Niagara community welcomes Brock’s incoming international students

Brock University’s newest cohort of international students got a warm, virtual welcome from a dozen prominent Niagara community members to kickstart not just their academic year, but experience living in the region.

The video, which was part of a weeklong introduction hosted by Brock International Services from Aug. 31 to Sept. 4 to ensure new students felt prepared and excited for the start of their Brock experience, included:

  • David Adames, CEO, Niagara Parks
  • Vance Badawey, Member of Parliament, Niagara Centre
  • Chris Bittle, Member of Parliament, St. Catharines
  • Jim Bradley, Regional Chair, Niagara Region
  • J. Cook, Forward, Niagara Ice Dogs
  • Jim Diodati, Mayor, Niagara Falls
  • Gervan Fearon, President, Brock University
  • Jeff McCormick, Fire Chief, St. Catharines
  • Graham Morrison, General Manager, St. Catharines Transit Commission
  • Walter Sendzik, Mayor of St. Catharines
  • Jennie Stevens, Member of Parliament, St. Catharines
  • Tyrone Watson, Forward, Niagara River Lions

Ehima Osazuwa, International Student Engagement Co-ordinator for Brock International Services, started planning for the week in May.

“I knew that since everything was going to be online, we had to start the planning much earlier,” said Osazuwa, adding that it all came together with the support of his colleagues “who were crucial in making this week possible.”

The events started with international student orientation Monday, Aug. 31 at 9 a.m. with additional times available every day throughout the week.

During the orientation session, students learned about Brock’s online learning platform, the University Health Insurance Plan (UHIP), how to get more involved and the academic culture in Canada. It was also a great opportunity for students to ask questions about starting their Brock experience.

Later that day, students participated in two virtual trivia events, with questions themed around Brock or Canadian facts.

Winners included Ines Bolarinho, first-year Child and Youth Studies student from Bermuda, Michelle Kudla, a second-year Media and Communications Studies student from Nigeria, Ahmed Mohamed, a first-year Computer Science co-op student from Egypt and Guneesha Khurana, a first-year Accounting co-op student from India.

“We wanted to have events in which students could still interact and engage with each other,” said Osazuwa. “With the majority of international students staying in their home country for the Fall semester, it was important to find ways to bring them together with social activities.”

On Wednesday, Sept. 2, students tuned in to Off the Clock. Osazuwa hosts the bi-weekly live show, which airs on the Brock International Instagram account and features candid conversations about student life, interactive games and local musical talent.

The show, which premiered in May, has become a regular feature with Brock International as a way of staying connected to the community when classes and operations were moved online in March.

“It’s a fun way to get to know more about the people in the Brock and Niagara community,” said Osazuwa. “My favourite moment on the show was interviewing Tayler Book, co-owner of Beechwood Doughnuts in St. Catharines. It was great to hear her story as a Brock grad and the plans for her business going forward.”

Students finished off their first week with Brock by settling in for a Netflix viewing party on Friday, Sept. 4 at 5 p.m. where they watched The Gentlemen.

“As a former International student, I recognize the importance of orientation week and that a good one helps you to succeed at university,” said Osazuwa. “This was my seventh time hosting and organizing an orientation for Brock International, and every one of those has been a learning experience for the future.”

International students will continue to build on their connections from Welcome Week through the newly developed Global Peers program. The worldwide virtual community joins upper year Brock students with new Badgers through connections such as shared hometowns or common interests. Students who have not registered are encouraged to sign-up on Brock International’s website.

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