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University of Regina exchange “best thing that has ever happened in my life”

By University Advancement and Communications Posted: March 10, 2020 9:00 a.m.

After receiving an Emerging Leaders in the Americas Program scholarship Salma Selem Najm, an International Business student from Mexico, attended the University of Regina as an exchange student in Fall 2019.
After receiving an Emerging Leaders in the Americas Program scholarship Salma Selem Najm, an International Business student from Mexico, attended the University of Regina as an exchange student in Fall 2019. Courtesy of Salma Selem Najm

Exchange programs are an incredible opportunity to learn about new cultures, get out of your comfort zone, and make lifelong memories and friends – all while advancing your educational pursuits.

Since childhood, Salma Selem Najm, had dreamed of studying in Canada, and felt that an international exchange would be a great opportunity to enhance her knowledge of different cultures and backgrounds– and feed her travel bug. This past Fall, Salma an International Business student from the Universidad Anáhuac Xalapa and recipient of an Emerging Leaders in the Americas Program scholarship, completed a semester-long exchange at the University of Regina. Now back in her native Mexico, we caught up with Salma to chat about her experiences living in Regina and studying at the U of R.

When did you arrive in Regina?

I arrived in Regina in the Fall of 2019 and was on exchange for one semester. I wish I could have finished my undergraduate degree there!

Where else could you have studied with this program?

Some of the other opportunities I had available through the exchange program were to go to other institutions in Spain and Canada, but I ultimately decided to go to the U of R.

What helped you to make the decision to come to Regina and the University of Regina?

The more I read about the University, the more I wanted to be part of it for its amazing events and programs, and reputation for educational excellence. The campus is beautiful and located on Wascana Park, which was amazing to be able to finish classes go for a walk around such a gorgeous landscape. As well, who wouldn’t want to study in a place that has the Roughriders? The city has such great vibes and truly melted my heart!

Any experiences that really stood out?

Meeting new people and learning about different cultures! Every Friday, me and other international students would gather and cook our traditional food for each other. It was awesome being in Canada as well as learning about so many other cultures. I also found a second sister in Canada — my roommate Neve. She even took me to Thanksgiving with her family, something I had never experienced before. I feel like I have another family in Canada now! I have never felt so welcomed and happy in a place, and every single person I met left a mark on me. The whole experience was life changing.

What did you do for fun while here?

The UR International office plans lots of great activities for international students – this included me going to my very first hockey game! I also got to experience things like eating my first perogies, and carving pumpkins at Halloween. Experiencing Christmas was incredible – all of the decorations, the lights, people singing, hot chocolate – everything just made me feel like I was living in a movie! We also got to take trips to Saskatoon and to the Tunnels of Moose Jaw.

What was your favourite class that you took?

Philosophy of Yoga and Tai Chi! I have always been interested in yoga, but never had the time to experience it.  Taking the class turned out to be one of the best decisions I have ever made. I have implemented yoga into my daily life and it continues to amaze me every day. Collin Hall was the best teacher I have had. He made the class fun and I learned a lot!

Did you find it easy to meet new people while you were here?

Yes, I found it really easy. When I would walk the halls in the University, I always said “hi!” to someone, and all of my fellow international friends would ask, “How do you know everyone?” They always teased me because I was really open and talkative with everyone, but this helped me to make lots of friends from different cultures. I have already had two friends I met in Regina come to visit me in Mexico!

Why should someone go on an exchange?

Before going, I was very shy, but now I can talk to anyone. The people you meet and the memories you make are something that no amount of money can ever buy. Words cannot describe how I feel about Canada – it will always be a part of me. I think this exchange program is the best thing that has ever happened in my life.

Why should someone choose the University of Regina?

At the University of Regina, you are not another number in the system, you are truly a student who is taken into account. UR International makes such an effort to reach every single one of their students, which I valued a lot – they are such lovable people. As well, the campus is just simply amazing! It has everything you need and is so beautiful. The University of Regina is the best university to study in Canada not just for their amazing programs, but also because everyone there really cares about you.

Related:

Read Salma’s testimonial about the Emerging Leaders in the Americas Program at EduCanada

Learn more about UR International and student exchange opportunities