Hamida Faiqe, A General Surgeon from Afghanistan [ Part II]
Afghanistan Medical School system is very similar to one in London, England. If you want to become a medical professional in Afghanistan, you must take the General Exam after you graduate from High School. Once you pass the General Exam with higher marks, you become entitled to obtain admissions to either Medical School or Law School.
Students are required staying for seven years to complete all the curriculum in medical school including one year of on the job training. There are two choices for the medical school graduates. One is to continue four-year-residency to become a Specialist, while the other is to find a job as General Practitioners.
Could you explain a bit about your time at Medical School in Afghanistan?
I finished High school when I was at 11th grade and received an admission to Medical School after taking the General Exam. After seven-year-studying in Med School including one year of on the job training, I chose to take my residency specialized with General Surgery for four years. As soon as my residency completed, I became a General Surgery Specialist and started working for Red Cross Hospital where is the biggest hospital in Kabul City, Afghanistan.
Have you ever studied in different countries?
Yes. I finished my Medical Doctor’s degree in Afghanistan with attending a few short-term training programs in India, Tajikistan, and Iran.
After you became a General Surgery Specialist, you mentioned you had worked with different organizations for several years. Could you talk about it a bit more?
Yes, I have experience working with different Organizations, mostly in health related field. I started working as a General Surgeon at Wazir Akbar Khan Hospital in Kabul city, which is known as the Red Cross Hospital. I worked there for five Years.
Then I worked with Safe the Children in different provinces in Afghanistan including the Kabul city for three years. It was the part-time position as a Medical Practitioner.
With the War begun, we relocated to India for about a year, where I found a job with WHO not as a medical doctor but as an employee with general tasks in health related field. Then we came back to Afghanistan.
Now we go back to the time when you just arrived in Ottawa. It was about 10 years ago and I see that you have occasionally worked under the casual employment since then, which means you haven’t found a permanent position up to the present not just in your field but from any other field. Between then and now, do you feel different in terms of the difficulties to find a job? Did it get easier or harder?
As soon as I landed in Canada, I tried very hard to find a residency position in my field including any job even at the stores to make a living. I should say that it was much harder back then, even a job at the stores.
And it didn’t take that long for me to learn about the significance of networking and the Canadian education background to get hired sooner as new arrivals in town.
For about one year of spending time in vain, I finally found a Sales Clerk position at a store. However, I continued looking for any position in the health related field. In addition, I tried to get the Canadian Medical Equivalency based on my past career experience, which cost me a lot to take tests that were supposed to provide me opportunities to apply for Residency. I did pass the tests ad apply in 2009 and 2010, yet received no response ever after.
I started being concerned about my future and began to think that I had better study something instead of working at the stores. Within the reasons, I actually went back to school, majored Political Science and International Relations at Carleton University, in continuing applying for Residency, which cost me $1,500 each year.
With one more degree from the Canadian educational system, I became a more qualified candidate for many job openings; however, as you see, I am still working as a temporary employee here and there.