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Undergraduate Alumni: Lama Alaraj
My name is Lama Alaraj and I am a recent Economics graduate from Dalhousie University. I was born in Palestine. I moved to Abu Dhabi to start high school. After high school I chose to pursue my undergraduate commerce degree at Dalhousie. My father encouraged my decision and I was happy to have the chance to see my sister who was entering the last year of her undergraduate degree.
After my first semester at Dalhousie I quickly came to the conclusion that commerce was not the choice for me. I was not interested in the profit driven environment and found myself still wanting to learn about the world. The following semester I enrolled in first year International Development courses and declared my major in International Development Studies (IDS). As consequences of my disinterest in studying during my first semester, I had to retake first year microeconomics. From this experience, I managed to find a significant silver lining; I fell in love with economics again. During high school, economics was my favorite subject and the intuition came to me naturally, so I decided to enroll in economics courses at Dalhousie. The other side of this silver lining was what I was learning in Economics was so relevant to my IDS degree. The two disciplines complimented each other very well. IDS opened me to the global social problems we are facing, and Economics gave a fundamental solution to these societal paradoxes. During my four years at Dalhousie, I gained so much knowledge about both the social and the financial world.
After completing my undergraduate degree, I moved to Palestine to work for my Dad’s Architectural and Engineering firm, through which I gained experience in quality control and analysis. I learned how a business operates in an economy that depends primarily on tourism. I also learned that a business is hard to operate when individual interests are in conflict. When trying to run a business in a low-income economy, the main incentive of all parties included tends to be money and people tend to forget about the efficiency with operating it and the hard work that goes into it.
Currently, I am working towards applying for a Masters Degree in Economics. I am taking extra courses at Dalhousie to raise my GPA, and I am hoping to volunteer in an NGO during the winter. I would really like to pursue a Masters Degree in Economics because not only do I love this field, but I really want to be able to get the chance to engage in economic development in a struggling country. Having come from a country that is ridden with political strife and economic isolation, I want the chance to take part in implementing a policy that can make at least a single change in a suffering country.
My goals for the next five years will be to have established myself in a role that is relative to economic policy in the field of international development. I hope to do this through primarily working with international NGOs that focus on microfinance as a proactive way to liberalize individuals living in countries that suffer politically, economically and socially.