Celebrating the Student Refugee Program Class of 2022!
Over the past four years, 533 young refugees were welcomed onto Canadian university, college, and CEGEP campuses through the Student Refugee Program. This year, many of these students are graduating and taking the next steps in their journey toward a better future for themselves and their families.
Join us as we celebrate the achievements of the graduating class of 2022! Hear from Lulu, Nawal, and Manyang as they share their fondest memories in Canada, their plans after graduation, and their advice to incoming students.
Last month, Lulu Kara graduated with an Honours Bachelor of Science degree from Victoria College at the University of Toronto. As she reminisces about her time in Canada so far, she shares that, “one thing I will forever be grateful for is my college: Victoria College [at] the University of Toronto. I’ve felt [at] home since day one, and I couldn’t ask for more. The support, care, and love I have received is overwhelming!”
An inspiring student leader, she was the recipient of the Gold “V” Star for her contributions to the Victoria College community, recognizing her efforts to create an inclusive and welcoming environment for students. As the events coordinator and Student Refugee Program representative for her college’s WUSC Local Committee, she organized events to raise awareness among students and faculty on campus about refugee issues. “The best part about being involved with WUSC is the connection I’ve built over the last four years. I’m passionate about advocacy work, and WUSC gave me the platform [to] carry out [that] work,” she explains.
After graduation, Lulu plans on finding a job in her field. She also has advice for incoming students: “I encourage you to embrace this chapter of your life with an open mind, as there are endless possibilities out here for you. Take your time to know yourself and your interests,” she shares. Furthermore, she notes that it is important to take things slowly and to not feel pressured to figure everything out right away as these things take time.
Nawal Al-Maqtari came to Canada to pursue a Bachelor of Arts in Business Economics at York University. Her dream growing up was to be a university graduate. Thanks to the Student Refugee Program, she has now achieved this dream as she prepares to join this year’s graduating class. During her undergraduate studies, she was actively involved with York University’s WUSC Local Committee, first as a finance advisor and then as the Student Refugee Program representative. As the representative, she helped to welcome new students and guided them to navigate and access services available on campus and in the community. She says that the people she met became her ‘second family’.
When asked about her plans post-graduation, she shares that she plans on celebrating her big achievement and taking time to reflect on her next steps. She has words of advice for incoming students. Although students might face obstacles and challenges in the beginning, she encourages them to stay positive and persevere because “your dream is worth it.”
Manyang Lual Jok
Manyang Lual Jok graduated this year with a Bachelor of Arts in Economics and Computer Science from McGill University. At the Kakuma refugee camp, he was one of 200 students to apply for the Student Refugee Program. When he heard that he was one of the successful applicants, he described it as “one of the most exciting moments of my life.”
When he arrived at Trudeau International airport in Montreal, he was welcomed by students who were part of the WUSC Local Committee at McGill. “They were [the] very first people I met in Canada and they were also some of the nicest people I’ve ever met.” This experience led him to become actively involved with the Local Committee, serving as part of the executive team. He says that welcoming new students at the airport is “a humbling experience.” He adds, “it brings me to my first day in Canada – which is one of those memories that I will always hold dear.” He advises incoming students to “never give up. Being a refugee student can be tough and there are a lot of challenges, but it gets better.” He adds, “Try to seek help. There are a lot of people willing to help you, especially on campus.” As for next steps, Manyang is excited for the future and is looking forward to interviewing for jobs and exploring new opportunities. “Thanks to WUSC and McGill, my world changed.”
Congratulations to Lulu, Nawal, and Manyang, and to the entire graduating class of 2022! We can’t wait to see what you accomplish next.
Since the Student Refugee Program launched in 1978, we have supported over 2,400 refugee youth and provided them with the life-changing opportunity to pursue their education in Canada.
As the program continues to grow, we are excited to welcome a new cohort of 174 bright, young students this fall, including refugee students from Afghanistan. This is thanks to the support from the WUSC Local Committee network in response to the ongoing displacement in Afghanistan.