Brock community shares holiday cheer with international students

While the holiday season often brings people together, it can be a lonely time for international students spending the winter break far away from their loved ones.

Each year, Brock International organizes the Home for the Holidays program to connect international students with a Brock staff or faculty host to share their holiday stories and customs.

This year, nearly two dozen students signed up to experience new traditions with others in the Brock community.

Second-year Communication and Media Studies student Jasnoor Saluja and her boyfriend Ansh Shah, a second-year Computer Science student, were thankful for the connections they were able to make through the program.

“We had an amazing time,” Saluja said. “As international students, we learned more about Christmas and its origins, which intrigued us.”

Saluja and Shah were matched with Parker Holman, Laboratory Supervisor, Anatomy in the Department of Kinesiology and Adjunct Professor of Psychology, and his partner Charlis Raineki, Assistant Professor of Psychology.

“Given our experiences as international students and immigrants to Canada, my partner and I know how impactful opportunities like Home for the Holidays can be,” said Holman, who is originally from the United States while Raineki is from Brazil. “We wanted to pay forward all of the hospitality and kindness we experienced when we moved to Canada.”

Holman and Raineki hosted Saluja and Shah for a meal and shared their mix of holiday traditions from the U.S. and Brazil while learning about the students’ lives in India and their experiences at Brock and in Canada. They enjoyed discussing each other’s stories of coming to Canada and the things that surprised them when they arrived from their countries of origin.

“The winters were definitely a hot topic,” Holman said.

While Home for the Holidays centres around the needs of Brock’s international student population, Holman said that the program benefits hosts and students alike and it exemplifies Brock’s spirit of diversity.

“Our Home for the Holidays experience of having a diverse group of people getting together to learn and share together encapsulates what we love about Canada and Brock University,” he said.

Read more stories in: Applied Health Sciences, Faculty & staff, Mathematics and Science, News, Social Sciences
Tagged with: , ,