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My coding story: from Baghdad to Groningen

Written by Moh Al Rawe on 23rd February 2017

Who is Moh?

Mohammed is my first name, Al Rawe is my last name. I have been born and raised in Baghdad and lived there for 25 years, in a supportive and open minded family. My father is a merchant and my mother is retired now. I’m the oldest of three, I have one brother and one sister. I studied at the Baghdad College of Economic Science University for 4 years and I have a Bachelor degree in software engineering.

I’ve worked in different fields and some of those fields have nothing to do with what I had studied. This is because work in the Middle East (Iraq particularly) depends on your family situation, your network and sometimes how much you can pay to get this job (yeah I know that sounds weird, like how to pay and get a job!).

Not ideal to live there

The idea of leaving my homeland wasn’t new for me. Since I was 18 years old I was thinking of leaving Iraq, especially after the invasion in 2003 and the (fake) democracy. I left my country because I was searching for more freedom. I was looking for a place where the rules and laws are saving the people’s dignity, where all the humans are the same, where there is no difference between the President, King or any simple citizen in front of the law.

Since I was mature enough I saw how the corruption was destroying my country and destroying the humans as well. In the name of religion, they are stealing, ruling and killing. It’s like Europe in the Middle Ages when the church did everything in the name of Christianity.

Moving to the Netherlands

Thinking about doing something and doing it is different. In the last year before I left, I had a great job. I loved my job: I was a manager and representative of my company, I had a good salary, a good life and I was happy (this doesn’t mean that now I’m not happy, I am happy but I am worried about a lot of things). Actually, I was doubting if I wanted to leave. But I thought “If I will not do it I will regret it one day. You have to go and see if you will find the life that you want”.

Sometimes, even after living in Holland for three years, I still ask myself if I did the right thing! Leaving everything behind, my family, my friends, my job, and start everything from zero. Everything here is a challenge to me. I remember that one time in my first period in the Netherlands I told my mother on the telephone: “Mum, I’m 26 years old but in the Netherlands I’m only a couple of weeks old now, because I have to learn the language, I have to make new friends and a network of people, I have to adapt to the weather, adapt to a lot of things, and I even have to get a new diploma”.

Open day at the Hanzehogeschool

The diploma was the most frustrating part. Here in the Netherlands they didn’t believe or trust my education or what I studied and they made me believe in that too. But, because I love what I studied, I said okay I will do it again here.

When I went to the open day at the Hanzehogeschool in Groningen and saw what kind of material was taught in software engineering, it actually was the same. Yes, there is a difference in the way of giving lessons, the study materials, and even the system and how people here are working in groups, but in the end it was the same concept.

Refreshing at Spindle

After I realized that what I studied could work here, I started looking for companies, organizations, and courses to refresh my old knowledge and develop it further. I also started reading online about C++, the programming language that I studied, to brush up my knowledge. With the help of Werken zonder Grenzen, I got in touch with Spindle.

Spindle gave me a great chance to do what I was looking for: refreshing and developing my programming skills. Since the interview day, I fell in love with this company. The office was nice and they have a unique working system (the working atmosphere is awesome). When I started my first day as an intern I was surprised and happy how the people here are so friendly and offering help. In my view, everyone who is working or will work here is a lucky person :D. Love you Spindle and I wish everyone here a lot of success in life.

MohandRosienMoh and colleague Rosien pair programming

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