Syrian refugee appreciative of efforts by U of L student group

December 13, 2019

By Lethbridge Herald

Despite the best intentions, it’s difficult for a university student to “change the world.”

But when students join forces, they can make a world of difference for young refugees.

That’s been proven again at the University of Lethbridge, where a student group has been instrumental in freeing people from refugee camps to begin studies in Canada.

What’s more, after bringing its first student here in 2016, the highly motivated group convinced the U of L student body to donate each semester to bring additional refugee students here.

“I’ve been really inspired by the whole process,” says U of L professor Anne Dymond, faculty adviser to the Lethbridge chapter of the World University Service of Canada.

But it’s not just the students who rose to the occasion, she told an audience Thursday at the Southern Alberta Council on Public Affairs. Faculty, staff and members of the U of L administration have given financial support as well.

After spending most of their life in a refugee camp, Dymond added, suddenly moving to another part of the world, starting classes and meeting people with far different lives will trigger culture shock.

“But all of the students have weathered that quite well.”

Abdullah Mouslli, who fled to a refugee camp in Jordan after war broke out in Syria, was the first to arrive.

“I didn’t know much about Canada, let alone southern Alberta,” when he learned he could be eligible to make the move, he said. But browsing the internet helped.

So did the fact he’d learned English in high school, before schools were closed as the battle expanded. But the screening process involved lengthy interviews with Canadian and World University Service officials, Mouslli said – and he failed to impress on his first attempt.

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