After obtaining her BA and MA from the Hassan II University in Casablanca, the Moroccan researcher in marine sciences and blue growth, Nezha Mejjad, completed her university studies in Italy after benefiting from scholarships to study new disciplines that complement her first major.

In Italy, she was studying alongside students of several nationalities in the Mediterranean basin, which opened up new horizons for her in her academic and professional life.

Nozha Majad spoke about this trip and how to benefit from university scholarships in this interview.

Sampling from Lake Oualidia in the Moroccan Atlantic coast for the purpose of researching a doctoral thesis (the island)

  • First of all, how did you spend your university years in Morocco?

I do not hide from you that I faced difficulties in the beginning, especially in the first year, and here I am talking about the problem of adaptation and adaptation to a world that was new to me and different from the secondary stage

Because the methodology of teaching and indoctrination at the university is very different from the secondary level.

But I remember that in the second year I was able to overcome this obstacle and adapt to university life, and I won the Excellence Award for the second year in Geosciences, as I was one of the first in the Geology Department for the second year in 2010, after which I graduated with a BA among the first.

The subject of scientific research, which I submitted to Nelly with a BA, was among the most brilliant in the geology department, which allowed me to register for a master’s degree in the same faculty (Faculty of Sciences, Ben M'sik, Hassan II University in Casablanca, Morocco).

I completed my master's graduation project at the National Center for Energy, Science and Nuclear Technologies on a topic of importance, whether on the environmental or economic level, which opened the doors for me to register for my PhD, and the doctoral research that I discussed in 2018 culminated in the award for the best dissertation discussed in Geology at Al Hassan University The second of 2018.

During the ceremony of handing over the certificate of the best PhD thesis discussed in the Geology Department for the year 2018 at Hassan II University (Al-Jazeera)

  • How did you go to study in Italy?

During my PhD years, I was able to participate in fully funded trainings in Italy, Germany, Slovenia and China, which enabled me to expand my network of knowledge and easily access new university scholarships and training courses abroad.

I remember having learned about an Italian training course through the advertisement, which was published by the group of young Arab researchers on the social networking site on Facebook, which is called "The Arab World Association of Young Scientists", which is called for short "Arabways" ), Which is a large group that includes about 20 thousand Arab researchers, and I advise every Arab researcher and student to join it.

Because it will open great prospects for him.

During Italy training, I learned that there is an advanced master at the University of Trieste, and that I can participate, so I applied in a new major, which is "sustainable blue growth";

But it is somehow related to my first major, and I was accepted as my name came in second place, and the first place for an Italian researcher.

At the moment, I am studying a second MA at the Mediterranean Agricultural Institute of Bari and the University of Bari, and I will soon obtain a third MA in open innovation and youth entrepreneurship in the agri-food sector in the Mediterranean countries.

Majad's picnic during her training in the laboratories of Xiamen University in China (Al-Jazeera)

  • In your opinion, what are the most important conditions that must be met by a student scholarship abroad?

Excellence is one of the conditions for obtaining post-licensing grants, as the evaluation and selection of participants is based, in particular, on the information contained in the CV.

Attention must also be paid to the recommendation letter and the motivational letter, in which the objectives of participation are precisely defined, and how this training or study will help support his future projects, or how he will benefit from it in his field of work, and after selecting the suitable candidates, they are questioned to assess their level of knowledge or linguistic.

  • Through your words, it becomes clear that the Internet is the gateway to study abroad, what is your comment?

We are now in the age of technology, and information has become available only by pressing the "enter" button. There are hundreds if not thousands of websites, pages and specialized groups, which publish news of available scholarships across universities around the world.

There are also many students and researchers who help their new colleagues by sharing their experiences and publishing news of the latest opportunities for training, scholarships and study abroad, as well as I do for the benefit.

Majad's picnic while training the Blue Mission at the Euro-Mediterranean University (Al-Jazeera)

  • Does university specialization have a role in obtaining a scholarship?

    I mean, are there required and not required specializations?

Yes and no.

Yes, because there are specializations that are required more than others, perhaps due to the presence of many projects supported by major institutes, universities, and private and public institutions, such as disciplines related, for example, to renewable energies, climate change, green technology and artificial intelligence, which are all current and required topics, and thus you find many many opportunities associated with such disciplines.

No, because I believe that there are no specializations that are not required. Rather, all there is to it is that when applying for the scholarship, the method of proposing and formulating the subject of the specialization must be taken into account and linking it to the required specializations.

For example, my studies were on the level of pollution in sediments taken from a lake in the Atlantic Ocean;

But I was able to link my studies and specialization with sustainable growth, the blue economy and the green economy, and every time I found a thread to link my specialization with other majors, and by doing this I expanded my circle of information and knowledge, and this is very important to the student.

The scientific level in Italian universities is high in marine sciences, blue economy and sustainable growth (Al Jazeera)

  • Many students move from one major to another, why?

    Is this desirable?

As for me, when I was accepted to study a second master's degree in sustainable blue growth, I thought that I would study a new major;

But in reality this specialization was related to my field of work and research mainly related to the environment, waste recycling, climate change, sustainability and sustainable growth.

In my opinion, there are specializations complementary to the original specialization and studying them will benefit the student.

As for moving from one major to another, it is very remote, and I think it is not desirable, and it is not beneficial to the owner.

  • How did you benefit from studying in Italy?

Frankly, studying in Italy was a very rich and important experience for me, as the level of education in Italian universities is high, especially in disciplines related to marine and ocean sciences, blue economy and sustainable growth.

This experience also allowed me to come into contact with many students from almost all Mediterranean countries, and this is very important for the exchange of experiences and experiences, which increases the student's strength and skill.

Thanks to this experience, I was also able to obtain training at one of the most important Italian National Institutes of Marine Sciences in late 2020, where I worked on a research topic related to what we studied in the Masters in Italy, and I am still working on research related to the blue economy and sustainable growth.

The accumulation of my experiences enabled me to deliver many lectures in my field at conferences at the national and international levels.

This experience had a great impact on my career, and being open to others gained me many skills in terms of communication and working in a group setting.

The accumulation of experiences enabled the Moroccan researcher to give lectures at conferences at the national and international levels (Al-Jazeera)

  • Was language a handicap for you?

Language has never been an obstacle for me, and I rule out that it constitutes an obstacle for the student of knowledge. The language of the laboratories is English, and any student can learn it well through daily practice of it.

I speak Arabic and French very well.

But I do not improve English, and despite all these exercises I managed to free my tongue from the complex of speaking English, and I advise all students of knowledge to learn it, and not be afraid of applying for scholarships because their English is weak.

An outing: The splendor of working in one environment with colleagues of different ages, nationalities and disciplines cannot be described (Al-Jazeera)

  • It seems from your talk that the experience of Italy had a great impact on your professional and personal life?

I cannot describe the splendor of working in one environment with students, professors and engineers of different ages and nationalities and in various disciplines in marine sciences, biology, geology and others.

The easy adjustment between us is one of the beautiful things that stuck in my mind, and made me more open to the world and to people.

  • What advice can be given to young students to succeed in their careers?

I tell them: Look for opportunities, they are always there, and do not wait for them to come.

Do not fail if you are not accepted the first, second or third time;

Rather, attempts must be repeated, as success comes after persistence and correcting mistakes.

You must work more on the CV and the motivational letter, as well as search for the appropriate opportunity in which the applicant meets the required conditions.

Finally, whenever you find an opportunity to develop your knowledge acquisition, whether inside or outside your country or through the Internet, do not hesitate for one second to go through the experience.

To gain new experiences and expand your knowledge network.