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Assiniboine International helps student deal with medical emergency

Assiniboine International helps student deal with medical emergency

Written On: 10 September, 2018
Category: International Student Spotlight Technology Victoria Avenue East Campus
Related programs:  Communications Engineering Technology

Fadi Al Sai had first-hand experience of the strong support from Assiniboine faculty and staff for international students like him.

Fadi Al Sai knew something was wrong. His appendix had just burst. He needed emergency surgery.

What he didn’t know was that his health insurance card had expired, even though the card did not have an expiry date on it. Without insurance, he would have to pay a bill of up to $10,000.

“When I called the health card insurance company, they told me I have to pay. ‘You can’t use this card anymore,’ they said,” Al Sai recalled.

“Then I went to the Assiniboine International office. They helped me with what I had to do. They sent all the documents to me and I sent them to the insurance company,” he said.

As a result, Al Sai did not need to pay the $10,000. 

Al Sai said his case is just one example of the strong support from Assiniboine faculty and staff for students like him.

“They really help students if you have any problems, especially international students. The Assiniboine International office here, they are patient with international students. They help from the heart. They are really kind.”

Since Al Sai’s incident, the Manitoba government has changed its policy of including students in the government health insurance plan. Students must now purchase health insurance for the duration of their program.

Originally from Lebanon, Al Sai graduated with a Bachelor of Science in computer and communications engineering from his home country.

He chose Assiniboine Community College because it offered an opportunity to “learn by doing,” the college’s motto. He received credit at the college for some of the courses he took in Lebanon.

“When I was taking telecommunications in Lebanon, most of my courses were theoretical, not practical. But here, it’s totally different, much more practical,” he said. 

In one of his courses, he worked with a group of students to get a robot to move both arms at once, with one controller, a technical challenge they overcame.

For another project, Al Sai conceived of a “Vision Support System” that would provide orientation for blind or visually-impaired people or for people with sight in low-light or emergency situations. It’s still in the idea stage.

“They tell you what you are going to do in the future. They tell you exactly which tools you will use for the job. That’s really useful. After I finish my education here, I can know exactly what I have to do,” he said.

“Everything here is practical, so it will be easier to find a job after you finish your education.”

Meeting other international students at the college is a bonus, he said. 

“I’ve made friends with people from Colombia, Brazil, India and China. We would not have met under different circumstances.”

One day, they all cooked meals that are traditional in their home countries and shared them with each other.

Al Sai would like to stay in Canada and become an engineer.

“Come to Assiniboine if you want to find a job in the future,” he said.