It’s not every day that you find meaning and inspiration halfway around the world. But for international student Suha Damag, that’s exactly what has happened.
Damag, who’s from Yemen, is currently completing her MSc Health Sciences degree online, with her thesis focused on Aboriginal Health.
“I have always had a passion for underprivileged communities and their health and have volunteered for a number of health and humanitarian organizations,” Damag says.
Her volunteer work includes working as a coordinator and a member of the rescue and response team for displaced people, war-affected families and marginalized women in Yemen, and collaborating with the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees in Malaysia.
It was Damag’s drive to expand her knowledge and skills in healthcare provision and health research that first attracted her to the University of Lethbridge. This in addition to the skills she already possesses as a dentist and the knowledge she acquired during her first MSc (in public health) from the International Medical University in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.
“I had been looking for a program that is focused on health research and experiential learning, and that’s when I became acquainted with University of Lethbridge. The interdisciplinary nature of education and the opportunity to work with such a breadth of expertise in health made me believe it’s the best path for achieving my future career,” Damag says.
“I am a highly passionate researcher with goals of being a health policy maker and international health advocate.”
Despite Damag’s healthcare experience and education, embarking on this next degree wasn’t an easy shift, not only because she’s learning in an entirely new country, but because this program was her first introduction to online learning.
“I started my course having some doubts about the online method,” she says.
“However, the atmosphere of the university was very supportive, and I was able to connect with professors and welcoming advisors who made the experience very successful. I have also connected with international colleagues who are now my friends. Plus, the experience of studying virtually and using different technology was exciting!”
Although Damag dedicates 40 hours a week to her schoolwork –balancing family life on top of that – she’s made a point of making time to do the things she loves as well, including biking, hiking, photography and reading.
“It has not been easy, especially going through the first term as a new student studying online, abroad and during a global pandemic. Moreover, working from the comfort of home does not help with productivity and time management was very challenging,” say says.
“However, balance is everything. As important as it is to invest in work and studies, self-care and well-being are crucial to optimal academic functioning. And one should always remember that as hard as the journey may seem, it will be worthwhile in the end.”
To learn more about how to advance your career – no matter where you are in the world – visit the University of Lethbridge’s Faculty of Health Sciences.
The Faculty of Health Sciences provides superb evidence-informed health education that embraces complementary approaches, is creative in its application and unique in its perspective.