Providing a strong foundation for international students to flourish
An inaugural Permanent Residency Ceremony Celebration was held to recognize SAIT’s international alumni family where honourees — like Kajol Bhatia — heard from distinguished guests and received a commemorative keepsake.
Bhatia grew up in Dubai before beginning her journey to SAIT as an international student in 2018. With a desire to be close to family and a brother living in Alberta, the Journalism program at SAIT was a natural fit for Bhatia, who was looking to grow her creative skills.
After graduating with a 4.0 GPA in the Class of 2020, she was determined to give back to the international student community and accepted a position with the International Centre at SAIT. Through her experience, Bhatia was able to guide incoming students waiting for documentation and help with next steps.
“In many ways, studying at SAIT changed my life. I had underestimated the abundance of opportunities and kindness I would find here. It was the genuine interest in my growth that I saw from my instructors, mentors and colleagues that really pushed me to succeed,” she says.
Once again lending her voice to represent the international community, Bhatia spoke at SAIT’s first-ever celebration ceremony for alumni who gained permanent resident status in the last five years.
“Getting my permanent residency has given me a sense of acceptance. After years of feeling like I didn’t fit in anywhere, I’ve built a home for myself in Canada.”
The event commemorated the honourees’ journeys to permanent residency — from overcoming barriers to graduating from SAIT, entering the job market and putting down roots in Canada.
Dr. David Ross, SAIT President and CEO, shared his admiration of this accomplishment with the honourees.
“Achieving permanent residency status represents the culmination of many years of hard work. It’s also a significant acknowledgment of the courage and commitment each of you has demonstrated by moving to a new country, adapting to a new life, and pursuing your studies and your career goals beyond graduation.”
Calgary Mayor Jyoti Gondek and Minister of Advanced Education Demetrios Nicolaides were both in attendance to mark this important milestone.
Mayor Gondek thanked the honourees for choosing Calgary and trusting our city with their education and future.
“You are the reason that Calgary is the third most diverse city in this nation. You are the reason that we can say our economy is stronger when we welcome newcomers. You are the reason I am committed to ensuring that our city is built on principles of inclusion and access and that we embrace people who choose to call Calgary home.”
It is with great pride SAIT recognizes the importance of celebrating these achievements with our graduates. International education is critical to the learning and innovation landscape in Alberta, bringing vibrancy, knowledge and global cultural perspectives to our campuses and communities.
For international grads like Bhatia — now in a marketing role at AMPD Ventures Inc. — SAIT will always hold special significance as a vital steppingstone and supportive community on the path to permanent residency.
“I’m thankful to SAIT Alumni and the International Centre for their continued support on my journey. I was never a good student. Somehow, the collective unit at SAIT turned the tables for me. Now, I lead the marketing department for three companies. I get to travel for work which is basically my childhood dream come true.”
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