A student’s story: How donors helped me get home

Posted on Friday, April 17, 2020

plane wing with red heart painted on it ,blue sky and clouds from passengers perspective

The COVID-19 pandemic has turned our lives upside down. In my case, I was nearly stranded far from home and without support.

Grâce Stéphanie

I’m a fourth-year student at the Telfer School of Management studying international management and entrepreneurship. I had been participating in my student exchange session in Thailand since the start of winter term in January 2020; the exchange program is a requirement to complete my degree.

On March 14, the University emailed students advising us to get back to Canada because travel was being restricted. Since travel advice related to COVID-19 was changing so fast, my parents did their best and purchased an airplane ticket for me for the next day—the same day the Prime Minister of Canada announced that the borders were closing. Unfortunately, they didn't let me check in at the airport and I was left with no money, no refund and no shelter.

The uOttawa Student Emergency Fund helped me buy another airplane ticket as soon as the borders were open for international students to travel back to Canada. I know for a fact that I would still be stranded in Thailand right now if the university had not assisted me because my parents couldn’t afford to buy another ticket.

I’m back in Canada and adapting as I can. I found a place to stay for my quarantine, but even now, it is difficult financially because I can’t work. There are students falling through the cracks because of the current situation.

Donors who choose to help students like me are helping entire families get through this. The University is creating financial security around us during this time of global uncertainty, and I’m very grateful for that.

To the donors who helped me, I want to say thank you from the bottom of my heart. You gave me the chance to come back to Canada instead of living through this crisis in Asia completely alone and unsupported. Thanks to you, I am home, I feel safe and there is no price for this feeling.

There are many students facing circumstances well beyond their means and beyond their control.

You can make a direct impact and help a University of Ottawa student who needs your help right now. Please make your gift to the COVID-19 Student Emergency Fund today.

Thank you for your support.


Grâce Stéphanie

Students who are facing significant financial difficulties due to the pandemic are encouraged to contact loansandawards@uottawa.ca to make a request for funding.


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