Upon arriving at their new universities, many students are unaware of what to expect in the first year. They expect to gain knowledge, make new friends, and have good times while finding a new sense of direction. But imagine facing those challenges in a new country! I felt the weight of all those challenges and struggles that come with the importance of getting an education. However, when I got to know the people at VIU, who are very kind and open-minded, they pointed me in the right direction and gave me their warm support. They had answers to all the different questions and lingering doubts I had as a student. In my view, student life is the best period of any person’s life, filled with sweet memories. In this period of time, students start their own lives, especially if the students are international students.

                I have learned a great many things from my professors and from VIU staff members. I believe they gave me a broader outlook and attitude toward life. I always found it exciting to prepare for exams with my friends and to complete group work, all of us working and facing pressure together. Our professors pushed us out of our comfort zones and encouraged us to do our best. They motivated us to learn more, to be open to diverse viewpoints, and to pursue internships. They supported us every step of the way.
                One of the proudest accomplishments of my life is having earned my master’s degree. I had a dream to get my master’s degree from an American university. I believe graduation is a time to celebrate the hard work, dedication, perseverance, and individual achievements that led to such a prestigious accomplishment. It is a time when the individual can reflect on this stage of life and be proud of completing this phase of the educational career. I am sure, for most of us, this was no easy task. Especially for those who had to manage their time carefully, attending classes, writing papers, working part-time jobs, tending to spouses and children, and spending time with friends. In my opinion, these are experiences we can reflect upon with pride and which lead us forward with ambition.                  
                Concerning my own future career path, I am heading in the right direction, diploma in hand, and I am very grateful to my VIU professors for providing me with this direction and support.

Written by Nafisa Ismailova