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Cuban refugee finds new life in St. John's

Ref. No. 141

DATE:     May 29, 2002
SUBJECT:     Cuban refugee finds new life in St. John's

Convocation 2002 at Memorial

When Ary Pevida's family defected from Cuba eight years ago, the young man was just five months away from completing a medical degree. This month he is proud to graduate with a bachelor of nursing degree and is looking forward to his new job at the General Hospital.

With his father, mother, brother and sister, Mr. Pevida arrived in St. John's in November 1994. They faced the challenge of learning English and building new lives. "I couldn't speak any English, it was very difficult at the beginning. I spent the first year at the Association for New Canadians enrolled in English as a second language."

After mastering the basics of English, Mr. Pevida found a job as caregiver to an elderly couple, Clarence and Caroline Knight. The year he worked with them before their death had a lasting impact. "I learned to really speak English and to communicate well. And I became good friends with their children - I've been living at the home of Mareli (Knight) Wells and her husband while I attended the Centre for Nursing Studies."

Mr. Pevida is pleased that the centre acknowledged his studies in medicine, giving him credit for the courses he had done in Cuba. "Perhaps in the future I will go to medical school, but I would like to work as a nurse first. I like working with people."

The new nursing graduate now considers St. John's his home. His parents still live in the city, although his brother and sister have moved elsewhere in Canada. He said he has made good friends in St. John's and doesn't want to live anywhere else.

Memorial University of Newfoundland is the largest university in Atlantic Canada, with more than 16,000 undergraduate and graduate students. Outstanding research in a variety of disciplines and extraordinary teaching in more than 250 academic programs, plus a strong tradition of service to the community, are the university's hallmarks. Memorial's diverse offerings are available at in four distinctive campus locations - in Newfoundland and in England - on the Web and in field courses around the world, providing a rich learning experience for students from this province and, increasingly, elsewhere.

In addition to providing personal and intellectual growth, a Memorial University education prepares students for fulfilling careers. According to a recent survey conducted by the provincial government, one year after Convocation over 80 per cent of Memorial graduates had found full-time employment related to their field of study.

For more information about Memorial University, visit the Web site at www.mun.ca, email info@mun.ca or phone 709 737-8663. Please note photos are available at http://www.mun.ca/univrel/photos.html.


For further information, please contact Deborah Inkpen, acting manager, News Service, Memorial University, 737-8665, cell # 687-9243, e-mail: inkpend@mun.ca.


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