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Making SAIT home: From NYC to Calgary for Business Administration

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"Whether it's my classmates or my instructors, everyone here is just so friendly and open-minded, always willing to offer a hand."

SAIT has welcomed international students from 140+ countries around the world to study everything from electrical engineering technology to business administration.

To celebrate International Education Week, Nov. 16 - 20, five international students share what brought them to SAIT, their favourite thing about Calgary and their top tips for international students planning to study #hereatSAIT.

Sabiha, United States, Business Administration – Accounting

What brought you to SAIT?

Having grown up in America and after staying in India for a few years, I had the desire to surround myself in a new, different environment and experience a new feeling. I had just completed high school when I decided to set out and make the most of my college life in Calgary, Canada. It was as simple as that. There wasn’t much pondering involved — just a finger on the globe. When I saw the pictures of SAIT online for the first time, Heritage Hall gave me a castle-like vibe and the downtown view left me with goosebumps. I’ve always been keen on skyscrapers and city views and I fell in love. I also found Calgary to be a relatable city because of the snow and the insane winters I had experienced while living in New York.

How are you making the most of your post-secondary experience?

I've been very open with my academic advisors and instructors, not hesitating to ask questions when in doubt. I believe this is one of the skills to learning smart — ask questions.

Hearing about SAIT alumni members' achievements has also encouraged me to step out of my comfort zone. How, you might ask? Baby steps. I’ve joined the Student Content Team, and in my academics, I'm pursuing a subject I never thought I would be, accounting. My personality type is not one of a risk-taker, but I've started to challenge my capabilities and dream big. These changes emerged from the moment I landed in Calgary, so I’m quite proud of myself for taking those baby steps and putting myself out there.

  What are your top three tips for international students planning to study at SAIT?

  • Maintain a balance between academics and hobbies/extra-curricular activities (even if it's just watching Netflix). Don't pressure yourself so much between tests and assignments no matter how challenging the situation is. This is a one-time experience, live it to the best! A little Friends or Gossip Girl won't hurt.
  • Any doubt, any concern, whether it's about your career planning, course schedule, staying in Calgary, socializing — reach out! If you keep it to yourself, you'll just be overthinking. The resources are available and ready to help if you need it.
  • Take advantage of the opportunities provided by SAIT, whether it's clubs, cultural activities, internships, field trips or support services like tutoring.

What’s your favourite thing about studying at SAIT?

My favourite thing about SAIT would be the positivity it radiates. Whether it's my classmates or my instructors — everyone here is just so friendly and open-minded, always willing to offer a hand. It's not easy to create your place in a new environment but it can be made easier by those you surround yourself with. Personally, I take some time to open up and make friends but I believe a simple greeting or a humble gesture is good enough to lighten up your face.  

What’s your favourite thing about Calgary?

I landed the day after Christmas in 2019 with the first sight being beautifully decorated Christmas trees and glistening lights on Santa’s sleigh. The peace and warmth of the city soon found a soft corner in my heart beside New York’s spirit and lively personality.

Until moving here, I had been very attached to my family and pampered a lot, especially by my dad. Now that I’m on my own, I reflect on the times when my mom had told me to learn how to cook or learn how to drive — it was for my own good. I could have easily escaped strolling around in the blistering winds or the long waits for the bus. But I can sense that I’m growing up and am up for the thrill and hurdles that college has to offer. If your story is similar to mine, I wish you good luck!

Let’s get global!

Connect with people and cultures from around the world and add a global perspective to your student experience during International Education Week.

  • Golnaz, Iran “I would highly recommend that international students participate in events on campus or online to gain new experiences, meet new people and make friends.”
  • Kenmay, Philippines “Top tips for international students: Food, seasonal clothes and slang.”
  • Ravi, India “SAIT has a very good reputation amongst employers, so if you can show your capabilities in the classroom, you will do well when it’s time to look for work.”
  • Richie, Trinidad and Tobago “I chose SAIT because the programs are tailored to meet the needs of industry, the facilities are world-class and SAIT as an institution is held in high regard throughout Canada."

Make the most of your transition to Canada and SAIT

Connect with experts and access resources through the International Centre.

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