This story was originally published by WUSC. Read the original here.
Imagine having to rebuild your life in a new country. You are not a native speaker of the official languages. The food tastes different and your favorite ingredients are hard to find. The customs are unfamiliar and you feel uncertain in social settings.
What would it take for you to begin to feel at home in this new country? What do you think would give you a sense of belonging?
For the students supported by WUSC’s Student Refugee Program (SRP), they don’t have to imagine. They tell us, it’s often the small things that make a big difference: a smile, a message of welcome, a friendly conversation, a helping hand, words of support, an invitation to dinner, even a stuffed moose!
In their own words, they say:
“Canada makes me feel like I belong every day. The helping hands I receive. The smiling faces I meet. The learning opportunities I get. And much more.”
– Aya Zawit
“Canada provided me with […] a peaceful place to call home, freedom to be the best version of myself and a scholarship to quench my thirst for higher studies.”
– Mo Maalim
“As I looked at my certificate of citizenship, tears streamed down my face because for the first time in my life, it felt like a load had been lifted: I had a nationality!”
– Delphine Umutoni
“Moments like when my roommate’s family invited me for my very first Thanksgiving dinner […] made me feel like this is a country and a place where I can start a life and a family.”
– Mohammad Al Masalma
“The moment I stepped on Canadian soil I felt I belonged. […] Now that I have a family of my own, I feel completely Canadian, proud and free.”
– Charlotte Bapima
In honour of the 150th anniversary of the Canadian Confederation, we joined the Honourable Senator Ratna Omidvar, in partnership with Universities Canada, to create 150 Stories of Belonging. Through this initiative, we invited our SRP students and alumni to share their story of when they first felt like they belonged in Canada.
We invite you to read more Stories of Belonging at https://150.wusc.ca/. And remember the small things that you can do today to help a newcomer feel more at home in Canada.
On November 21-23 the TRU Students’ Union will be asking students in a referendum if they would like to start the Student Refugee Program at TRU. Click here for more information about the referendum.
Are you interested in helping bring the SRP to TRU? Click here to sign up and the Equity Committee will follow up!
Vice President Equtiy
About the Equity Committee
The TRUSU Equity Committee is a group of eight elected and appointed students who work to raise awareness about the systemic oppression of marginalized groups in society, and to challenge that oppression on campus.