– Now, I’ve begun to live

Tekst: Per Straume

- Oppdatert

He arrived in Volda as a master’s student just three days after the crisis situation in his home country of Lebanon erupted. Through his specific commitment – his gratitude for how well he is doing in Norway affects his fellow students. For this, Fady Gemayel receives the Student Award 2021. 

Fady Gemayel has a soft and kind voice, a pleasant smile, and a keen eye and ear for what you have to say – it’s easy to see why he was widely liked by those he met on his year-long trek through Volda. Fortunately, it’s a two-way street. Fady frequently expresses his gratitude for the opportunity to study in Volda and Norway.

He had a dream to live in another country than Lebanon since he was a youth. However, he did not move to Norway solely for that reason; he also intended to advance in his profession. 
Before leaving Lebanon, he worked several years for one of the country’s main television stations. He’s filmed and produced huge shows such as The Voice, among others. 
But after a while, Gemayel felt he didn’t have the opportunity to go further in his career. He wanted to progress and learn more. 

I did a google search, and it was a bit random that I found Norway. Here – only Volda had a Masters Degree in media taught in English. So that made me decide upon Volda. Since then 
I’ve started to read about Norway, how the culture is and what things Norwegians like. Later I started trying to learn the language through online lectures, Gemayel explained about his preparations before arriving in Volda.   

– Traveled from a disaster unknowingly

Lebanon has been through a challenging year, mildly said. Covid, financial mess and political chaos was overshadowed 4. august 2020 when two massive explosions similar to 1/20th of the size of the atomic bomb that was used on Hiroshima in WW2 blew up in the docks of Beirut and smashed parts of the city to pieces. This only accelerated the crisis, and the country is now in freefall. A huge pressure on the health services – a hyperinflated currency and trouble getting basic needs such as food, petrol and medicines is the reason for why riots have recently flared up all over the country. 

7. August 2020 Fady Gemayel arrived in Norway, entirely unaware of the calamity that would strike two days later. 

– I had no idea this was going to happen, and it has nothing to do with why I’m here. Corona made traveling to Norway though, and I had to reschedule my departure three times before I was given a go-ahead. After a 17 hour journey I finally arrived in the country. I was tired of Lebanon and had a desire to move abroad and evolve in my proficiency; that is the reason why I traveled, there was no other choice. 

Completely different life

Now he’s sincerely grateful to be in Volda, and you could barely finish the question before he replies “yes” if he wishes to stay in the country after he’s done with his Masters in about a year.  

– I enjoy life after arriving here. Now, I’ve begun to live – Fady smiles, before adding; it’s a different life in Norway. It’s very peaceful, people respect one another - and there’s hardly a reason to be too concerned about things.

– Here you know you will get wages on time, every public service works as intended and there are no problems with insurance and such. That is not a given in the Middle east and Lebanon. 

– Stood out and been the counterweight

Ever since he arrived in Volda, Fady has been engaging himself with fellow peers and others. That is the reason why Fady is the winner of Student Award 2021 at Volda University College. 

– Fady is a friendly and active individual. When student involvement has waned during Covid, Fady has stood out and been the counterweight. He organizes climbing courses for all of the students – he invites them to social walks around Rotevatnet, and he’s really passionate about getting events materialized with a low barrier for everyone, says Trond-Fredrik Hoddevik – Student Parliament leader and Student Award jury member.

Hoddevik og Gemayel
Leader of the Student Parliament Trond-Fredrik Hoddevik (to the left) and prize winner Fady Gemayel.

Building bridges between Norwegian and international students was decisive for the jury. They also noted that the winner has spent much of his free time contributing positively to student well-being. 

– I’m overjoyed that I won the Student Award, it came as a complete surprise. I’d also like to express my gratitude to Volda, the college, and the people here for their warm welcome. That’s why I’m delighted to return anything, Fady adds – before gazing with a look that suggest he wants to stay around.  

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