Alumna using own Brock experience to support international students

Shuo Wang’s (MEd ’21) life has come full circle.

As a Brock international student, she experienced the journey of moving to a new country — and all the ups and downs that come along with it.

Now, the alumna is using that experience to help other international students through her career with the Niagara Folk Arts Multicultural Centre, an organization that provides newcomer and immigrant settlement programs and services.

Wang will help international students access valuable resources available to them in the local community.

Wang, who moved to Canada on July 1, 2019, from Qinhuangdao, a coastal city in northern China, knows how beneficial a proper support system can be.

Like many international students, she began to experience some anxiety while away from her family pursuing her education.

Fortunately, the early support Wang received from Brock University prepared her to handle any language barriers or culture shock she experienced as she started her graduate program.

“The staff of the Master of Education (MEd) program at Brock could not have been more approachable and supportive,” she said.

Through her communication with staff, Wang was given information about the program, the University and life in Canada. She also felt reassured that she would have the support she needed from Brock throughout her studies.

“That was essential for an international student like me back then, since the staff were the first impression I had of Brock as a community,” she said.

It was that sense of community that Wang loved most about her Brock experience.

“At Brock, being in a program is about more than attending lectures and completing assignments,” she said. “My program allowed me to develop important relationships with my colleagues, staff and professors.”

Wang was able to tap into her personal experience while working as a Research Assistant for Associate Professor Hijin Park in Brock’s Department of Sociology.

“We worked together on several projects, from international students and discrimination in Canada to COVID-19’s differential impact on racialized students,” said Wang, who felt privileged to be exposed to other international students’ experiences during her research.

“Shuo’s contribution was particularly important because she interviewed some of the participants in Mandarin,” said Park. “She was also a thoughtful and skilled interviewer who was open to learning from others as well as comfortable sharing her own thoughts and experiences.”

Wang’s interaction with Park changed her way of thinking. Through the research, she was able to do more than just follow instructions, instead developing her own critical judgments.

“My experience in the MEd program provided me the information to better understand international students here, and, in turn, how to better serve their needs,” Wang said. “What I love most, also the particularly rewarding part, is that I was given the chance to go back to Brock and provide supports to our future international students, like what I received when I was a student there.”

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