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UBC Reports | Vol. 50 | No. 5 | May 6, 2004

Nursing Grad Survived Bosnia’s Civil War

Determined to make life meaningful

By Hilary Thomson

After spending three years as a refugee during Bosnia’s civil war, Amra Dizdarevic knows the value of a caring community.

Her experiences as a refugee, a survivor and an immigrant have shaped the 25-year-old’s life choices, including her decision to enter the School of Nursing in UBC’s Faculty of Applied Science.

“My experience of war left me with a determination to make my life meaningful and to help others,” says Dizdarevic, who receives a Bachelor of Science in Nursing this month.

Dizdarevic and her family immigrated to Canada in 1995 when she was 17. She earned a BSc at UBC in 2001, majoring in cell biology and genetics. An outstanding student, she is a member of the Golden Key International Honour Society that recognizes academic excellence.

Discovering that she was “not a lab person,” she switched to nursing in 2002, taking advantage of the school’s multiple entry program to enter at the third-year level. There she earned a perfect grade point average with special interest in infant and maternal health and a focus on community nursing.
“Back home, health-care services were inadequate because of the war so people had to keep themselves healthy,” she says. “Seeing how that worked triggered my interest in health promotion and disease prevention.”

In addition, she has worked as a volunteer at UBC Hospital’s palliative care unit and has twice earned the Detwiller Award which honours outstanding student volunteers at the hospital.
An active member of the Bosnian Cultural Association of B.C., where she has performed as a soloist and choir member, Dizdarevic is also committed to helping other new Canadians. She has volunteered since 1999 as a host for newcomers at the Immigrant Services Society of B.C.

Planning to work in Vancouver after graduation, Dizdarevic says she appreciates the city’s multicultural environment.

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Last reviewed 22-Sep-2006

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