A YOUNG asylum seeker who has been living in Ireland since he was 17 has won a scholarship to one of the country's top universities.
21-year-old Altamash Shaikh arrived in Ireland as an asylum seeker from Mumbai, India, and despite battling homesickness, depression and the struggles of living in Direct Provision centres, continued to push himself in his studies.
The young student spoke to Irish Legal News where he admitted that, like thousands of other Irish people before him, completing the Leaving Certificate was "the most stressful time of my life so far".
Despite the stress of the Leaving Cert, Mr Shaikh had a thirst for learning, and went on to complete a QQI Level 5 Business Studies course at Drogheda Institute of Further Education, as well as studying at UCD through open learning and lifelong learning programmes.
The avid student was then rewarded for his efforts when he was offered not one, but two opportunities to study a degree at either Trinity College Dublin (TCD) or University College Dubiln (UCD)-- with a full scholarship.
Speaking to Irish Legal News, Mr Shaikh admitted he was faced with a tough choice in choosing between Global Business in TCD or Business & Law at UCD, but eventually chose the latter after researching both courses "inside and out".
While Mr Shaikh's goal is to have a career in consulting, the Business & Law degree provides him "with many options" should he choose to go in another direction.
"I did not want to be a person graduating with just a business degree," he told the outlet.
"I wanted to be open towards my career. I wanted to have both skills and prove versatility to my employers, as this degree is 50-50 until third year.”
We wish him the very best of luck!