“I have experienced the best year of my life"

Posted on Friday, August 29, 2014

We never know where life can take us. It is an old saying Nabil Maadarani has experienced lately.

At the age of 17, this uOttawa engineering student flew to Canada from his native Lebanon with optimistic goals in mind. Nabil has quickly embraced Canada’s culture and lifestyle, and pledged to grab every opportunity coming his way.

Nabil Maadarani

Nabil Maadarani describes his CO-OP experience and his student life

Q - Why did you select a CO-OP program? Can you share your CO-OP experience with us?

NM - My university life had a big impact on my goals, as I strived to grab opportunities that would make a difference in my future. I knew that I needed to complement my academic performance with a strong work experience. CO-OP sounded like the ideal concept to me, because of the alternating work and study sessions, which means that I can bring my work experience back to the classroom and vice versa. I must say that CO-OP has been a fruitful path: I have completed two work terms at Networking and Software companies located in Kanata's Research Park, and the amount of things that I learned from those experiences exceeded my expectations. Not only did I learn about new concepts, programming languages, and technicalities, but I also learned how to behave in the workplace and how to communicate with colleagues. On top of that, my work terms helped me confirm that I am studying what I love, and pursuing the career that fits me. I am grateful that I got those positions thanks to CO-OP.

Q - What role did the CO-OP program play in your internship at CISCO?

NM - As much as I enjoyed my local work terms, I wanted to try something different for the next term: I wanted to travel and work abroad. With the help of the CO-OP office, I managed to secure a year-long internship at Cisco's Headquarters in Silicon Valley as part of the "Cisco International Internship Program". Even though it meant that I had to interrupt my studies and delay my graduation, I could not avoid this amazing opportunity. So I packed my bags and headed to California in August 2013 where I have experienced the best year of my life: I met other interns from all around the world, made great friends, and got to work at the world's leading networking company on bleeding edge technology! Best of all, I got offered a remote part-time role for a second year while I finish my last year at uOttawa. I also had my Cisco story featured in uOttawa’s online magazine the Gazette, and in a future Faculty of Engineering Viewbook of Undergraduate Studies.

Q - You have been recognized for excellent academic standing several times. Can you tell us more about these achievements?

NM - I knew that my academic standing could open bigger doors for me, so I strive to have good grades since my first year, and as a result, I've been on the Dean's Honor List during all 3 of my academic years at uOttawa.

 Q - How do you spend your free time?

NM - I've learned that life isn't all about school and work, so I've made sure to have extracurricular activities during my university life: I co-founded the "International Student Social Club" at uOttawa, became its president until my work term in the US, and helped organize plenty of the club's events including an international fashion show, and a flash mob. I also wanted to give back to the CO-OP program, so I recently joined its student committee and hope to help guide some students in the program. Maintaining hobbies is also important to me, so I regularly play basketball and swim, which help me stay in shape, relieve a lot of school related stress, and have fun doing what I enjoy.

Q - What’s next for Nabil Maadarani?

NM - If there's one thing I learned from my experience during the last 4 years, it is to never settle down for where you are in the present and constantly aim higher. Therefore, in the near future, I see myself starting my own company after gaining a couple of years of experience working at a modern company like Cisco.

Find out where engineering and computer science studies have taken other students

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