Nour Ramzi

Four years ago, Nour Ramzi immigrated to Canada from UAE because her parents had a dream. “They wanted me and my sister to study in Canada and have opportunities they never had back home.”

At the age of 19, Nour and her sister started their new life in a new country. “I came from a very close-knit family and community who were very supportive. It’s difficult to come to a new country and feel completely alone,” she says. “You are afraid to ask questions in fear of being judged because no one knows your story.”

This feeling is what inspired her four years later to volunteer at COSTI as a mentor for other newcomers. “I remembered what it was like to be a newcomer and I wanted to help others feel comfortable in those early days,” she says. “There are so many questions newcomers have that feel silly but are really not, like how to read a map to use the transit system, where to go to buy a winter jacket or the process to apply for a job.”

As a member of COSTI’s Volunteer program, Nour became a mentor to a family and some individuals who were new to Canada. “It was a very meaningful experience to help them. I really enjoyed our phone calls and messages to help them however I could,” she says. “It was also very emotional for me as well, reflecting on how hard it is to leave your home and family.”

For Nour, COSTI has helped her find that sense of community she missed when she first came to Canada. It’s amazing to connect with others and share our collective experiences, celebrate our backgrounds and move forward stronger because of what we have accomplished.”