Brock University international students had the opportunity to share their experiences studying and living in Canada with Ontario’s Minister of Citizenship and Multiculturalism, Parm Gill, on Friday, Oct. 22.
During his afternoon visit to campus, which also included a tour of the Brock LINC, Gill hosted a roundtable with a group of students to learn about not only their time at the University, but also their integration into Canadian life and society.
The students spoke about how Brock’s services and supports have helped them settle into their home away from home as they pursue their education, while also highlighting challenges they’ve faced along the way.
For Master of Applied Disability Studies student Marwa Mohammed Iqbal, the meeting was an opportunity to talk about housing issues, the challenges experienced by international professionals regarding unrecognized credentials and barriers to gaining experience in the Canadian job market.
A speech language pathologist from India, Mohammed Iqbal, who began her studies at Brock in September, shared her experiences with the Minister in hopes of creating change for other international students and professionals down the road.
“I believe meetings like these will definitely enhance the quality of life of international students in Ontario,” she said, calling it “beneficial” to be able to speak directly with government officials about current processes in place.
“It was a pleasure to tour the Brock LINC and learn about its unique programs promoting innovation and entrepreneurship. I also enjoyed speaking with international students and hearing about the opportunities and experiences they have had at Brock University and in Ontario,” Gill said. “Programs like these play an important role in strengthening our academic and cultural communities and contributing to the success of our province.”
Camille Rutherford, Brock’s Vice-Provost, Strategic Partnerships and International, said it was clear that the roundtable experience “had a profound impact on the participating international students as well the Minister.”
“By sharing how they had benefited from enrolling at Brock while also sharing many of the challenges international students have to confront, they had the unique opportunity to affect future provincial policies,” she said.
“During the exchange, when Minister Gill highlighted the province’s new policies to support internationally trained professionals, it became clear that his visit and recently announced policies could be of great benefit to international students and their family members who sought to join them to benefit for the educational and employment opportunities Ontario has to offer.”
In addition to Rutherford, the roundtable discussion also included Ken Chan, Brock University’s Vice-President, Administration, and Tim Kenyon, Brock’s Vice-President, Research.