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Alumni Engagement

Putting down roots: Now settled in Winnipeg, Student Refugee Program grad sets sights on the rest of Canada

August 21, 2018

Since completing Red River College’s Applied Accounting program last spring, Wasim Alkabani has not slowed down.

The 33-year-old — one of the first students to be brought to RRC under sponsorship by the Student Refugee Program — graduated in May 2017, and has since been working full-time as a finance coordinator for Loblaw Companies Limited, Canada’s largest food distribution network, which includes Real Canadian Superstore, No Frills and Shoppers Drug Mart.

“Getting my first job here is something I’m proud of,” Alkabani says. “It’s a good experience. I used to work as a finance coordinator back home (in Syria and Lebanon). I’m learning new stuff every day.”

Alkabani also works part-time as a sales associate at Best Buy, a job that has helped him to connect with new friends while earning some extra pocket cash to explore the country. In recent months, he’s been exploring as much of Canada as he can, visiting Banff for a ski trip, as well as Calgary and Edmonton, and than back to Banff to experience the park’s summer beauty and attractions. Next on his list, he’s hoping to head to Toronto, and then even further West to visit Vancouver.

“I want to see as much of the country as I can,” he says. “I have a lot of fun exploring new places.”

Wasim AlkabaniAlkabani arrived in Canada in August 2016 through the Student Refugee Program, an initiative of World University Service of Canada (WUSC). Born in Syria and raised mostly in Dubai, he arrived in Canada as a permanent resident. He had previously obtained a degree in economics from Damascus University and is fluent in both English and Arabic.

While his two current jobs are keeping him busy, he has his sights set firmly on the future.

“My goal is to receive my CPA (Chartered Professional Accountant designation) and get a job as a government analyst,” he says. “I like a little bit of a challenge, and this is something that would challenge me in a good way.”

Alkabani recently attended an information session on how to go through the CPA application process and is now waiting on some documentation from back home. He expects to be able to begin the process this fall.

But his career isn’t the only thing on his mind. He recently moved into a new apartment, which he’ll share with his wife when she arrives from Syria in a few months.

“We talk on the phone every day and I’m excited for her to be here,” he says.

Alkabani is grateful for the education made possible through the SRP, and is happy to be planting his roots here in Winnipeg.

“I’m really happy to be here in Canada,” he says. “Thank you to RRC and WUSC, and everyone that’s helped me along the way,” he says.

For more information about RRC’s Student Refugee Program Local Committee, please contact Lauren Konrad at 204.631.3345 or