Malaysian Hijabi Girl Breaks Barriers by Pursuing Scuba Diving Career
BY: Michelle Liew
Becoming a scuba diving instructor is not an easy task because one has to go through various trainings and challenging tests.
However, for the petite 157cm-tall Malaysian Nur Sabrina Mohmad Fuad, 25, it is not an obstacle for her to venture into the profession which is dominated by men and foreigners.
Sharing her experience, the hijabi girl from Perak said she started to become a scuba diving instructor in 2017 when she was 19 years old after obtaining a Divemaster level diving license.
"This trip was not planned. It started when I was waiting for my SPM results. My parents offered me to stay on Perhentian Island to follow a Divemaster level scuba diving training," she said. Nur Sabrina now teaches at a diving school operator on Perhentian Island.
She said that after a year of gaining experience as a Divemaster, she continued her training to climb up to the instructor level by taking an Instructor Development Course (IDC) and an Instructor Exam (IE), before qualifying as a scuba diving instructor recognised by the Professional Diving Instructors Association (PADI).
When asked about the choice of a career that is rarely pursued by women, Nur Sabrina said she was interested in the field because she was inspired to see that most of the scuba diving instructors in Malaysia were foreigners.
"Many scuba diving instructors are outsiders (foreigners), they are professionals such as bank workers and engineers, but are willing to stop just to live and work on the island. So, I think this is my chance to open people's eyes, especially our Malay and hijab-wearing women who can take on this career, thus encouraging more people to venture into it," he said.
The eldest of three siblings said, training scuba diving students until they successfully obtained their license was a satisfaction and joy that cannot be described in words.
"There are students who are originally phobic, panic about the depth of the water and some are almost desperate, but I have managed to persuade them to overcome their fear, leading them to complete the course," she said.
Her mother, Noorazizah Yusof said, in addition to Nur Sabrina, she and her husband and two other children also have scuba diving licenses and actively dive in several islands such as Perhentian, Sipadan, Phuket, Gili Asahan and the Maldives.
"In the past, during school holidays, we would take the children on island holidays. In 2013, we took a beginner's license for scuba diving in Perhentian after being attracted, and wanting to try the activity. What begun as just for fun, has now become a hobby for our family, and we will go diving together every time we vacation on the island until today," she said.
Her mother expressed that she was proud of Nur Sabrina's achievements.
"We will always support what Nur Sabrina does because that is her interest... even though she still wears the hijab and has to maintain boundaries as a Muslim, she is still able to do challenging tasks," she said.