#ReCodedFellows: Ammar's Story

#ReCodedFellows is a series focused on sharing the stories of our students. We encourage all our Fellows to not only learn to code, but to be the authors of their own narratives. Ammar is a Fellow in our Front-End Web Development Bootcamp in Gaziantep, read his story below.

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Hi there, my name is Ammar. I’m originally Palestinian, but I was born and raised as a Palestinian refugee in Homs, Syria. After graduating from university in August 2015, I was accepted to continue my studies in the United States at the University of Alabama. However, my visa was rejected by the U.S. Embassy in Lebanon because I’m Syrian. I was unable to go back to Syria at the time, so I decided to travel to Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia as they accepted Syrians without a visa. 

In October 2015, I arrived in Kuala Lumpur however I was denied entry because I didn’t have a passport and only held a refugee travel document. After 55 days of living in Kuala Lumpur International Airport, I was deported back to Syria via Lebanon. Due to the conditions in Syria, I was only able to stay there  for a week before travelling to Turkey. I arrived in Istanbul in December 2015 and lived there for a year. At the end of 2016, I was offered a job at an NGO based in Gaziantep that helps Syrians inside Syria, and have been living in Gaziantep ever since. 

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I recently left my position to launch a startup with a group of friends focusing on educational robotics for kids. I’m responsible for the technical side, ranging from web development to robotics for information management.  Ever since I was young, it was my dream to study programming and computer science. However, my high school results prevented me from majoring in either at university, and I ended up studying physical therapy. Although I graduated from my program, I didn’t enjoy working in the field. I started to take programming courses online and in-class, and completed my first web-development course with another NGO here in Gaziantep. 

That’s where I learned about Re:Coded. 

Ali and Marcello, the founders of Re:Coded, visited Gaziantep to share their work. One of the meetings was held at the NGO where I did my course, and I was invited to attend. When I heard about what their work and the type of bootcamps that they run at Re:Coded, I knew that this was the opportunity that I was looking for.So, I anxiously waited for the applications to open because I knew that I had to be one of Re:Coded’s Fellows. 

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We’re now nearing the end of the bootcamp. Since the beginning, it has been an incredible journey.. I have learned and practiced front-end web development which means I know  all about HTML, CSS, Bootstrap, JavaScript and React. In addition, I’ve also been able to focus on my professional development by learning skills such as communication, leadership, public speaking, and time management.  

The past few months have been full of challenges, with the hardest being the final project. My team and I came up with an ambitious project idea that required an advanced level of code. We were tight on time, but began researching online and working with our trainer. My team and I created Alo Talabati, an e-commerce website version of the phone number you call to request a service delivered to you, such as food, gifts, clothes, etc. The app has an online store with a shopping cart that  allows customers to buy what they need directly from the website. You can check out our project, here. We’re so proud to see all the things we accomplished that we originally thought were impossible.

I’m hoping that once I graduate I will be able to start working as a web developer. I’m excited to further develop my frontend web development skills and even begin to learn about the back-end. I’ve met so many incredible friends and instructors, not to mention the Re:Coded Team, and I hope to make them proud of my work.