"Life is a journey, not a destination"
Being originally Palestinian and growing up in an unstable area such as the Middle East has definitely impacted me as a person; my personality, my perspective on life, my way of thinking, my relationships with various people and my future goals. In addition, as a person I am very passionate about helping people and contributing to society at the individual, community, and international level. As a result, my future plans aim at advancing positive change.
I have found my involvement in the Cycling4Gaza initiative tremendously rewarding, further pushing me to pursue a career that has a social impact. Here I am now completing my master’s degree in International Relations at IE: a perfectly diverse and inspiring environment where I am gaining knowledge from my awesome professors, generating ideas with my incredible classmates, and learning more about myself and how I could transfer this passion into the real world!
Dina Dajani, Jordan
Executive Lead, Cycling4Gaza
- Program studied
This story describes a part of my journey, and how I ended up discovering myself, realizing what my passion is and figuring out what career path I’d like to pursue in the future. It starts from the time I left Canada my home for almost 10 years to move to Dubai.
Being lost and confused is how I would describe myself when I was 26 years old and living in Canada. So many questions came to mind: what am I doing in Canada? Should I be closer to my family in the Middle East? Should I join the family business? Or should I work at an international organization? Where do I see myself in the future? A corporate woman? Or working with children at a refugee camp? I had no idea.
I chose to move back to the Middle East to join the family business, carry on what my father has built and be closer to my parents. The move was tough: leaving my home for almost 10 years to move to a new city where I had to adapt to a new culture, start a new life, and work in a field that was completely new and different than mine. My heart wasn’t in it. I learnt a lot from the job, I gained transferable skills that I use today and every day and I felt great giving the family business a fair chance. Being close to my family was the biggest advantage. But I lacked something huge: a sense of self-fulfillment.
To fill that gap, I started to channel my energy and do things that made me happy, like joining my first Cycling4Gaza (C4G) trip to the Netherlands. Along with 50 people from all over the world, I cycled 300 km in 3 days to raise USD $300,000 for a children’s mental health project in Gaza.
This life changing experience pushed me to become a member of the C4G Executive Committee and co-lead the entire initiative. Being a member of the Committee and volunteering for 3 years made me realize my enthusiasm and dedication towards working for a cause, and it made me realize the feeling of accomplishment from bringing people together to make a difference. Most importantly, this experience made me follow my passion by applying to a master’s in International Relations at IE in order to pursue a career that has a social impact.
This experience made me follow my passion by applying to a master’s in International Relations at IE in order to pursue a career that has a social impact.
Here I am at IE today, developing both personally and professionally: in the past 8 months, I gained knowledge of global affairs more than I have ever imagined I would or could. I was given the opportunity to be the Class Representative and the IE Charity Club Coordinator, and I am living in an environment where I learn something new on daily basis. Inspired by my professors and changed by my classmates, my journey continues…
Here is a video that I used as part of my IE application, showing how I cycled my path of self-discovery.