Tuesday, February 2, 2016

Switzerland Adventures-Acceptance

Me: Good morning Mama, how is your day?
Mother: My day is great, waiting for you so we can take breakfast together
Me: sounds great
While I am preparing the tea my mother like, I checked my email to receive a very nice surprise during that hectic time of finals: 
Dear Candidates,
As per your repetitive request to know the top five nominees based on the assessment scores, kindly find here under the list which was shared with the juries in Basel last month and those are (in no order):
 Mennatallah Mamdouh
Hossam Shahin
 Bassant Salah
 Shaimaa ElSafoury 
 Tarek Mamdouh
Currently we’re waiting for the final decision from Basel that should be communicated towards the end of June with the final top 2 candidates who’ll join the international Campus in Basel.
That was fantastic news, but I still could not be the one of the two candidates,so I decided to go with the flow and wait till June and see how it will work. I  only know Menna among those four names, so I sent her a message; on the other hand, by June, I received a facebook message from Menna that we both are accepted. I opened my E-mail to read: 
It is with great pleasure that we inform you that your application has been accepted. We look forward to welcoming you as a participant at this year's BioCamp event in Basel, Switzerland!
After reading the email, I felt good. Finally, I will join a new Novartis adventure, but this time will be at the European side; at the mother headquarter; Novartis Basel
As we got closer to August, Menna and I prepared for our travel experience, for all travel related preparations were organized by Novartis Egypt perfectly. We were lucky to be accepted, and we were so excited to start a new adventure. We both got our VISA and had a deal to meet at the airport 2 hours earlier. So, I left that day silently, took a bus to Cairo, used a subway to Helioples, and took a Taxi to the airport; a crazy decision I took after I called my friend Mostafa who told me how I can get to Airport using public transportation. 
Finally, Menna arrived wearing a jeans and a red blouse with a lot of luggage. We laughed on our way to the checkpoint; since that time, our trip changed into a radio wave of ups and downs!

Friday, January 29, 2016

Switzerland Adventures-Selection Process

It was a hard time of having very difficult practical final test, Dermatology. I woke up early to study, and I received an email notification on my Ipod I got when I was a student at Fairleigh Dickinson after a fight with my bestie Khadija Alami who used to punish me by not giving me her Ipod during running. I opened the email and started reading carefully.

Dear BioCamp Candidate,
We have the pleasure to advise you that you have been selected among the top twenty candidates who have been accepted to enter the BioCamp initial assessment center taking place this coming Wednesday, 6th of May, 2015 at the Supreme Council of Universities – inside the Cairo University Campus – close to the main entrance gate.

My mother was extraordinarily happy, and she said its yours anyway, I am not shocked of your acceptance or nomination. After two minutes, I remembered that its the same day of my final, and Cairo is two hours away from home. I called Novartis, Cairo to explain, but it was in vain. The final answer was to come and you will be interviewed first to leave quickly.

I headed to Cairo carrying all Dermatology papers with me to review on my way. I arrived at the exact place earlier. After while, candidates started to come over, and I was lucky to know most of them. There were two girls who worried about me after they knew about my exam, Menna and Noura. Novartis team started to show up to shock me; the Novartis president must deliver a presentation, then lunch break, and later the interviews will be held. What? I said I have an exam in another city? , the two respectful ladies promised to do their best, and they did :after the presentation, they started the interviews so I can arrive earlier to my university. On my way to the interview room, I entered the elevator with four giant men. The biggest told me, you look young, what do you study and I am so happy you came all that way; however, you have finals. I answered Clinical Pharmacy and thank you Mister. The other man asked, what test you have?, so I said Dermatology. 

The elevator opened to realize that they are heading to the interview room; they are the jury members!
I was so nervous but for my test not for my interview, so I entered to finish as soon as I can. Wow! they have my resume and papers.The first question was asked, introduce yourself!. After many questions, the interview ended by: Hossam you travelled a lot, why you always come back?, and I answered my mother and siblings. The second man asked; during the interview, I felt you have amazing positive energy, dont you have any trauma or lose in your life?, so I said, I do, the lost of my father. Hence, I received good luck wishes from the jury. 
I went back to university just 5 minutes before my test after the bus driver decided not to wait to fill all seats because police may come now and he has no licence; it was a credit to arrive on time to college. I did fantastic in my test wishing to pass both the interview and my final.

