Interview: Recent graduate Fatin Sehwail

 Recent Birzeit graduate Fatin Sehwail and her brother Samir talk to Birzeit News about Fatin's studies and plans, and issues for Palestinians living and studying here and in America.

Birzeit student Fatin Sehwail, originating from the Ramallah area village of Abwain, is from a family of six brothers and sisters. Her studies for her BA in Business Administration were interupted when she married and moved to the US for 2 years, before returning to complete her studies and graduate last semester.

Fatin's final research paper, "Time management for undergraduate full-time students", tackled the thorny issue of how Birzeit students manage their free time, specifically highlighting the difference between male and female students, and students who work outside the university.

From a cross-faculty sample of 100 students, Fatin found that 76 percent of female students compared with 43 percent of male students plan their time. Perhaps the fact that forty-three percent of male students work outside the university during the semester, compared with 9.5 percent of female students leaves less time to free plan with.

Both sexes spend a lot of their free time on campus, with 85 percent of male students chosing this option, compared with 95 percent of female students. Of these students, 78 percent of the males and 90 percent of the females spend this time in study-related or work experience-related activities - in the library, laboratories or working with a department.

Fatin is about to return to the US, where she and her husband will study for their MAs. One of her brothers, Samir, talked to Birzeit Newsabout her move.

Samir (left) is an Engineering student at the Palestinian Polytechnic. He says that the family was happy about her decision, as they were proud of her for getting such high grades - 92 percent in her final seminar - in her circumstances, with a family and in such a bad political situation. Samir has never been to the States himself, but he would like to finish his studies there. Fatin herself intends to return and work in Palestine.

"Palestine is my homeland," says Samir, "No matter how far away I will get from it, I will always return. The challenges of the peace process should encourage people to return to serve their homeland."