Amran Mahamed (22) was nominated for Student of the Year for raising money for earthquake relief in Turkey and Syria, Afghanistan and the Pakistani floods. She is vice-president of student association Avicenna and has also organised lectures educating medical students on ramadan, demonstrating ways to treat patients who are fasting. Despite all this, she retains an active role in the Somali community in her neighbourhood, including encouraging Somali children to read more, and translating for families who don’t speak Dutch during doctor’s appointments. “Amran is known among students as an always positive person you can have a chat with”, says her nominator.
These are the finalists for Student of the Year
The six finalists for the Student of the Year election have been announced. Alex Huang,…
How do you feel about your nomination?
“I was quite shocked. People really thought about me? At the end of the day, I don’t think I did anything that’s extraordinary, but I felt very appreciated and loved.”
Why do you help the Somali community here speak to doctors?
“As an immigrant, I know how difficult it is for my parents to express themselves. I can’t imagine how difficult it is for someone who doesn’t have anyone to translate at a doctor’s appointment. It’s about providing equal accessibility to healthcare. At the end of the day, being a doctor is not only about diagnosing illnesses, but you really have to understand the patient clearly. Some people need to express themselves to feel like they’re getting the right help, so I help them.”
What motivates you to help the Somali children living here read more books?
“As someone who came here from Somalia at 8 years old, I know how it feels to be in their shoes. Back then, I was blessed with being 8, so I didn’t see the struggle in things yet.
I remember when we moved to Rotterdam. It was the first time I attended school and I was just so excited to study. Then in high school, I started to realise how alone I was. As a kid, when your parents can’t speak Dutch, it feels like you’re one step behind everyone all the time. When we all had to write an essay for example, other parents helped their kids. I had no one who could help me with that. When it came to education, I felt like I was always on my own.
“I’m glad that I’m someone who’s really curious and driven, but not every kid is like that. If a child is shy, that person could have so much potential, but they wouldn’t reach it because of their position in life, and that’s the unfairness. That’s why I really love helping these children, I see myself in them. I just want them to reach their full potential. Everyone should get the same chances. If you have the opportunity to help someone, help them”
Did anyone give you any guidance as a kid?
“My primary school teacher. She gave me my first book, Mathilda, and I really loved it. After I grew up a little bit, I realised how precious that is, it’s a very small favour to do for a child, but it means the world for them.”
What’s something nobody knows about you?
“I don’t do it as often as I used to, but I really love writing stories. When I was little, I tried to write a book based on MovieStarPlanet. It was mostly fantasy because that’s what fascinated me the most, and it is still my favorite genre to read.”
The election for Student of the Year is organised by Studium Generale and Erasmus Magazine. The jury has chosen the finalists from 104 nominations. From 11 May, you can vote for one of the students. These votes are one part of the final outcome. The jury will vote again and the very last round of voting will be by the public on 31 May.