Pandemic success story – international student from Saudi Arabia shares her study experience in Canada. What is it like being an International student during a pandemic? Jana AlHarbi, CultureWorks graduate of 2021, shares her journey to Canada from Saudi Arabia, and learning English online with CultureWorks.
To say that Jana AlHarbi is an international student is an understatement – she has lived in many countries of the world before even venturing to Canada for her studies. Jana was born in Morocco where she lived as a young child, then moved to the U.S. where she attended elementary school. Later on, she lived in India for several years, followed by Saudi Arabia before moving to Canada. She truly enjoys experiencing different countries and learning about their unique cultures.
Jana shares her experiences about studying in Canada during a pandemic, and her online learning experience with CultureWorks.
“ I heard good things about Canada … I find that the schools here are really great.”
Jana considered other countries for her studies before coming to Canada. Asked why she chose Canada, Jana explained, “ I heard good things about Canada and I wanted the chance to study abroad. I find that the schools here are really great, especially the universities – and people who graduated from here went on in my country to be in really high positions. So I thought being in Canada would be a really good opportunity for me.”
CultureWorks is “a really nice community, really friendly …having that connection with my classmates, my teachers, it was a great thing to have.”
When asked what stood out most about CultureWorks, Jana said “I would say the community of CultureWorks in itself. It was a really nice community, really friendly. It felt like I knew everyone in my class, when I actually didn’t – especially since it was all online learning. Really having that connection with my classmates, my teachers, it was a great thing to have.”
“Studying online turned out to be a really nice experience.”
Jana’s online learning experience with CultureWorks turned out even better than expected. “Studying online turned out to be a really nice experience. At first I was a little nervous because I wouldn’t really meet these people in person. It was only just seeing faces on the screen … but getting to know the people in my class and making sure it was all really easy, it felt really natural. It was like I was in the class itself – like they were there in person – and that’s what I liked most about it.”
“After studying the CultureWorks course, I felt really ready to go to university and do my best.”
What was the effect of the CultureWorks experience? Jana explained, “I think that it really helped me. When I first started I didn’t really know anything about the writing assignments that I would get in university and what they expected from me in university. That was the most important thing for me because I was coming from many countries and I didn’t really know what to expect. Being at CultureWorks it really helped to get me ready for whatever it is that university had to throw at me … After studying the CultureWorks course, I felt really ready to go to university and do my best.”
Jana plans to study biomedical engineering at Carleton University in Ottawa. She has always had a passion for putting things together. In fact in a high school project, Jana created a jewelry box that opened through biometrics, using a security lock with fingerprint access. Following her studies in engineering, Jana hopes to go on to study medicine to become a doctor – and also, of course, to travel to more countries of the world.
“Dream Big. No matter what life throws at you, you really never know what you can achieve … just follow your dreams.”
Does Jana have any advice for students now? Her answer: “I would say Dream Big. No matter what life throws at you, you really never know what you can achieve … just follow your dreams and hopefully you will achieve anything you would like to achieve.”