Laurier grad says growing up in Syria gave her resiliency for the pandemic

Rasha Nasri grew up surrounded by civil war in Syria, but she says the experience has given her perspective during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Rasha Nasri is an International Students Overcoming War scholar

The civil war in Syria began when Rasha Nasri was a high school student. (Submitted by Rasha Nasri)

Rasha Nasri grew up surrounded by war in Syria, but she says the experience gave her perspective during the COVID-19 pandemic.

"I've become more resilient in these situations. Like when the pandemic started ... everyone is worried it's going to be a really long time," said Nasri. "But for me it was just a relief to know that it was going to end at some point, where in war that wasn't clear."

Nasri, who was born and raised in Damascus, the country's capital, remembers her school being attacked.  She says she was scared and unsure about what would happen next.

"The glass sheltered when we were in class and we went to shelters for a few hours and then we were sent home again," said Nasri. "I think just the fact that we were all going through it together, the students in my school, that made it easier."

Eight years later, Nasri is now graduating from Wilfrid Laurier University's International Students Overcoming War program, which supports students from conflict areas. 

CBC Kitchener-Waterloo is sharing the stories of some of the graduating scholars over the next month.

Nasri studied computer science and dreams of helping other newcomers to Canada.

"My advice is to try to go out an meet people as much as possible," said Nasri. "It can get lonely if you don't do that."

It was a terrifying moment for Rasha Nasri when her school in Syria was attacked. She was sent home. Scared and unsure what would happen next. That was eight years ago. Now lives in Waterloo region. She's an International Students Overcoming War scholar, a Laurier program that helps fund university for students from conflict areas. This is the third interview in our series with graduating students from that scholarship program. 7:23


To encourage thoughtful and respectful conversations, first and last names will appear with each submission to CBC/Radio-Canada's online communities (except in children and youth-oriented communities). Pseudonyms will no longer be permitted.

By submitting a comment, you accept that CBC has the right to reproduce and publish that comment in whole or in part, in any manner CBC chooses. Please note that CBC does not endorse the opinions expressed in comments. Comments on this story are moderated according to our Submission Guidelines. Comments are welcome while open. We reserve the right to close comments at any time.