There may be no place like home for the holidays, but not every member of the Brock community is able to make the trip.
When the University takes its annual holiday break, hundreds of international students remain in Canada thousands of miles away from their loved ones. Due to the increased cost of travel, many students cannot afford to make the journey home.
In an effort to make their holiday experience a memorable one, Brock International Services offers the Home for the Holidays program, with the goal of leaving no student behind to spend the festive season alone.
It’s a heartwarming initiative that fourth-year Business Administration student Shanen D’Souza can appreciate.
D’Souza, from India, remembers the feeling of being alone for her first winter break in Canada.
“It’s difficult not being around family during the holiday season,” she said. But her time at Brock has taught her that family is more than blood relation.
“Family is anyone who truly cares about you and wants to make you feel welcome,” she said, adding that can include host families who participate in the Homes for the Holidays program.
Brock International Services feels a “sense of responsibility” to ensure all students have an enjoyable winter break, said Director Sandra Gruosso.
“Students have come to Brock from thousands of miles away, and entrusted us with their experience,” she said. “As Canadians, and members of the Brock community, we should all open our hearts and homes during the holiday season.”
The Home for the Holidays program brings faculty, staff and students together by connecting a host and an international student for a traditional family event.
Hosts can offer a variety of options such as welcoming students to a special dinner with family and friends, tobogganing, ice skating or watching a classic Christmas movie together.
“There’s a lot of flexibility,” said Gruosso, “which will make it easier for everyone to participate.”
Faculty and staff interested in hosting an international student during the holiday break, taking place Dec. 21 to Jan. 6, are invited to attend an information session on Wednesday, Nov. 28 from noon to 1 p.m. in Plaza 410.
Registration is not required. Attending the information session is not a prerequisite to participate in the program.
For more information or to register as a host, please visit the program’s website.