International students welcomed with array of supports

With the Winter Term underway, international students arriving at Brock received a warm welcome during a chilly time of year.

More than 250 international students are planning to begin their studies at the University this term, and Brock International is working to ensure their experience gets off on the right foot. A series of orientation events, meant to support students’ transition to Canada and to Brock, have been held throughout the past week, continuing until Friday, Jan. 13.

The kickoff virtual event on Wednesday, Jan. 4 focused on topics essential to supporting international students, including immigration, health and well-being, living in Niagara, getting involved and academic success.

Additional support was also added this year when Brock International participated as a pilot partner with the iCent Airport Welcome program. From Sunday, Jan. 1 to Sunday, Jan. 8, all arriving international students were welcomed by the iCent team, who provided a welcome package and assistance with transportation, accommodation, lost baggage, free calls home to family and other services.

Rox Chwaluk, Manager of International Student Support Services said the greeting for students at the airport ensured they were able to get their time in Canada started in a straightforward way.

“It is very important that Brock students who are new to the country and the Niagara region have a positive arrival experience,” she said. “For us, this starts the moment they get off the airplane.”

Once students made their way to Niagara, Brock international provided a host of in-person programming Sunday, Jan. 8.

Options included a check-in hub for students living in residence, peer-to-peer support from International Student Ambassadors, campus tours, and shopping trips to purchase essential items.

The day concluded with an International Student Winter Social and a meet and greet with the Brock International team, where students were provided with free hot beverages, complimentary items from a clothing drive, a checklist of things to do in their first week at Brock, and the time to connect with fellow international students.

Among those at the meet and greet was third-year International Student Ambassador, Aishah Sonekan, who remembered her transition to Brock and Canada fondly, noting the significance of the extended support offered by Brock International.

“As an international student, moving to a new country is both scary and exciting for various reasons, which is why being warmly welcomed and receiving support is essential for a smooth transition,” she said. “I was able to email the International Student Support team before my arrival to Canada, which helped me feel reassured about things such as having all the right documents or being registered for all the appropriate classes.”

Christina Bosilo, Director of Brock International, said her team is committed to providing the resources and supports international students need, no matter what time of year they arrive.

“The Brock International team is committed to planning a robust orientation program that ensures students feel a warm welcome from the moment they arrived in Canada,” she said. “The excitement felt this past weekend on campus was undeniable, and I am confident the connections made between students from around the world has helped to ease the transition to Brock.”

In addition to offering arrival assistance, Brock International provides supports and resources for students throughout their time at the University. A list of ongoing events and activities can be found on Brock International’s ExperienceBU page.

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