When Sebastian Roa Goyes arrived in Canada to begin his studies, the support he received from Brock’s international student ambassadors eased the transition.
They helped Roa Goyes to connect with opportunities to get involved on campus — and also inspired him to follow in their footsteps.
Now an international student ambassador himself, the second-year Master of Sustainability student from Colombia hopes to encourage a new group to become that guiding light for their peers this fall.
Applications are now open for Brock’s 2023-24 International Student Ambassador Award program, which recognizes international students who exemplify the University’s mission and vision through academic achievement and community engagement efforts both on and off campus.
Up to nine students will be selected as ambassadors for the coming school year, with each required to dedicate 60 hours to the role throughout the Fall and Winter Terms. In return, they are granted assistance towards the cost of studying in Canada, with selected students having their international tuition fees reduced to the domestic student rate.
Student ambassadors play an integral role within Brock International, serving as mentors and spokespersons for engagement and inclusivity, says Christina Bosilo, Director, International.
“Our ambassadors talk with students from around the world, pulling from their own experiences at Brock to describe life and academics in Canada,” she says. “These early connections create an inviting, supportive atmosphere for those who may be nervous about living and studying in a new country.”
Acceptance into the ambassador program also allows international students to reciprocate the level of support that was provided to them as incoming students.
“Being an ambassador means being a familiar and friendly face for other international students,” says Aishah Sonekan, a third-year Psychology major and international student ambassador from Nigeria. “I love that I can help those who share my nationality or similar interests feel more connected to our community.”
Peer mentorship and engagement is a cornerstone of the ambassador role, creating a unique leadership opportunity for the program’s participants. Ambassadors develop transferable skills designed to continue serving them well after graduation.
“This position has helped me develop skills required to become a global citizen, such as teamwork in a multicultural environment, public speaking, networking and leadership,” says Roa Goyes.
Ambassadors foster a welcoming environment for international students and raise awareness of the many on-campus opportunities available to them.
“This role is perfect for you if you are interested in learning new skills, meeting new people and getting involved,” says Sonekan.
Her tip for those who are thinking of applying: be yourself, be creative, be confident and be open to new experiences.
Roa Goyes recommends students get involved with things they are passionate about on campus — all while keeping academics at the forefront.
International students interested in becoming an ambassador are invited to apply for the 2023-24 academic year. The application is available through the Student Accounts and Financial Aid web page and must be submitted by 4:30 p.m. on Saturday, April 1 for consideration.