The Loran Award is one of the biggest and most prestigious awards in Canada. This year, thousands applied but only a small number of outstanding Canadian students were selected as a 2021 Loran Scholar. Each one receives up to $100,000 to explore and develop their talents as they pursue their undergraduate studies.
We talked to Hubaib Amin, a 2021 Loran Scholar from Eastdale Collegiate and Vocational Institute in Oshawa, ON about learning English, networking with other Loran Scholars, and giving yourself adequate time to apply.
1. Tell us about yourself.
I was born in a small city in Afghanistan and when I was 15, I moved to Canada without being able to speak English. I always wanted to learn new skills and things such as learning new languages and that is why I can speak six languages. From a very young age, I always wanted to help people and bring positive changes to my community so I started volunteering my time and helping people who were in need.
I am a grade 12 high school student at Eastdale CVI. My friends and family members would describe me as a very hardworking, eager to learn, very friendly and confident person. Helping my peers and classmates to get good marks by tutoring them free of charge, coaching Wushu to kids between the ages of 4-14 for free so they can reach their full potential and stand up against bullying, working with different organizations to welcome newcomers to Canada so they do not experience any of the problems that I faced when I moved to Canada, and providing an inclusive environment for everyone in society are some of the examples of how I am making a change. Also, I am mentoring a newcomer student: I am helping him to adjust to this new environment, introducing him to our society, and helping him to grow a positive network.
In addition, I am the founder and president of Homework Club as well as MSA&A (Muslim Student Association and Allies). I am a two-time student senator and Co-chair of the Student Voice working group on Durham District School Board. I am also Chair of the Terms of Reference sub-committee in the Community, Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Committee of Oshawa. I work in Durham First Aid where we teach people how to react to emergency situations until first responders arrive.
2. What was your reaction when you found out that you were named a 2021 Loran Scholar?
Even though I was waiting for a call, when I got it and heard the news, I was shocked because becoming a Loran Scholar was like a dream coming true. It was one of the best moments in my life – it is an unexplainable experience. After I finished talking on the phone, I went to my mom to tell her that I became a Loran Scholar and everyone in my family was very happy and excited.
3. What is the most meaningful leadership experience you’ve had so far?
My most meaningful leadership experience is standing up against bullying. When I moved to Canada, I was not able to speak English very well as everything was new to me so it took me a while to adjust myself to society. I was not welcomed the way I expected to be: I felt like an outsider at my school because I did not know who to talk to and where to go to resolve my problems. This is why I stood up against bullying so I could stop it in my school and those who are being bullied know who to talk to when they experience bullying. In addition, I started to coach kids for free so I can build their confidence and encourage them to stand up for themselves and against bullying. I joined HUDDLE up in my school which is an anti-bullying club; we arranged assemblies, made surveys for Grade 9 and 10 so we can have a better understanding of bullying that is happening in our school.
We arranged assemblies where we invited athletes from different sports teams to talk about what kind of bullying they experienced and how they overcome bullying. This year, I joined the Safe School Committee, Indigenous Community Circle and many other clubs so we can make our school a safer and inclusive place. Throughout my journey, I have helped a lot of students to stand up for themselves and feel included which is why standing up against bullying is one of my most meaningful leadership activities.
4. What motivates you to give back to your community?
Seeing people in need as well as my inner drive to change something that is harming our society motivates me to give back to my community. Providing an equitable and safer community for others is the most important thing for me because everyone deserves to live peacefully and feel like they matter. My family left Afghanistan due to the ongoing war so I know how it feels to feel insecure. I want everyone to feel included and safe, and that is why I am working with several organizations and people to facilitate an equal and safe environment for everyone.
5. What part of the Loran program are you most looking forward to?
I am looking forward to everything that Loran is providing and has planned for us because I know I will be able to learn a lot of new skills, meet a lot of inspiring people, and most importantly, I will be able to help people in need through building these skills and network. I am also looking forward to Loran’s mentorship program because I know I will be challenged to push myself and pass boundaries that once I thought impossible. I am super excited to have access to a nationwide network where everyone is super supportive and inspiring. I look forward to meeting my Loramily.
6. What are you most looking forward to about university? What do you hope to get involved in there?
I am most looking forward to meeting new people and building relationships with them as well as finding problems that students are facing and solving them. I am also looking forward to challenging myself by going outside of my comfort zone and doing my best to create a safe and inclusive environment for everyone so they feel that they matter.
I am hoping to get involved in different clubs such as clubs working for diversity, equity, and inclusion of students, as well as I will try to include student’s voices in various issues so we can have more diversity when making decisions. I want to join sports teams and try to be involved as much as I can because I love what I do in those clubs and it makes me happy when I help others.
7. What advice do you have for other students applying to become a Loran Scholar or to any other scholarship?
First of all, make sure to apply for this award because even filling the application requires you to think about all of the activities that you have done, who benefited from those activities, why you did them and how you can do better in the future. It helps you to learn more about yourself so I highly recommend applying for this award. Also, apply to as many scholarships as you can because as Wayne Gretzky says, “you miss 100% of the shots you don’t take”.
Second, do not leave your application to the last minute because finishing your application early will give you a chance to review it, correct its wording, and then submit so don’t leave completing your application until the end. In addition, everyone who you will meet during your journey will be a great person and interested to learn more about you so just be yourself and share your story.
8. Where do you see yourself in 10 years?
In 10 years, I am hoping to complete my Master’s in political science. Hopefully, I would have opened a house for people experiencing homelessness, where they can learn new skills, will have a place to call home and see the world from a different perspective.
9. What’s one fun fact about yourself? Is there anything else you want to share?
I am a martial artist, I do Muay Thai and Wing Chun!
The Loran Scholars Foundation looks for students who demonstrate integrity, courage, compassion, grit, and personal autonomy. To learn more about the Loran Award and the scholarship application process, visit https://loranscholar.ca/becoming-a-scholar/.