International Scholars


Meet Raja! She’s a Total International Scholar from Yemen.


“I lived all my life in Sanaa, the capital of Yemen and had never visited Europe until I came to France as a Total International Scholar,” explains Raja, who’s now in her 6th year of living and studying in France. As a Total International Scholar, she is one of 1,000 students to date who have participated in this prestigious program, and one of 15 selected from 4,000 who applied from Yemen. Her scholarship covers all school fees and a living allowance.


So what subjects has she chosen to focus on? Raja explains, “I started off studying chemistry at ENSCR in Rennes. Then after 2 years, I transferred to ENSGTI in Pau, where I’m doing a 3-year Process Engineering Diploma. I am also pursuing a double degree MEA (Master of Business Administration) at IAE Pau-Bayonne.” Even though she says that now chemistry is her favorite subject, it wasn’t always the case for Raja. “When I arrived in France, I didn’t much like chemistry but now I’m also passionate about process engineering and I know I want to work in this field.”


As a female engineer coming from a country greatly damaged by civil war, Raja is determined to make the most of the opportunity to live and study abroad. She reflects on the challenges that she has experienced so far, saying “When I got this scholarship, I couldn’t speak French, so I had to study the language intensively before I came here. The first year was hard. My advice to anyone in the same position is ‘Don’t stop, work hard and eventually you will get where you want to go!” I now feel fully integrated here and have made a lot of friends from many different countries.” 


Raja is now looking forward to taking up an internship with Total in Pau. What’s her long-term career plan?  “My goal is keep growing in a company where I can continue to learn and take more responsibilities. I want to contribute as much as I can.”


If you enjoyed this article, read about Hossam’s experience, the first International Scholar to be admitted to the prestigious École Polytechnique.