Thursday, February 20, 2014

Blabber by Hackednsack River: Washington DC

After few minutes, I arrived to Radisson Hotel at the heart of Washington DC. Getting to my room made me feel so relaxed, and I realized that I didn't sleep the whole trip from Egypt to Germany to USA. In a while, I was invited to the dinner, where I had the chance to meet alot of students who came to America catching a part of their dreams. But for me, I was neutral, neither happy nor sad. I knew it; it is the period where you don't know if you took the right decision or not, but I did my best to overcome in only 3 nights.
It was hectic days of waking every early morning to get sessions about the fellowship, what US Department of State expects of my performance, how I will receive my stipends, how I can use my cultural allowances, and finally the US Department of State representative explained the consequences if I did not fulfill the requirements; the unmerciful termination.
I started to get close friends who are waiting to go their host universities, just like me. Most powerful impacts came from Algeria, Lebanon, Yemen, India, and Tunisia. We had the best time ever visiting Washington major places. But the most important event that happened to me is this old lady, around 80-90 years old, who gave me her ticket : Unlike Egypt, USA  metro tickets is via machines. They looked huge to me, and I was wondering how I can use that. I looked so naive, while this old lady with her innate feminism approached me saying, take this for you. I was confused what she is doing till she hold my arm and put the ticket with a nice smile in my hand. I looked to the ticket to read "Available for 24 hours" . We all laughed and smiled for the nice situation while I was so excited to use the metro for the whole day for free. As a result of what the lady did, I felt just like home.
In the metro, I approached this nice girl from Lebanon, Joanna. I expressed how much I love Lebanon and how I adore Darine Hadchiti , Elissa, and Wael Kafoury ( famous singers of Lebanon). We get close to each other so quickly, and she became one of my best friends that I have till today. She was going to a university in California, but we promised that we will meet many times and we will be friends always.
From Algeria, this girl was so jumpy and happy. She gave me most happy times in DC. My lovely friend Dallel. She was my soul mate, and my only sad moment is when I remember she will be in Mississippi the whole period of her study. But the best time was to think we are enjoying our time as best friends.
By the time I went back to the Hotel, I got the news that, a girl from Yemen and a boy from Bangladesh will have the same flight to New Jersey to the same University of mine, where I became so excited to meet them;although, I got the question Does we will fit to each other?. As usual, I whispered to me: go with the flow, close your eyes and take the risk, dawn time is close, you will get enough time in the pane to discover.

At 4.30 AM , I woke up and dragged my luggage to the lobby. I went to Dallel's room, but her crying got the silence away. She said her prayers for me. We both promised we will meet soon, and the last few days made the friendship bond tighter
. Our feelings ended: till the time we resay our next hello, its not good bye.
At the lobby, American councils members were ready. The shuttle took us to the airport while the American councils members started to encourage me and my other fellows to take the maximum experience. We were ready but we needed those advises. In the plane, the pilot announced, welcome to the United Airlines, we are heading to Newark Airport of New Jersey. We will reach the destination in 40 to 45 minutes. Thanks for choosing us, have a good time.

Saturday, June 29, 2013

Blabber By Hackensack River: To USA

It is Ramadan: my last breakfast with my family. It was silent breakfast. Even the TV was off.
 in my last day praying Taraweeh in Egypt, I asked the Sheikh (Religious Man) about my eligibility to break fasting at the departure day, and he said you are eligible.
At my last hours in my house, two of friends came to my house (N.A and H.S), a really close relative and person to my heart (Sandy), and my Aunt. The last good bye was really exciting for me and sad moments for them. The moment my elder brother came to drive me to the airport was a super exciting feeling to me. So many questions were in my mind, and preferred to not find answers until they show up in the proper time.
At the airport, I felt so happy and excited mixed with impatience to cross the ocean. Last moments were mom crying, sisters hugging and crying, brothers wishing me good luck, and me smiling.
It is dawn time, and my Lufthansa flight was so comfortable, and before taking off, I felt something in my head saying Hossam, are you sure from that decision?

