The Student Refugee Program celebrates the class of 2021
Unusual, challenging, and isolating are all words that can be used to describe the 2020-2021 academic school year. The COVID-19 pandemic has significantly affected the lives of people around the world, particularly students. Universities, colleges, and CEGEPs across Canada and around the world have shifted to online learning.
Resilience is another word that comes to mind when we think about people’s experiences during the pandemic, including those of students who came to Canada under our Student Refugee Program. As WUSC celebrates the graduating class of 2021, we connected with some of this year’s graduates to hear more about their favourite memories in Canada, advice for new students, and what they are most looking forward to next.
Meet some of our 2021 graduates!
Sara came to Canada as an SRP student to study Molecular Biology and Genetics at the University of Guelph in 2016 . An inspiring student leader, a WUSC Local Committee member, and a dedicated advocate for refugees, she is the Vice President of Student Experience at the University of Guelph Central Student Association. She is passionate about improving student life and experiences on campus and has volunteered on campus to lead orientation for international students transitioning to university. As she reflects on her own experience, she explains that it is hard to pick just one favourite memory since coming to Canada, but she is super grateful for all the friends that she met over the past years. She is most looking forward to visiting her family in Germany and travelling across Canada after the pandemic ends. She also has this to say to her first-year self, in hopes that it might help the incoming 2021-2022 cohort of students: “Step out of your comfort zone!! The first year after you get here is going to be difficult and the transition won’t be easy, but keep your eye on the goal!” For more about Sara please check out our World Refugee Day Spotlight Series.
Ali came to Canada to pursue a degree in Human Rights and Human Diversity, sponsored at Wilfrid Laurier University in 2017. One of his fondest memories is the warm welcome he received from Wilfrid Laurier University’s Brantford WUSC Local Committee and the tremendous support he received with settling into his new home. Ali continued his involvement with WUSC by joining the Local Committee, first as a general volunteer and then subsequently served as an Outreach Coordinator and Co-chair of the Local Committee. In addition to his undergraduate studies, Ali also completed a postgraduate certificate in Human Resources Management. His goal? “To get my Certified Human Resources Professional and Certified Human Resources Leader designations, and become a Human Resources Professional and Leader.” Ali emphasizes the importance of real life work experience to help get a job after graduation.
Priscillah arrived through the Student Refugee Program for her undergraduate studies in Arts at St. Francis Xavier University. One of her favourite memories of her studies in Canada was reuniting with all of her friends and fellow SRP students at the WUSC International Forum in 2019, adding that “it was such a magical moment talking about the transition from the refugee camps to our new lives.” As for her advice to her first-year self, she says to go after your dreams, realizing that all of the tools needed to achieve them are within reach. She also offers advice to other newly arriving students and that is to reach out to their Local Committee. They are “some of the nicest and sweetest people to have during your time at the university.” After the pandemic, she plans on returning back to school to pursue further studies.
Here’s to Sara, Ali and Priscillah, and the entire Student Refugee Program graduating class of 2021! We wish you all the best in your future endeavors! Don’t forget to stay in touch, you will always be a part of the WUSC family.