From Abu Dhabi to Edmonton: International student Farah shares her experience at UAlberta

Student Name: Farah Jebril

Home Country: United Arab Emirates  

Program: Faculty of Nursing

Year: Completed her first year

It has not even been a year since Farah Jebril left her home country and came to Edmonton to start her academic journey...but when we asked Farah about her experience as an international student, she said UAlberta is her home now! 


Born and raised in the United Arab Emirates, Farah hopes that she will be able to find a job and live in Edmonton after she graduates from the nursing school.


"At UAlberta, they want you to succeed through providing the right services and programs. You just need to be open, talk to people and get involved."


Farah says that she enjoys being independent, as it prepares her for the future when she starts her career. Here's our full interview with Farah. 


What are some of the deciding factors that made you choose UAlberta?

I heard that UAlberta has the fourth best nursing program in the world, which was a big reason for me to choose to study here over any other university. I also loved the university's campus.

When I first contacted the university, the staff was able to help me with all my inquiries. Every time I had a question, they would answer my emails all the time.


Did UAlberta’s online resources help you make your choice?

I find them very helpful! The instagram page in particular helped me picture myself here! I used to read all the comments, and sometimes contact students in my program. I even met so many people on social media, and we are best friends now.


What do you like the most about the nursing program at UAlberta?

There is a big focus on research in our program. From the first year, we were writing papers, and that's something you don't find in any program or university. Our professors are super helpful and passionate about what they are teaching, which makes me love the program even more. They really care about the program and addressing everything we inquire about. Each course has a lead whose job is to provide support to students.


What are some of the unique resources that helped you adapt and gain confidence?

In the beginning, I did not have a lot of friends. I used to go to class, and come back to my room. UAlberta's Week of Welcome is a great opportunity for new students to meet people from all over the university. The International Services Centre office is also very helpful, as it keeps international students updated on all the events and workshops happening on campus and how students can get involved… There are so many programs on campus that help students with their studies and life in Canada. Here, they want you to succeed!


Do you live on campus? How did that help you get familiar with UAlberta life?

I do live on campus, and I think there are so many benefits for international students who stay in residence. When I moved here, we had BaseCamp, an orientation program for first -year students, which was the best decision that I have ever made, as I have got to know new friends and people on my floor. I was placed with nursing students, which helped me a lot especially during exams!


How do you spend your time when you're not in class?

The gym here is amazing! I do try to go there as much as I can. I also play Dodgeball in residence. I encourage new students to join one of the clubs on campus. I know some friends who didn't join any club and ended up regretting it… I spend a lot of time with my friends either in the Edmonton Clinic Health Academy (ECHA) or we go out for lunch on campus. We have so many cafes and restaurants here.



Farah with her dodgeball team


How did you adapt to Edmonton’s weather?

At first, I didn't know how to dress for the weather, but then I asked my friends and they went shopping with me. Asking someone who has experience with the weather really helps. Also, everything inside is heated, and the building are connected with pedways. Iit is not as bad as people make it seem. I do not mind it now.


What is your favourite thing about Edmonton?

I like how everyone is really tolerant of diversity and cultural differences, especially in the university area. There is always something to do; you can ask anyone whatever you want and they will be able to help you. People are very nice! The community makes you love it here!




Did you feel that UAlberta connected to your culture?

I see a lot of diverse people on campus. UAlberta has a wide variety of groups and clubs, so you do not feel as homesick.You meet new friends. Lots of events going on all the time!


What advice do you have for prospective students ?

First, I would encourage them to contact University of Alberta International if they have any questions about studying here. They care about you; they are always looking out for you! They do not just want you here and leave you on your own.

Something I find very helpful; it is ok to ask questions and tell others that you are not from here because they want to know your story; they want to know why you chose UAlberta and Edmonton. So it is ok not to pretend that you know everything! Just putting yourself out there and being open to making new friends really helps!



Witten by Hiba Kamal-Choufi


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