What is WUSC?
The World University Services Canada (WUSC) is a Canadian non-profit organization whose vision is to create a better world for all young people. It is a more inclusive, equitable, and sustainable world in which all young people, especially women and refugees, are empowered to secure a good quality of life for themselves, their families, and their communities.
Since the 1920s, WUSC works in more than 15 countries with a diverse network of students, volunteers, institutions, governments, and businesses to improve education, economic, and empowerment opportunities for young people.
The Student Refugee Program
The WUSC Student Refugee Program (SRP) is a unique program that combines resettlement with opportunities for higher education. Since 1978, WUSC has worked with UNHCR, IRCC and IOM to resettle 2,200 young people who are refugees and support them in pursuing higher education in Canada through institutions’ Local Committees. These students originate in more than 39 war-torn countries around the world and arrive in Canada as Permanent Residents.
WUSC receives over 6,000 applications from high achieving refugee youth who would otherwise not have the opportunity to pursue higher education, to place in 150 spots made available by 100 participating Canadian universities and colleges.
More than 90% of WUSC scholars complete their education and go on to become influential members of Canadian society.
WUSC at McGill
At McGill, the SRP is managed and supported by the WUSC McGill Local Committee, a student-run SSMU club and one of many campus groups across the country that provide day-to-day social and academic support for the SRP scholars, as well as raise funds, and awareness for the program and refugee education issues on campus.
WUSC’s Local Committee was formed in 1986 and has sponsored close to 60 scholars as of 2021. The SRP provides a year of full financial sponsorship, integration assistance, and a community of support. This is funded through a $4 levy collected from all McGill students every semester based on student referendum, which is administered by the Scholarships & Student Aid Office. At present, the fund can support 5 new refugee students each year.
McGill provides bursaries to cover tuition and fees for WUSC SPR Scholars’ subsequent years of study in their first McGill degree.
Students Helping Students - support McGill’s WUSC SRP!
Every 5 years, in hopes of continuing this program and provide even more refugees with the opportunity to study at McGill, the WUSC McGill Local Committee hosts referendums for McGill undergraduate and post-graduate students at McGill’s Downtown and Macdonald Campuses. In March 2021, we had a successful SSMU referendum which allowed us to raise our levy from $2 to $4 and therefore increase the number of students we sponsor from 3 to 5. We are thankful to McGill students for saying Yes in joining our efforts to fight for refugee education.
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Other projects run by WUSC McGill
Along with supporting SRP Scholars as they navigate McGill, Montreal, and Canada, and raising awareness about refugee issues on campus, WUSC McGill is responsible for several student-led initiatives.
- The WUSC library is a wonderful resource available to all students who wish to loan a textbook for the duration of their course. This project was designed to mitigate the increasing prices of textbooks.
- The WUSC Winter Coat project is another initiative available for all students on campus. We keep a regular stock of winter coats to help students during their first winter in Canada. We also accept donations of winter coats from students who no longer need theirs. Although priority is given to the SRP scholars, any student at McGill is welcome to contact us regarding loaning books or coats.
- The McGill Journal of Refugee and Migration studies (MJRMS) is the most recent of WUSC’s projects. The journal’s main objective is to support the WUSC McGill local committee in its goal of spreading awareness about refugee issues and rights. To this end, the Journal publishes works pertaining to refugee and migration issues, written by undergraduate and graduate students from McGill, in both English and French.
Meet a few WUSC McGill Scholars
A message from Jeanne- WUSC McGill Scholar 2016
In 2016, I was one of the 25 students chosen to join the SRP from Dzaleka refugee camp in Malawi out of 200+ applicants. This opportunity gave my life an entirely different trajectory and a chance to go to university. I am eternally grateful to WUSC and to all McGill students whose contributions resulted in my being here. I believe it's everyone's responsibility to advocate for refugee education as many of my friends were left behind.
-Jeanne-Armelle, U3 Bsc
Vincent Yagayandi is a third-year law student pursuing a Juris Doctor and Bachelor of Civil Law at McGill University’s Faculty of Law. He came to Canada in 2015 through the WUSC McGill program. Prior to law school, he completed a Bachelor of Social Work at McGill.
Gattuoch Kuon is a 3rd-year Computer Science & Psychology student at McGill University. He is originally from South Sudan. He came to Canada in 2018 through the WUSC-McGill SRP program.
Amena Othman is a U0 student in the Faculty of Arts. She is a Syrian WUSC scholar who was resettled from Lebanon to come study at McGill University in 2020 thanks to the Student Refugee Program.
Manyang Lual Jok
Read about his incredible journey.