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North Island College alum goes from refugee to full scholarship winner

Submitted by NIC
Jack Basha and his family fled war in Syria, but the NIC alumnus is now using his training to pursue a bright future in computer programming. (Photo submitted)

Submitted by NIC

North Island College alumnus Jack Basha is preparing to study computer science and pursue a future in programming, thanks to his head start at NIC.

Basha graduated from NIC’s mobile app certificate program in 2019 and was accepted into the University of Victoria on a full scholarship.

A few years ago, his future was less certain. Basha and his family were among the thousands of Syrians who fled war in their home country to seek refuge in Canada.

Basha had already spent two years studying computer science in Syria, but the situation in the country had become perilous.

“It was getting worse by the day,” Basha recalls.

Basha, his sister and their parents eventually arrived in the Comox Valley, thanks to support from their sponsor family.

Within a few months, both siblings applied to NIC and were accepted into programs; Basha began in the mobile application development certificate through the school of DIGITAL Design + Development, while his sister enrolled in NIC’s bachelor of business administration.

With support from his family and his instructors, Basha was able to thrive in his new studies.

Basha and his classmates delved deep into the fundamentals of web and mobile application development and programming, exploring HTML and CSS, JavaScript, iOS and Android app development, among other skills.

The program gives each graduate a solid foundation to pursue employment in the fields of iOS and Android application development, game development and computer programming, or continue their studies with NIC’s Web + Mobile App Development Diploma or Communications Design Diploma.

The program also gave Basha the opportunity to augment his existing knowledge of computer programming with new fundamental skills, including best practices for typography and graphics.

“Before I came to NIC, I didn’t have a strong grasp of design,” he said. “But the training has pushed me much further and I really have a huge head start in the world of mobile application development now.”

Basha says he is most of all thankful for the support of his classmates and his instructors as he adjusted to a new life in Canada.

“The college staff have been really considerate,” he said. “The instructors always listen and give you a chance to speak and rephrase questions if needed. And the other students are the same. It was a welcoming place to learn.”

NIC offers five DIGITAL Design + Development programs, including a web design and communication design stream that focuses on graphic design and front-end development, plus a web and mobile application development stream that focuses on computer programming for mobile apps and the web. To learn more, visit