Hassan profile

Gaza Scholarship End of Year Report 2012 /13

Update: January 2014 - Hassan is working as an electronic payments system engineer at the Bank of Palestine where they are preparing to launch the first global e-commerce payment gateway in Palestine. "I am now playing a major role within the implementation team of the project by providing both technical and business recommendations."

Hassan - Gaza

I am very delighted and proud to write about the year I have spent in the UK for completing a master’s degree in eBusiness from Oxford Brookes University. I was among the very few lucky Palestinians from the Gaza Strip to win a scholarship that covers the whole expenses of studying and living in the UK. Ever since I finished my undergraduate degree about ten years ago, I was dreaming to do a master’s degree in the UK in particular for several reasons, including the excellent reputation of UK universities worldwide and the high quality of the British education system. Moreover, I considered the chance to study in the UK as a very influencing experience in terms of living in such a multicultural country that has a rich history of achievements in all aspects of life. However, it was impossible to have this dream come true because of the very high cost of living and education in the UK in comparison to our limited life standards in Palestine.

I applied to many scholarships and universities in attempt to find an external aid to cover the expenses; however the success rate is very low due to the high competition among the candidates applying for such funding opportunities. Thanks to Oxford Brookes Gaza Scholarship that made my dream come true with a generous award that covers everything. This award was not only a financial support to me, it was also an emotional boost that amazingly enhanced my self esteem and made me believe that I can do whatever I want as long as I am backed with my insistence to achieve my goal.

From the very first moment I landed in Heathrow airport, I felt that I am loved and everybody around is doing their best to make me feel at home. I was amazed by the politeness of the British people and how they respect the law. Everything works according to a predefined system that is made known to all; chaos has no place in the UK.  Despite the difficulty I faced from being away from home for the first time, I was surrounded by nice friends who were always in touch with me and we had great times together. I cannot mention friends here without remembering the Chalmers, Sir Iain and Lady Jan for their amazing support. Sir Iain was among one of the most influential personalities I have ever met. He was always pushing me to enjoy my time in the UK and his advices were very relaxing during the hard times of study. The weekly Saturday walks we had together made me feel how lucky I am to spend and discover Oxford with such a great person like Sir Iain. His belief in the Palestinians rights and deep knowledge of history and the different cultures has vastly enhanced my background in different aspects. Despite the few occasions in which I met the other sponsors of the Gaza scholarship, the warm feelings and invaluable advices of Sir Terence and Lady English, Dr and Mrs Brankin, and Sir Clive Booth were very influencing and motivating to achieve the highest. I also need to highlight the amazing role of Mary Wakefield, Ian Steadman and Vicky Anderton with the rest of the DARO office team of Oxford Brookes University in keeping an active link with me as a scholar by continuously offering their help and take prompt actions when needed.

The eBusiness course was a totally new experience to me. It opened the door to a whole range of the latest technologies supporting the business being done over the Internet. That was exactly the main aim of my study as I was looking for a special course to enhance my experience in these technologies as an e-payments engineer working for the largest Palestinian Bank. Bank of Palestine is establishing the first e-commerce payment gateway in Palestine that will enable Palestinian merchants to sell their goods and services worldwide. I have gained a unique experience from the eBusiness course that will not only equip me with the necessary skills to assist in managing and deploying the e-commerce project in Palestine but would also be the solid ground on which I will continue my study to the PhD degree in the near future.

As a final word, I would like to express my sincerest thanks to Oxford Brookes University and the generous sponsors who contributed to the establishment of this scholarship. I hope that this scholarship will continue to offer this award to students in Gaza Strip as the number of graduates is getting higher each year with a very limited funding opportunities.

Hassan Alhallaq

October 2013