Life is ‘utterly changed’ for mature students returning to school

Life is ‘utterly changed’ for mature students returning to school
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Hasad Zahid is a mature student who also recently immigrated to Canada.
Photo and story by Theresa Spohn Courier Contributor
Hasad Zahid, 48, immigrated to Canada from Bangladesh nearly a year and a half ago. In his home country, he completed an English literature degree at university, wrote for local papers, and worked for the country’s environmental department. He married, had a son and became a landlord. Now he is starting all over again and it has not been easy.
“I am a person just jumping from one branch to another branch…I am thinking about the college, I am doing the assignments. But I am also thinking about the household work and money,” he said.
One of the barriers to returning to full-time education is funding and Zahid said he found out early on that money disappears quickly.
“I first came to Canada and decided to settle in Toronto,” he said. “I had some money, but it was not unlimited because a big amount in Bangladesh converts to a small amount in Canadian dollars.”
Zahid finds he is still adjusting to his new life in Canada.
“There are a lot of changes. In fact, life has utterly changed. Back at home, I was idle during the weekend. We had two domestic help, one for washing clothes and another for cleaning house. Dinner was prepared by the help,” he said.
Now the entire family is studying with the help of student loans. While Zahid is studying journalism, his wife is in the early childhood education program at Centennial’s Progress campus and his son is a grade eleven student at East York Collegiate.
Tanja Kraft of Centennial College’s Student Success Centre, notes that there are several services available to assist mature students. Her department helps students choose what program would best suit their needs.
Students can also access course information online as Zahid did or talk to the program coordinator directly. In addition, there is financial assistance, international student services and career counseling just to name a few.
Zahid is keen to get on with his career and said that by choosing Centennial he has made the right choice.
“I deem it to be a great opportunity for me to get more education and in a wonderful country like Canada,” he said.

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