After about four hours, I landed in Frankfurt, Germany. I took the in-airport train to reach the USA flight. By the USA flight gate, I met students from Palestine, Jordan, Tunisia, India, Egypt, and Algeria. All have something in common; Experience the American Dream.

All the way from Europe to USA, I got friends from multiple countries, especially Dallel from Algeria.

During landing to Dulles Airport in Washington DC, I felt wonderful positive energy filled with excitement. After the checking my papers with the Airport officer, I get out of the checking office looking for who is waiting for me. Finally, the sweetest lady is smiling to me holding a sign; she is the American Councils for International Education representative.
She checked all names for the US Department of State fellows who came from different flights; then, we moved to the hotel bus. The driver took the responsibility

of taking care of luggage . I and my Jordanian friends ,Reeham and Dana,started to joke (ايه الالش ده). I sat by Reeham, and we started to enjoy the views of DC on out way to Radisson Hotel.
By this time, I started to realize that I am on the US land;hence, I started to plane achieving my goals.

Monday, April 22, 2013

Blabber By Hackensack River- Pre-departure events

In July.14.2011, I received a very interesting information from the US Embassy regarding my University placement and pre-departure orientation.

Congratulations for being selected as a finalist
Shahin,Hossam  Fairleigh Dickinson University

Fairleigh-Dickinson University

Fairleigh-Dickinson University is the largest private university in the state of New Jersey. The Metropolitan Campus is home to about 4,000 undergraduate and 2,300 graduate students from the United States and 63 countries. The campus is located in the suburban community of Teaneck, with all the benefits of being in close proximity to New York City. FDU offers more than 100 academic programs in the disciplines of business, education, engineering, hotel and restaurant management, liberal arts, nursing and allied health, and the sciences.

 Pre-departure Orientation

Please plan to be at the Embassy for your pre-departure orientation on July 24 at 10:00 AM. Please enter from the West Gate . The session will take place at the Information Resource Center at the U.S. Embassy in Cairo. Please bring your ID with you. It is expected that we will finish at 4:00 PM.

The departure orientation was a great opportunity for me to know more about the details of my program, and the officers were very nice and friendly. We started the orientation by talking about what I should do, what amount of stipend, cultural shock issues, and what is expected from me.
After while, an educational specialist from AMIDEAST who talked with me about the educational diffirences and how I can overcome the US on campus new life. She told me, you are going to a very fine and prestigious campus in a very nice area of USA. She warned me from different cultural differences such as:
Do not call you friend multiple times, he or she might be busy, and they will call you back when he or she has got time, and Hossam, do not flirt with girls, it considers as a verbal sexual harassment in America. We took lunch together, Pizza.
Last words from US Embassy officer were, you are going to blue city blue state, you are the luckiest!
I left the Embassy at 4.00 having the passion of being lucky; grateful for having my family who launched my personality to achieve all of this.
Dear Hossam, Your visa appointments will take place at 10:00 AM on Tuesday, June 21st, 2011.  I will meet you at 9:00 AM at the North Gate of the U.S. Embassy . 
Counselor: Hi, how are you !
Hossam: I am wonderful, thanks
Counselor: so, what do you study?
Hossam: Clinical Pharmacy
Counselor: so you are Hossam who is going to USA on US Department of State fellowship?
Hossam: Yes, I am
Counselor: Congratulations, your visa is approved  and I will send it to the public affairs section in US Embassy?
Hossam: Thank You
I got my Visa, can not wait to have my tickets to DC, can not wait to have my American Council coordinatory contact information, and before all, I can not wait to phone my mother telling her what she already expected to happen.
On my way to Tanta, I had a nice chat with another passenger, and after long conversation, he said " you have such enlightened positive energy"

