

“After five years, how many years do I have ahead of me to be able to go abroad?”

Soon after he found a job and started working in a company. After some months he showed his abilities and competencies among his other colleagues and received the highest salary in the company. He even worked extra hours every day and also during holidays to save enough money for his future trip. However, at some point he realised his salary and savings would not be enough although he was a well-paid engineer in the company. After one year and half he resigned and went to the south of the country to work in harsh condition and climate in an oil exploration company. The normal temperature there was around 50°C to 55°C. Although he was paid double he was still wondering how he could earn more. The embassy required him having an equivalent of 20,000 pounds (the average salary for an engineer was around 200 pounds per month) in his account with no change in the balance for six months. It was REALLY hard to meet this requirement to be entitled a VISA.  He had chosen the education path to fulfill his dreams, but still it seemed so far away. Any free hours he got he spent studying English and improving his knowledge on his subject area to be a good student in the university.

One year later the general manager of a company had a serious problem with one of his metal cutting machineries. One of his most expensive machineries was broken and it was incurring a loss to the company. A friend of the manager invited the boy to fix the machine. The boy got the machine running after more than six months work. The manager was very satisfied with the boy’s performance and conducts. The manager then assigned him some other temporary projects. One day the manager was asking the boy some personal questions to get to know him more. He found out the boy’s dream and obstacles. Eventually the boy was funded by the manager and was able to go to Europe to pursue his education and his dreams.

He undertook a master course in England and then went to Portugal for a research project at INESC TEC’s Optoelectronics and Electronic Systems Unit (UOSE), where he found his colleagues very warm, friendly and happy for no reason. They are always very helpful and calmly get their job done. These two qualities are quite remarkable here at UOSE.

You may have heard similar stories but sometimes it is worth reviewing them. The bottom line of this narrative is that when you wish something and you have a burning desire for that, no matter what your wish is, the universe will create events and circumstances to help you achieve it. Think big and take small constant steps forward.

*Colaborador na Unidade de Optoeletrónica e Sistemas Eletrónicos (UOSE)