“We are all individual and unique but what does come up a lot [in my research on the experience of women of colour studying for their PhD] is this frustration and this tension between how we ‘be’ and how we are expected ‘to be’ so that’s one of the things that comes up. There’s also this horrifying loneliness that has come up.”

Nehal El-Hadi immigrated to Canada with her family to Canada in 1998 to the Thorncliff Park area and then moved to Saskatchewan. She returned to Toronto to do a Masters at the St. George Campus of UofT Department of Geography in 2003 and subsequently began her PhD in 2009. She has been affiliated with UTSC as a teaching assistant in the Department of Human Geography, City Studies program. In addition to talking about her experiences as a woman of colour at the graduate level, Nehal shares the sense of inspiration and familiarity of experience she feels with the diverse community of UTSC students.

 

I was a lot more timid

 

I am Canadian of Sudanese origin, culturally Arab and visibly black

 

Representation is crucial

Interview Participant: Nehal El-Hadi

Interviewer: Maria Opoka

Location: UTSC campus

Date of Interview: June 9, 2015

To hear the full audio of the oral history interviews visit: Scarborough Oral History Project