AlinyAliny joined the St. Paul’s community in August 2019 when she first arrived in Canada as a permanent resident, sponsored by the World University Service of Canada (WUSC) and the University of Waterloo’s Student Refugee Program (SRP). She is enrolled in Public Health and aspires to be a professional health care provider.

Aliny, 22, was born in Malawi and raised by her parents in Dzaleka Refugee Camp. She lived there with her older sister and two younger brothers who are still residing in Malawi. Conditions there are very poor as there is no adequate food or clean water, no freedom of movement, and lack of proper education. Students cannot be enrolled into public or government-funded universities or colleges because of their refugee status.

Knowing that she would not have the opportunity to attend post-secondary school in Malawi, Aliny applied for the highly competitive program offered through WUSC. More than 300 people apply every year, and only 25 are successful. The process is rigorous and requires dedication, excellent grades, adequate English speaking and writing skills, a commitment to community-based volunteer work and a handful of personal assessments.

“I was so determined to make it, and I knew that this program was my only opportunity to continue my studies,” said Aliny. “I yearned for a sense of belonging, and applied for the chance to pursue my dreams.”

Almost one year since her arrival, Aliny looks back on her first year at the University of Waterloo with fondness. She enjoyed living on the French-language floor, Las Bastille at St. Paul’s, and developed a palate for the variety of food served in Watson’s Eatery.

“St. Paul’s is a great place to be,” said Aliny. “The people are friendly and very helpful. They have made the transition to Canada smooth, and I appreciate the quiet room I have to call my home. I have made many friends, and look forward to becoming more independent as I enter my second year at UW.”