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UCQ Students in Canada - Blog

Follow Reem Jumah and Stephany Tapa, two third year UCQ Bachelor of Nursing Regular Track students, who are attending the Spring Semester at University of Calgary, main campus. They wanted to share their experiences with everyone in this blog.

A slide show of their adventures can also be viewed here. Or, you can also see it on our Facebook page.

The Epilogue

By Reem Jumah, September 16, 2013

I’m now back in Qatar and embarking on my third year of nursing at the University of Calgary – Qatar. I thought I would share a few reflections of my semester of study at UofC main campus.

I have had some marvelous experiences. There were some differences and similarities between the 2 campuses. Firstly, UofC is considerably larger compared to UCQ; both the size of the campus and student population. UofC has more than thirty thousand students and it has more than 20 buildings. My favourites would be the Kinesiology complex (where the gym and the swimming pool are located) and MacHall (which is like the university’s mall).

Secondly, there are observable differences in a classroom-teaching environment I experienced in UofC and in UCQ. The class I was enrolled in (Linguistics 309) had 55 students, which is definitely a big class for UCQ. Personally, I find it very interesting that I was able to meet students from other faculties. Each and everyone was eager to share their experiences in their field of study. I very much enjoy how the Canadian students are very vocal and active during class discussion. There’s a strong interaction between the professor and the students, as well as amongst students. Opinions are not only welcomed but are highly encouraged. I believe it is a good technique to create a positive learning environment.

Finally, in terms of similarities, the instructors in UCQ and UofC are very approachable and are always willing to help as much as they can. They motivate you to do the best that you can. I believe the most important part of studying abroad is it allows you to increase your international awareness. It enables you to interact with people from all over the world and have a little bit of mutual understanding culturally. That for me is priceless!

So, once again, I say “Thank you…Shukran” for allowing me to share my memorable experience abroad as an exchange student.

It’s great to be back at UCQ!

Final Entry

By Reem Jumah, June 26, 2013.

Reem in Okotoks

I have been here in Canada for more than a month now. I can’t believe how time flies so fast. In a few more weeks, I will be heading home. There has been so much going on that I do not even know where to start.

I must say that I’m very surprised by the constant change in weather. It is unbelievable how a day can have all types of weather possible: rainy, cloudy, windy, hailstorm, sunny, cold, and warm. Yes, I was able to experience all of these variations of weather in just one day. Although, I am still waiting and hoping for one last weather change: SNOW!

On the 16th of June, Stephany and I had the chance to visit my former foundation class instructor, Barry Leslie, in the town of Okotoks. We travelled going there using the C-train which took us about 45 minutes. It was wonderful and was a good adventure! We witnessed an entertaining parade, which is a way of celebrating the start of summer. We were also able to see the famous “Big Rock”. It was very interesting for me to learn about the fact that a moving glacier transported this gigantic rock. I was mesmerized! Later that day, we watched Mr. Barry’s son play an exciting rugby match. We then shared a great supper and a delicious Canadian dessert: ice cream with maple syrup, maple sugar, and fresh berries (Lhadeeed!).

I believe it is very common to have something like a ‘check-list’ when travelling. Therefore, I started thinking of things I would want to experience before I departed for Qatar. I’m happy that most of those listed have been ticked. Probably there are only a few more left (to see a live hockey-game match & a live Canadian football game, and to see some wild life, to name a few). Unfortunately, I will probably need to come again, for my list to be completed.

So, just a few more weeks left and I will be back in Qatar, my home for more than 10 years now. However, I will definitely miss many things about Calgary, my temporary home, for two months. I have had wonderful experiences that allowed me to grow, not only as a student but also as a person. I have grasped a better understanding of independence. I have also learned to appreciate what I have in life at a different level. I believe my international study experience is beyond amazing. I am excited to share all of the experiences and learning I have gained with my family, friends and fellow students, once I am back in Qatar.

Thank you for reading and hope to see you soon.

P.S. Anyone going to Canada for the first time should never miss trying the maple candies!!! It’s the best. I actually consider it as my new addiction.


Of six ladies, a road trip... and SNOW!

By Stephany Tapa, May 21, 2013.

