“Sorry you can’t take the exam because you are Syrian”.
I still remember the day the employee working in the exam centre told me this.
Never able to forget it. Never able to believe it.
Due to US embargo against Syria. Oracle (a computer technology cooperation) decided to prohibit Syrians (among other few nationalities) to take all of Oracle certifications.
I started preparing for this test back in Syria in 2011. It was still illegal back then but Syrians used to overcome this obstacle by traveling to the nearest country (Lebanon or Jordan) where they can take the test with not too many questions.
Later that year, things turned bad in my home country and traveling was risky and only for major reasons. I couldn’t leave by myself to “just take a test”. I postponed this exam till things got better, but they did not.
In 2013, I moved to Egypt with my newly husband and tried to settle in as much as we could but things were rough also there. I couldn’t work for many reasons so I decided to focus on my certificate. I started re-preparing for the exam and registered online to have it. After two months, I arrived to the exam centre with all the confidence in the world to do this mission and as soon as I presented my Syrian passport as a proof of identification I could see the puzzled look on the employee’s face. He went inside a room and came back to let me know that shocking fact.
I remember I laughed. Thinking that had to be a joke, a bad one.
– “There must be something that can be done” I said trying not to lose hope.
– “I am sorry, but unless you have a legal residency visa in Egypt, or any other country, you can’t have the exam”.
At that time, Egypt offered only tourist visa for Syrians not working or studying. (Which now changed to not even allowing tourist visa).
So, just like that, a dream was shut down. Two months of preparing and stress went for nothing. I would’ve understood the situation maybe if I got this rejection during the online registration. That could’ve saved a lot of time and humiliation!
I felt defeated. This is a bigger war than me and I can never win it. I managed to get a refund for my exam fees with a cold sorry email from who ever in charge of that operation.
In 2014, my fate turned upside down. I ended up in a country I never dreamed of visiting. The lucky country, Ireland. The moment I stepped on its soil I could feel my luck changing. Things were never easy but got better day by day with my persistence. I worked in one of the best companies in the world. I met generous people that were nice by nature not wanting anything in return, and yes, I managed finally to take the exam after I owned a work visa and I passed it!
Today I reached a goal. I won a battle. It is not “just an exam” for me. It never was. It was always about following a dream and surviving being a Syrian in this world.
The “Oracle” came true!
Thanks Ireland for making that possible.