Gatineau newsprint mill intern Lina Sbai’s first blogpost
Hello dear readers and fellow bloggers,
My name is Lina and I’m a fourth-year mechanical engineering student at the University of Ottawa. I feel very grateful for being selected to share my thoughts and experiences on this platform. It is truly a great opportunity to connect with people and to encourage and inspire others to share their own adventures.
Quick confession before getting started! I spent a couple of hours reading other posts to get a clear idea of what I am expected to write. However, as much as I loved them, I felt that my behavior was defeating the purpose of writing authentically. Each blog is supposed to enrich the reader with something new and different, which should be a reflection of the difference of the writer. I wish to write to you about what I feel I should be writing.
On this first entry, I would like to tell you more about myself, my culture and my origins, since I believe it will set a context for the rest of the upcoming posts, and it will give you a better idea of who is behind the keyboard.
This my fourth year here in Canada as an international student, and I was born and raised in Morocco. My country is located in the northwest of the African continent. It is hard to describe a country in a few words while giving it its justice, but if I had to, I would say that Morocco is known for its mild weather, beautiful nature, diverse culture and incredible food. It is identified as a Muslim country. The two official languages in Morocco are Arabic and Tamazight, and the second language is French. Here is the location of Morocco on the world map to save you a trip to Wikipedia. 😉
I used to live on a farm in the countryside of the capital city Rabat with my parents and two siblings. The fresh air, healthy food and amazing nature of the countryside made me the avid nature lover that I am today. It is always hard for my family and I to drive to the city for work or school and experience the abruptness of being surrounded by noise, lights, pollution and stress. My home was always a great escape from the city’s intensity. Here are some pictures of the farm where I grew up:
Interestingly enough, the name Lina means in Arabic “a small palm tree”. As for why my parents chose to give me this name, it is hard to be conclusive. Sometimes they claim that they liked the ring of it, other times they say that it was a unique name back at the time and it was mentioned in our holy book, which was important to them. But no matter what the reason was, I appreciate the origins of my name quite a lot! I love reading, writing and listening to audiobooks in my free time.
I was able to get an internship opportunity last year at Rio Tinto in the city of Sorel Tracy in Quebec and this year at Resolute Forest Products in Gatineau. They both gave me very valuable insight into the career world and the career choice that I would like to pick in the future. I learned so much and was able to apply the theory that I studied at university. For the first time, my exaggeratedly overpriced education seemed to be important because it started opening up doors of incredible opportunities for me! I always loved mechanical engineering in theory, but working in the industrial world with huge machinery and examining their parts and mechanism is even more magical and fascinating. I often stand in awe when I understand how the equipment works. The human genius reflected in our inventions now and in the past to facilitate our lives and improve our health is truly fascinating. I really want to be a part of it!
I want to give you an outline of the topics that I will tackle on the upcoming posts, and I am always open to adding more if you wish to read and get to know more about a specific topic that interests you.
- The importance of internship opportunities
- Highlights on some projects that I worked on with Resolute
- Where do faith and spirituality stand in the workplace?
- Important assets to have as an international student or immigrant in a foreign country
As you can see, I feel it is important to share my experience as a visible minority and an international student because they are both integral parts of who I am, and reflect my daily life. This is an opportunity for me to encourage and help other fellow international students by sharing my own perspectives.
I am very excited to be writing to you in the upcoming weeks! There is so much I want to share with you and tell you about. Thank you for taking the time to read my post!