Stephany Tapa in Lake Louise

The first week in Calgary has been quite busy since our arrival as we had our first class and other activities like exploring the university and some places in downtown. Besides that, Reem Jumah and I managed to find a place that actually sells HALAL meats. *YAY* The supermarket is called Basha Foods International, and it’s located in the North East of Calgary. Nonetheless, it was a tiring, yet fun and adventurous week for both of us.

Fortunately, our weekend was long because it was a public holiday (Victoria Day) on Monday. Since we need to get fit, before exploring Canada’s beautiful mountains and lakes, Reem and I spent our weekend in the Fitness Centre, which is located in the university’s Kinesiology building. On Tuesday May 21st, three lovely ladies, Marissa Grossi, Samantha Stevenson, and Justiena Mathew; offered to take me, Reem, and Nawal to the mountains. Our journey to Banff National Park started at 8am and after about 2 hours we reached Lake Louise Mountain Resort where we got to experience using the gondola and see some snow! *YAY* We were all ecstatic to play around with the snow as well as enjoying the beautiful scenery and to breathe the fresh mountain air.

Our next destination was the Chateau Lake Louise, which was not that far from the Lake Louise Resort, and from there we got a closer look of the beautiful Lake Louise. There were heaps of tourists. When I first saw the view of Lake Louise, it was just so beautiful that it seemed unreal to me. No words can describe how beautiful all the scenery was. However, we just spent a short while there as we needed to head to Banff for lunch and shopping for souvenirs.

Once we arrived in Banff, we hunted down a restaurant for lunch. We found a good place to eat and being as adventurous as I am, I opted for a Bison Meat Pie and this would be the first time I have eaten meat of a bison. It turned out to be delicious and tasted more or less like beef. After our scrumptious lunch, we went to some stores to get souvenirs for our loved ones. Then, we headed back to Calgary and thanked the girls for the wonderful road trip. So far, my stay in Calgary has been great and the people I have met are all nice and helpful.

That is all for the time being. Hope to share more of my experiences with everyone back home and thanks for reading.

Welcome to Canada, Eh!

By Reem Jumah, May 21, 2013.

I left Qatar fully equipped with anxiety, curiosity, and excitement. Above all the emotions I was feeling that day, I was trying my best to comprehend that I am off to a journey thousands of kilometers away from home for 2 months.

Twenty-two hours of total flying from Middle East-Europe-North America was beyond exhausting. However, as Stephany Tapa Neng and I landed in Calgary, adrenaline just came surging into my system and I forgot about being exhausted. We were gladly welcomed at Calgary International Airport by Ms. Cheryl Trudel, who previously worked at UCQ. Later that day, we received another warm welcome from Stephanie Engeler, a student from U of C who was in Qatar for a month, for an international student experience. She willingly helped us with grocery shopping and some other things needed for our new home. We stepped out of the shopping complex at around 9pm and I was pleasantly surprised that the sun was still up and shining. I remember literally saying, “This is the longest Thursday I have ever experienced (if my calculations are correct: 30 hours).”

The next few days were spent battling jet lag and muscle pain from extreme walking. Yes, you read that right: EXTREME WALKING! People here walk meters and meters away. As for someone like me, who considers walking from the student parking to the main building of UCQ as strenuous, walking longer distances are a real work out. However, I am very proud of myself, because I am starting to get better with using my feet as a mode of transportation. I have graduated from what we call “The Corniche Walk” during clinical, to mastering “The Critical Care Walk” (Thanks to Ms. Isabelle Kelly for the early training). The new friends that I have met here are teasingly saying that I’ll be fit once I get back to Qatar.

On the following days, we received an additional warm welcome from another student of U of C, Marissa Grossi, who was also in Qatar, few months ago. She enthusiastically gave us a personal tour around the Alberta Children’s Hospital, where she is working. The hospital is wonderful! I cannot explain how impressed I am with their health care system. Our visit to the Children’s hospital allowed me to grasp a little about the difference between the health care system here in Calgary and Qatar’s.

I have been here in Calgary for a week now and the experiences I have gained are beyond wonderful. The people that I have met here are very warm and full of smile on their faces. I just can’t wait to see more of what Calgary has to offer.

That’s all for now and See you later, eh!



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