“Anything is possible in Canada as long as we are resilient and move step-by-step towards our goals.” Ahmad Jarrah very eloquently states how he feels about coming to Canada as a Syrian Refugee. Ahmad, along with 8 other refugees were granted scholarships from ILSC-Toronto in a collaboration with the Refugee Career Jump Start Project (RCJP.)
Founded in 2015, The Refugee Career Jumpstart Project (RCJP) is a Canadian non-profit focused on streamlining the process between the arrival of refugees and their employment. RCJP began as an organization focused on assisting Syrian newcomers and has since grown to encompass all refugees within its scope.
As language is the first and most essential step into adapting in a new country and entering the job market, RCJP in collaboration with ILSC has provided English training scholarships for 9 newcomers. With the improvements and confidence gained through those scholarships, these new ILSC-Toronto students are now better equipped to continue their education and pursue the career goals. Here are some of their stories.
Suzan Jarekian’s journey to Canada started in Beirut, then Egypt, and finally Toronto. Suzan feels blessed to have met many people who helped along the way. Suzan has a Civil Engineer certificate but her profession was a student advisor at a private Armenian school in Syria. Suzan plans to go back to her profession in education, specifically in daycare and working with youth. She is currently attending enrolled in a one-year intensive early childhood education program.
Suzan attended ILSC for three months and gained very useful tips and guidance regarding her language goals. “Without ILSC I couldn’t have developed my English language skills which helped me get admitted to a program in my field of study. My ILSC education helped me reach my goals faster than expected,” says Suzan. In addition to the academic benefits, Suzan was also pleased with the teachers and staff at ILSC and their dedication to their students.
“The faculty was always helpful; teachers were trying their best to help the students reach their career goals. They gave their 110% in helping the students realize and pursue their goals.”
Ahmad Jarrah had a difficult transition to Canada, having to travel to multiple cities before arriving in Toronto. In Syria, Ahmad was a professional soccer player, however, he has been working in retail and construction since his arrival. Ahmad attended English courses at ILSC for six months and was able to develop his language skills, enabling him to participate in everyday conversations with people. “It is easier to pursue your career goals when you are confident with the language,” Ahmad says. Ahmad also enjoyed the diverse student population at ILSC. He is now is pursuing a career in soccer and is confident he will reach his goals with the opportunities available to him in Canada.
Alina* (not the student’s real name)
Alina also had a trying time in her journey to Canada, as is often the case for many refugees. While in Syria, Alina gained experience in applied chemistry and afterward worked as a teacher in Saudi Arabia. Alina’s goal is to continue her postgraduate education in Business and work in the field.
“While at ILSC, I enjoyed advancing my language and meeting people. The school has a great atmosphere full of positivity.” Alina tells us. Attending ILSC courses advanced her English language with better communication. The teachers were very supportive and made the class interesting and engaging. Alina feels that the teachers went the extra mile to help the students. The faculty also provided the students’ very useful information about life in Canada. Alina is currently searching for work while planning to continue her studies.
We reached out to some of the ILSC-Toronto staff who worked closely with these students. Abby Seyhi, a Cultural Advisor said: “You could tell that they are extremely grateful for the opportunity and very appreciative. Many of them are highly educated and had great careers such as doctors and engineers and now they believe they’ll have a chance to also contribute to the society here in a great way; it is a great motivation for them. One specific example that comes to mind, was one of the students was a doctor back in Syria, and after completing his general studies, enrolled in the University Pathway program to continue his field of study. He is looking forward to giving back to the community once he is done with his schooling.”
At ILSC, diversity is not only welcomed but celebrated. When partnered with other organizations looking to make a difference in their community, such as RCJP, real change is made possible, opportunities arise, and lives are transformed.
To learn more about the RCJP visit here.