To Be Continued

Friday, April 19, 2013

Blabber by Hackensack River

 Very refreshing day in my second year of Pharmacy school when I woke up early to start my college day.The day was very vivid, and I was too excited not only because I will spend nice time with my friends but also because I was invited to take my dinner at evening at the residency of the US Ambassador, Margrate Scobey. The final class was Biochemsitry section;therefore, I flew home to prepare myself for the dinner among US diplomats and cultural specialists. As usual, I turned on my computer to check my email, and here was the big surprise whcih was the first brick to build the rest of my life; my pursuite of happiness; my blabber by Hackensack River:

Dear Hossam,
    I am pleased to inform you of your selection as a finalist for participation in the scholarship funded by the United States Department of State to pursue undergraduate study in the United States.  The scholarship Program was established with funds allocated by the Congress of the United States and is intended to promote mutual understanding between  U.S. and your country.
    The Public Affairs Section at the U.S. Embassy in Cairo will provide you information regarding your acceptance of participation and the terms and conditions of your scholarship. Once your participation in confirmed, further information will be provided regarding your visa and placement at a host college or university in the United States.
    The  scholarship provides round-trip travel from your home city to your U.S. host college or university, tuition, housing and meals, and a stipend for living expenses as well as enrichment activities for the period of the program. 
From here, the journey of personal development, independence, passion, love, friendship, and excitement fired up. After reading the message, I realized, it my time to go to the US Embassy to take my dinner feeling so proud and HAPPY.
To Be Continued 
Advice: Circumstances? What Circumstances? Do your own Circumstances....

Friday, February 24, 2012

Unexpected Internship

Novartis Pharmaceutical Company USA headquarter
 I was very tired from a hard trip from California to New Jersey.At the morning, I received an early morning call.I was totally unconscious,but I decided to answer.Its a very friendly Egyptian accent voice asking about Dr.Hassan. I replied, its wrong number,but he insisted to repeat saying are you sure this is not Dr.Hassan Shahin.I back to reality replying this is Hossam Shahin.The nice man continuing talking about how they got my information from someone, and he excused for using the wrong name.
We started to talk deeply,and he asked me about being interested in an internship in The Oncology Department,and I replied gratefully for my pleasure to have this wonderful unique opportunity.He asked me to send my resume to him via E-mail.
After while, I had a phone interview with the senior manager of the Oncology Department and two Pharmacists including the amazing man who called me.
After an exciting patience, I received a call from the nice man confirming my official approval to be an intern in Novartis Oncology Medical Information Department.
And from here, a pivotal change point in my future took place.

Hossam Shahin's Desk, Novartis
First day

On my way to the train station, I felt incredible happy and excited.The feeling was unexpressed with mix of responsibility,punctuality,happiness,and excitement.When I arrived to Madison Train station, the Novartis shuttle was already left,so the gentle man who is my manager asked me to take a cap.When I arrived there, I found my manager is waiting for me to pay for the cap which was very impressive to me.How much respectful and humble he is.  
After that, I attended the first meeting in my life where I spent my best moments in USA.All of workers were so nice and humble with me.I felt very proud and lucky to be among those hands.My senior manger made me feel very comfortable and secure.
At the end of the meeting, the nice lady asked me to come with her to see my spot.When I went there, I felt shocked for what Novartis prepared for me.It was a professional desk with my own laptop and Novartis personal Email address.
And before I enjoy sitting on my desk, my manger asked me to follow him for taking the lunch in a very fancy cafeteria of the company. We started to chat so friendly.He is a very kind and cultured man.Then, I started my big challenge of real work when he I started to shadow him in some meetings.
At the end of the day, this Indian wonderful guy showed me how I can get back to my campus safely.I said bye to my new friends giving me a so optimistic sense of being real friends in near future.I left Novartis on my way back thinking in the significant day in my life.And in a second I remembered the whole story from the early call until getting to my personal desk.
Novartis USA headquarter
 On the train back to my campus, I started to feel the responsability of being thirst to knowledge.I called my family giving them good news through the continents.My mom ended the call with me with kind prayers hoping to me the best wishes and comming back to my country safely and very soon.

By.Hossam Shahin
Quote:A man of courage is also full of faith.