Checkpoints - iniquitous barriers to our right

[Because] I had to go through the ... checkpoint on a daily basis... I couldn’t go to classes on time.

After three years at Birzeit University, I now know that choosing it was the best choice I have ever made. It has helped me a lot, on both the academic and social level. Many new faculties have opened since I have joined and I like the way the university is growing. And the Architectural Engineering department rocks. I chose my major because it combines both of my passions: science and making a difference in my community.

However, things have been tough due to the political situation. As I come from Jerusalem, I had to go through the Qalandia checkpoint on a daily basis to reach the university. Sometimes I couldn’t go to classes on time, and on my way back home, the checkpoint was always full of people. It usually takes from 20 minutes to an hour waiting at the checkpoint just to go back home. Due to this, I rented an apartment at Birzeit although Birzeit is only 24 km away from Jerusalem! Adding an extra financial load for my parents. Moreover, in my field of study, it’s very important to visit sites in the occupied territories, where Palestinians cannot enter. In addition, Birzeit University was closed fifteen times between 1982 and 2010 by the Israeli occupation, which has been affecting the educational process badly.

However, I have been able to achieve many things. The most recent project I took part in was at the Jalazone Refugee camp where we created “vertical gardens”. It was an awesome project that connected Palestinians who live in the camps and those who live outside it. I have also been volunteering with the PR office, giving tours and presentation about the university. I am a member of the Architectural Engineering club as well.