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Get to know Sara Ismail, a first-year student at Columbia College talking about her experiences while living and studying in Canada.
Could you introduce a bit about yourself?
My name is Sara Ismail. I am originally from Palestine but I was and born raised in Dubai. I am currently enrolled in a science major, biology concentration in particular. I have come far with the sole purpose to get into medical school and become a doctor in Canada.
How is your studying at Columbia College?
As I am about to start my second semester, I was able to win the entrance scholarship in my first semester and I was able to score all A’s in my first semester too. Columbia College is full of diversity starting from the CC’s staff to the students. Everyone here is different and our differences make us united.
The first 2 weeks online (due to Covid-19) were a bit challenging as I had no interaction with the instructor or my classmates. Getting on the track with my new life and adjusting took time but it was worth it as am feeling grateful. My advisor Akbuken and the admission team at Columbia College were there for me since day 1, as I got a visa refused back in 2021. She was there to give me advice and make the situation less stressful for me. She helped me with the document that I needed and shared with me the regulations that I should be aware of, and was always there for me when am struggling with a class. She is just so supportive and caring!
Also, all my teachers (Ms. Hema, Ms. Leslie, And Ms. Evangelia) in the first semester were very supportive and encouraging as they always cleared my doubts instantly and their presence made my learning journey easier, smooth and enjoyable.
How do you like Vancouver?
I am actually enjoying my time in Vancouver, the people are so nice and helpful. The weather here is lovely considering I like rain. Food is amazing and Tims always come in handy and lucky we have a Tim Hortons that is close by!
Any advice for other international students who first come to Canada?
You should try to immerse yourself in the culture, and connect with the people around you. You can also break out of your bubble by joining social clubs, playing on sports teams, and volunteering on campus or in your community. Anticipate some of the steps you might go through as you embrace your new life.
Ultimately, your way of thinking may change as you adapt to your new lifestyle, find things you like about it, and begin to get excited about the adventure ahead of you. Don’t fear to try new things .Always build the bond with the instructor and approach them when u are in concern as they always be there to help.
Time management is the key tip to succeed in school so find a schedule that suits you and follow it restrictively and if some days go off remember its fine as our learning journey will have its up and downs but everything pays off at the end of the day. Book session with the learning center and get extra help if u want as this service is free and available for everyone. Connect with your classmates and plan to have a study group studying sessions as this will tremendously help you boost your studying and productivity and lastly believe in yourself.
Fun fact! If you could have 1 superpower, what would it be?
The superpower that I would like to have is to be able to read people’s minds and know their intentions!