Photo of Raya Zamil at her job in lab environment wearing laboratory safety attire

Raya Zamil

"My best advice is to keep positive and never give up"

Raya Zamil was born in Iraq and fled to Syria during the war, where she later completed a degree in petroleum engineering. Now she lives in Sweden, where she is doing an internship at AFRY though Jobbsprånget, a programme that allows newly arrived academics to connect with Swedish employers.

A photo of Raya in the city of Kiruna during winter, ground covered with piles of snow.

“As a woman, it is hard to get into the engineering business and the situation in Syria did not make it easier. Ultimately the situation in Syria forced us to move once again. This time we moved to Kiruna, the northernmost town in Sweden. It is safe to say that I was shocked when we arrived. The climate and cultural differences were extensive, but in the end we were relieved to be in a peaceful place where we did not need to worry about whether we would live or die tomorrow”, she says.


In Sweden, Raya studied a master’s degree in environmental chemistry at Umeå University and applied for Jobbsprånget after her graduation. Shortly thereafter, she was contacted by AFRY and started her internship period.

What have you been doing during your internship?

"At the moment I am working with research engineering for a Life Science company called Cytiva, which was the client selected for me through AFRY. A normal day at work for me consists of being in the lab and analysing chemical data.”


The journey from the war in Iraq to the internship at AFRY is remarkable and has been far from easy. It’s not until now that Raya has had time to reflect on her background, and she wants to use her experiences to inspire others.


“My best advice is to keep positive and never give up. This worked for me, although it was a long road to get to my current position. I can now say that I am comfortable and pleased, it feels like a new beginning”.