Brock University welcomed 130 international students during the Orientation Day on January 5, 2020. International students from over 100 countries now make up to 14 per cent of the total population of Brock, a two per cent increase over the past two years. The orientation served as the first official welcome for the students. To follow it up, the International Centre has a fully planned International Week coming up.
Various faculty and Brock International representatives were present to greet the largest number of international students Brock has ever received for a January term. These events help international students acclimate to Brock and provide a sense of community by introducing incoming students to International Student Ambassadors.
Brock International Ambassadors are students nominated from the undergraduate international student pool annually by the vice-provost office to receive a scholarship and represent Brock’s international community. International Student Ambassadors (ISAs) help their fellow incoming international students’ adjust to university life in Canada.
Ammaar Ruxshan, an ISA from Sri Lanka, mentioned that he helped over 50 students with their course registrations over the weekend. Besides the tasks delegated among the ISAs, Brock International Services have added social events and other fun activities to the list of information sessions that will help the international students with their changeover to a brand new academic setup.
“Ambassadors help international students with their transition into the university life, it’s really important that we are always mindful of the fact that they [international students] have spent their whole lives in a different academic culture and they might not be aware of the simple logistical operations that a domestic student may know by default,” said Ruxshan.
The eight International Student Ambassadors including Ammaar took the newcomers around St. Catharines for a shopping trip for some basic essentials and to show them where the closest spots for groceries were around Brock.
International Services bridge the gap between the international students and all academic and co-curricular activities Brock has to offer. Most incoming international students understand through their research that, regardless of their faculty at Brock, choosing the Niagara Region as a study destination can be very rewarding.
“I’ve had an amazing time here at Brock. I have learned so much about different cultures and I have a massive respect for [Brock] to continuously improving the campus environment to make student feel home away from home,” said Ruxhan. “I think one of the most challenging issues is to amalgamate the two notions of welcoming international students and campus inclusion where currently we see that on a very minute scale.”
From co-op opportunities to immigration queries, International Student Ambassadors are busy helping incoming international students while working on the bigger picture of making Brock a home away from home as well.
“I want everyone to enjoy as much as I did when I came here [to Brock] last January. There are so many opportunities to get involved and make true friendships on campus and that’s why I came to attend this event,” said Aqdus Sheryar, a second year international student attending the orientation.