Oussama's father is Palestinian, his mother Syrian: origins he is proud of. He graduated in journalism from the University of Damascus, then worked as an editor for a magazine and then as a reporter and sports host on a national radio station.
In 2017, he was forced to leave his country. One of his uncles, Franco-Syrian, is a professor at the Pasteur Institute in Paris and his maternal grandmother lives in Rennes: France, despite the language barrier, is an obvious choice.
From one day to the next, you don't just leave a territory: you leave your mother tongue, your family, your friends, your memories, your neighborhood, your apartment, your car. Everything you've built.
When he arrives in Brittany, and despite the presence of some of his relatives (Oussama made the trip with his mother), the gap is brutal. Accustomed to the city of Damascus, in constant movement, Rennes is quite calm. Fortunately the Bretons are open, welcoming and warm with foreigners.
The first step, of course, was to learn the language. Oussama looked for all the spaces, workshops and courses that would allow him to progress. After two or three months, he started to get by. But the language was not the only challenge: he knew nothing about the city, and at the same time, he had to follow all the administrative procedures, which require time, effort and a good understanding of French.
Integration was difficult: I experienced it as a loss of identity.
Little by little, Oussama learns the language and rebuilds his life in Rennes. The social worker who accompanies his reintegration quickly talks to him about each One: he applies with her help and is accepted.
At each One, if you ask, there's always people to help you.
He did the program at Science-Po Rennes, where he perfected his French and gradually integrated French culture. His mentor, a sports instructor in an establishment in Nantes, helped him in his job search. Passionate about the world of sport and the media, Oussama had to face the harsh reality of journalism in France: a popular sector that has so few offers. Determined, he never gave up and ended up getting an internship at AFP.
Within the program and on campus, Oussama made many friends, with whom he still keeps in touch today. He encouraged his wife to join the program, and she did one semester later. His wife's mentor, having heard about his career plan, introduced him to Xavier, a journalist in Rennes, who activates his network and introduces Oussama to it. Thanks to this, he is invited by Aurélie Rousseaux, general manager of TV Rennes, to come for an interview for a six-month internship. Motivated as ever, Oussama was accepted into the editorial staff in September 2019.
TV Rennes is a great school.
There he was trained on the field: every day, Oussama would define his subject, take his camera, shoot his sequence, write his interview, write his documentary and edit his video. The team was great, he felt he belonged there and found the support he needed.
Since that internship, he has been a freelance journalist.
Am I going to make it? I don't know, but I'm as motivated as I was on the first day: I'm an optimistic person, I was already optimistic in Syria, despite the difficult conditions. I can still see the light at the end of the tunnel.
Even though he is well aware of the many obstacles that complicate the career of a French journalist, Oussama will not give up. He is improving his technique at breakneck speed, and, brick by brick, is trying to build his network. Not everything is easy every day, but he is learning, progressing and moving forward. His goal: to do French-style journalism. And he's off to a good start.
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