RRC’s second refugee student settles into Canada
Vikki Derksen, CONTRIBUTOR
Wasim Alkabani is adjusting to a new life in Canada, but he says it’s a welcome experience after living somewhere he no longer felt safe.
“I have always wanted to come to Canada, because they have a good education system and life here is good,” Alkabani said. “There is lots of diversity, and everyone is treated respectfully. There are good opportunities. You can start a new life here.”
Alkabani, 31, is the second student RRC has accepted through the student refugee program. He’s originally from Syria, a country that he feels is no longer safe due to war. He has lived in Lebanon for the last four years, working as an accounts officer.
He could not continue his education there because of recent sanctions by the Lebanese government that increased the documentation required of Syrians living in or entering Lebanon. “I miss my family and my friends the most,” he said. “Also my home — there is something I really miss. It is still my country.”
Coming to Canada meant leaving his family behind in Syria. He said he dreams of personally sponsoring his family to bring them here, so they can make a new life for themselves.
“I was hoping I could start a new life here, because my country is not in good condition now, because there is war, so I think it is better for me to stay here.”
He is now a permanent Canadian resident and said he’s thankful for the opportunity to study here.
“It’s a very good program. It’s an opportunity not too many people are given,” he said. “I would recommend it to other students. You should try to apply, and hopefully you can get in. I am very happy for this opportunity.”
RRC local committee members have partnered with World University Service of Canada and community donors to assist Alkabani with his adjustment to Canada.
“Refugee students have been a gift to our campus. We are very proud of our students involved who work to internationalize our institution.” Lauren Konrad, student integration co-ordinator for RRC, wrote in an email.
“The program’s visibility has fostered a welcoming campus, students and instructors have been incredibly supportive and welcoming on campus.”
She added the school plans to continue to sponsor one student per school year.
RRC students wanting to get involved can attend the annual welcome for immigrant and international students on Oct. 21 at Notre Dame Campus from 6 to 9 p.m. This event offers the opportunity to meet and spend time with new students.
Students can also contact Konrad (firstname.lastname@example.org) about joining the Local Committee, if they would like to be involved in sponsoring future students.