It was just four weeks ago that Dr. Shady Atalla arrived in town with his wife Rita. Dr. Atalla was recruited through the provincial Medical Licensure Program for International Medical Graduates.
He was born and raised in Egypt and received his medical education at Ain Shams University in Cairo, .
When asked what it has been like, re-locating from Egypt to a small prairie town, Dr. Atalla said he likes both Canada and Virden. “It is a great opportunity.”
The couple will endure a distinct change of weather as warm fall days turn chilly, but he’s undaunted by the prospect.
“It’s like a place I wanted to come to, not specifically Virden, but the nature of this place.” He noted, “It’s not a very small town, it’s a moderate town that has everything we need…at the same time, we are not isolated. Brandon is just 45 minutes away.”
He finds another reason to love the community. “I love small communities. Wake up, get to work in five minutes… when that happens, I’m so happy.” He contrasts his speedy morning routine with that of his wife, who likes to linger over coffee.
“We just got married in July, went to the honeymoon and came back and moved to Virden. We are just starting here. It’s a good place for me to start a family.”
Dr. Atalla can relate to town living for a very good reason. He was raised in a large town/small city in northern Egypt, where his mother was well known.
“The town I grew up in, my mum was the family doctor in the town, so we love that. Everyone knows my mum.”
Shady Atalla is a people person and he’s happy to meet Virden people. He realizes he will soon be recognized when he is in the public.
“When I go to play soccer, or I go to the grocery store, everyone knows me so. I am used to this.”
Rita is also at home in Canada and her fluency in English has been a help.
“My wife moved to Canada when she was eight or nine, 20 years ago. Now, English is her first language. She speaks Arabic, but she speaks English more. She does help me a lot.”
Shady loves sports and says, “I don’t play hockey but I love watching hockey. I do play soccer really well.”
And while Rita likes horses, for Shady, since falling from a camel as a kid, he’s leery of riding tall animals. However, on their honeymoon in Thailand, an elephant ride was a must.
Nature and sightseeing are also an interest for the couple.
Dr. Atalla has found the town and his medical colleagues very accommodating.
“People around are so nice. Everyone is welcoming.”
The couple has settled in. Dr. Shady Atalla says, “We’re here to help everyone.”