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Survalienne Profile: Nauf from Saudi Arabia

Posted on: 1st January 2017

Nauf is one of Surval Montreux’s students from Saudi Arabia. She has been coming to Surval since her father introduced her to the school through its Summer Camp when she was a little girl.

From the library, which has replaced the old living room to a new generation of teachers who encourage students to think for themselves, Nauf says much has changed in her time at Surval. “I love the new teachers, they are so sociable, open-minded, really great listeners. Whenever they ask a question or I want to ask or give an opinion, they like to hear more about what we want to say.”

“Now, I am taking more time to understand – they are giving me more information, give me more to take my time. If I don’t understand they say please repeat again and again, here they are actually giving me time so I can understand and I am thankful for that.” But perhaps the biggest changes Nauf recognises have been personal ones.

She admits her school journey hasn’t always been an easy one, but her persistence has paid off and the enthusiasm with which she speaks about the school and her obvious happiness at being here is thanks in large part to the opportunities Surval has given her to be an individual and carve her own path. Even still, Nauf is keen to underline that none of this would have been possible without the support of her father to whom she is immensely grateful.

“I always tell myself that without my dad I really don’t know what to do. He taught me so many things so I can be confident, independent, happy. He wants me to have a more happy social life and education and this is the moment I am having right now.”

She’s not the first from her family and, with a younger halfsister, says she may not be the last to come to Surval. And even though she is currently the only one of her sisters to be at the school, she doesn’t need to feel lonely. For someone from such a close family, it’s heart-warming to hear how Nauf describes the others at the school.

“The girls here are like my sisters,” she says, the smile on her face adding real warmth to her words. “We are just an amazing group and we like to have fun and do activities and most importantly travel.” Travel has opened Nauf ’s eyes and changed her outlook in more ways than she could ever have imagined.

“It actually made me gain more confidence and make me know who I am more so I can see what to do – dos and don’ts. And live happily.”

Nauf has had the opportunity to explore many parts of the world, learn more about different cultures – she says she was particularly taken with China, though not really a fan of the food. She has better news for the new chef at Surval and says that the food has really improved since he took over.

Looking to the future, Nauf is clear about her dreams and ambitions. She wants to be a celebrated photographer, building on a skill and passion she first developed at Surval Summer Camp and her love of travel which she has been able to enjoy through extensive overseas trips with the school community.

Speaking about her hopes for the future, Nauf recalls seeing a TV interview about a famous photographer who travels the world taking photographs. “I was like I want to be like him and I want to travel the world. I said to my dad one day I am going to save my money and travel the world and be the best photographer I can.” And she’s practising her passion daily. After all, with a canvas like Surval’s, where the snow covered mountains skim the lake and most days Nauf wakes to a glorious sunrise, it’s the perfect location for an aspiring photographer. “I can’t help taking pictures almost every day. I used to live in the fourth floor – now my balcony is so much better. The view gets better and better every day. Take a picture at sunrise. Focus on the sunrise and you will be amazed about how beautiful it is.”

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