Oday Essa is a young man eager to spread the word about the benefits of the EU projects across the Middle East. Using his passion for cinema, he is developing his skills as a video maker to share his thoughts.

Oday Essa was only 18 years old when he learned of the #InTheirEyes campaign. Heartened by his experience within EU-funded projects in Jordan, he submitted his candidacy and got selected alongside 15 of his young Arab peers.

“I really wanted a hands-on experience to train myself on making videos, without having all the big equipment and professional skills yet.” The young man had become disillusioned by his initial years of studying cinema, where he felt like “the theory being taught was detached from the reality in the field. I was not gaining as much as I was hoping”.

Oday says in the age of internet, anyone can learn whatever they want, whenever they want, if only they have the commitment. And that’s what he did. The 21-year-old used his experience with EU Neighbours to hone his skills in film-making and editing, and landed a job in one of the largest media companies in Saudi Arabia.

“I think this campaign was a great way to share experiences with fellow influencers. It gave me the freedom to be creative and innovative in my work and to start building a portfolio for my career. This was precious!”

For the future, Oday says he wants to “always keep learning” and use his channels to spread the word about the many activities funded by the EU in the MENA region. “These are opportunities that can be useful to anyone and definitely make a change in people’s lives.”

There is always hope. There are always going to be opportunities but you have to look for them. Work for them. The way you hussle is the key to you becoming successful, in whatever area you want.