NIC Spotlight: Beginning studies during a pandemic

NIC international student Bridget Kabike shares her experience of coming to Canada and joining the NIC community. 

It was on the 28th of December when I boarded the plane from Zimbabwe to Canada, to be honest I had mixed emotions.

I was excited, and at the same time I was very sad. I was excited because it is my first time going to Canada, it is my first time studying overseas. However, I had never travelled for long hours or long distance without my parents, and it was during the pandemic.

The flights went smoothly. There were lots of empty seats on the plane. I was able to stretch out and sleep, which helped me not suffer jetlag when I arrived.

Arriving at the port of entry I was asked to show the arrivecan document. NIC’s Office of Global Engagement had made sure that my documents were in order so I showed them the arrivecan receipts and went to the side where they asked about COVID and wanted my quarantine plan.

Because Global Engagement office made sure that I had the plan, it was on paper and officers were very, very appreciative of that because they said they made it very easy for us because it is all on paper.

Because everything was in order, it was a very smooth process.  I got my study permit and was allowed to enter Canada.

And this is where the real journey started.

Going to Comox Valley, which is a very beautiful place by the way, is where my excitement really started. I was pleased to see the mountains. It was just mountains throughout and the view was just so pleasant. And when we got there I had to call a taxi and the Comox taxi came and I went to my motel. Everything was just so simple because I had the confirmation paper and they just said “oh, we have your room, and you have to go to your room now”.

I went to my room and everything was just perfect. The school bought groceries for me and gave me an NIC welcome package. The OGE staff also checked up on me every day during my 14 day quarantine with a series of questions, for example, if I had a sense of taste, or suffering from fatigue or tiredness, or if I had fever, and of course I had arrivecan messages so I was answering a series of questions as well. I was answering questions everyday, and I had no COVID symptoms. It was also a great thing because even the people from the motel were checking on me to see how I was doing.

I literally had everything I ever needed in that room, though of course sometimes you get tired of living in the same room, but when the sun would come out I go out on the balcony and enjoy the view. So I was not really “confined, confined”, and it was actually a good experience.

I started my classes online during quarantine and actually they are great. Meeting great professors and having great classmates, I mean it is just a blessing. A blessing we normally don’t see anyway.

During my quarantine I was able to apply for a SIN online. I was able to look for an apartment and I found a very nice apartment here in Comox. I am close to the park and everything and it is a very beautiful place, and everything was just great.

So I am here, very healthy, no COVID, having my lessons, and I actually went for my first f2f lab experience last week and I was there at school, it is a very good school and good place.

And I do not regret it, it was a very nice experience and I would recommend anyone from anywhere to study at NIC because of what I had seen and experienced. I thank the school for making my experience so great. Thank you.