Monday, March 17, 2014

[STUDENT AMBASSADOR] Khadija Moulahid – Being a Female International Engineering Student in Canada

WES Student Advisor: Canada is a long way from home in Morocco. Can you share with us why you decided to study abroad in Canada?

In my last year of high school I had to choose a destination for my post-secondary studies. Growing up in Morocco, where French is the second official language, and studying in a French school, I decided to pursue my studies at least for the first few years in French. So I decided to list all the French speaking countries that were interesting to me, and Canada being a bilingual country was immediately one of my first choices. I was too familiar with the French system and wanted to experience something new. Studying in Canada was also the opportunity for me to improve my fluency in English as I further my studies.

Second, no one would dispute the fact that Canada has one of the best and most valued education systems in the world, and that was really important for me and my academic ambitions.

Third, I love traveling and discovering new things and new cultures. It was important for me to choose a country where diversity within society is encouraged. Living in a multicultural society is crucial to me as it brings richness to my own cultural education.

WES Student Advisor: What were some of the challenges or obstacles you faced when applying to a Canadian university?

The most challenging aspects of applying to Canadian colleges and universities were the different application documents for each school. Also, exam requirements differ by institution and program with each school having different application deadlines. It was hard to keep track of each university I was applying to since I was overwhelmed by my exams. This was my last year of high school, and I also had to take my Baccalauréat by the end of the year.

WES Student Advisor: Can you share one thing you wish you had known before applying to universities in Canada?

The one thing I wish I knew before applying here is how hard scheduling courses would be. It’s a very time consuming task that you need to do it at least two months prior of the beginning of the school year. Also, I wish I knew how hard the Canadian winter would be. It’s very different from the Moroccan winters that I am used to. Getting used to this weather has been a tough challenge so far.

WES Student Advisor: What is it like studying engineering as a female international student?

I know that engineering is a male-dominated environment, which can lead to discriminatory behavior, but I have personally never faced discrimination. There is obviously a lack of female engineering students in my classes unfortunately (about 20 girls in a class of 200) and barely any female lecturers but the situation actually favors the females greatly making easier for us to stand out among our classmates. As a female engineering student, I have never felt less able or less passionate than my male counterparts. 

WES Student Advisor: Share with us what a day in the life of an international student is like.

I feel like every day is different, but this is what my typical day looks like:
  • ~7:30AM: I wake up 
  • 7:30 - 8:30AM: Shower, Get ready, put some makeup on, do my bed, and have breakfast (I live on campus so I need 10mins to get to my classes) 
  • 8:30AM- 2:30PM: I’m usually in class around this time 
  • 2:30 - 3:30PM: Break and Lunch time 
  • 4:00 - 7:00PM: Laboratory Sessions (twice a week usually) 
  • 7:00 - 8:00PM: I take a break, chill with my friends, or just rest and watch a show 
  • 8:00 - 10:00PM: Homework time! I read and review material from my lectures, and do assignments 
  • 10:00 - 11:30PM: Shower time and I get ready for bed 
  • 11:30 - 00:00AM: Bed time 

WES Student Advisor: What are your hopes after graduation?

After I graduate, I would like to go to graduate school for a masters in Civil Engineering Structures. Then, I would like to work as a civil engineering consultant, or in research institutes and government agencies. I may also pursue doctoral studies somewhere around the world.

WES Student Advisor: What is the best thing about studying abroad in Canada so far?

I love my international student experience in Canada and if I could go back in time I would chose Canada in a blink of an eye. I wanted to learn about a new culture and I found myself learning about more than just one. I wanted to be independent and free so I found myself living in a very diverse and open-minded society with a welcoming environment. I wanted to further my studies in an elite university and now I am more than satisfied with the education level in my university. 


Hello everyone! My name is Khadija and I am an 18-year old international student from Morocco. I am currently studying civil engineering in the University of Ottawa. And I am more than happy to share with you guys my experience as an international student.

1 comment:

  1. Hello Khadija, I'm a civil engineering graduate and wish to continue my master's in Canada. Would be great help if you could help me out.


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