Getting a second chance at learning

Hard work pays off for Syrian refugee

Adnan Yassin didn’t have any choice but to quit school after Grade 8. As the oldest brother in his family in his native Syria, he had to look after his siblings and a parent with a disability full-time. Decades later, he came to Calgary as a refugee from his war-torn country. Now at Bow Valley College, he’s getting a second chance at learning.

It’s starting with the Centre for Excellence in Immigrant and Intercultural Advancement.

Since May 2016, Adnan’s been in LINC (Language Instruction for Newcomers to Canada), one of the centre’s programs. LINC teaches learners like Adnan the language skills they need to settle in Canada. These include listening, speaking, reading, and writing. With his dedication to  attending class and participating, the College staff is confident he’ll get a handle on English, which will lead to a job. 

But it’s Adnan’s commitment to the community that really stands out. He volunteers at the Calgary Immigrant Support Society, which originally was a donation centre for Syrian refugees, but is now a community centre for all immigrants. There, he’s helped newcomers settle in – even a fellow Bow Valley College student. “He was more than willing to help,” says Aws Qasim, learner success associate at the College. 

Adnan has also been keen to volunteer at a number of cultural events, including those that touch the Syrian community and beyond. He’s involved in the Palestinian and the Turkish cultures as well. 

Adnan’s family is active in the community too. His daughter Noor got invited to the Alberta Legislature Building for her volunteer efforts in the Syrian community. 

Aws Qasim, who helps learners with settlement issues, adds that Adnan’s willingness to give will help him fit into the Canadian work environment. And he has the experience and the knowledge he needs to start a career in Canada. By the time Adnan wraps his English Language Learning courses, he’ll be a welcome addition to the workforce. 

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