Brazilian Jiu Jitsu builds solid base in Canada for International student

Kirill Zhukov’s journey to Brock brought him almost 7,000 kilometres from home. At just 19 years old, the first-year Business Communication student found himself alone in a new country, determined to pursue his education goals.

Zhukov came to Canada from Russia in January 2023 after thoroughly researching countries and schools that would offer him the best opportunities. With the help of his brother, his path led to the Niagara region and Brock. The University’s commitment to sustainability was a deciding factor for him.

“I care about ecology and the environment. Those issues were important to me when I was making my decision about where to attend school,” he said.

When Zhukov arrived, however, he found life in a new country challenging due to language barriers, cultural differences and life in a much smaller city.

He began to visit the St. Catharines Brazilian Jiu Jitsu Academy, where he made friends with others who trained there, including several Brock students. He said those connections made all the difference and he felt like he was part of a community.

Zhukov said he is grateful for the support he has received from Brock International in helping him make the transition from St. Petersburg to St. Catharines and making him feel welcome.

He started participating in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu in 2020 while still in Russia. He has competed in several tournaments since coming to Canada. Last year, he won a gold medal at the Next Gen Niagara Tournament in Niagara Falls, two bronze medals at the 2023 Ontario Open International Jiu Jitsu Championship GI Edition, and a silver medal in the featherweight category of the Toronto International Open Tournament of the International Brazilian Jiu Jitsu Foundation Championship.

Zhukov is so enthusiastic about the sport and believes there is enough interest among Brock students for there to be a Brazilian Jiu Jitsu Club on campus, which he hopes to help launch in the future.

“It could be a great opportunity,” said Zhukov. “There are a lot of Brock students that go to the downtown club, and I know they would love to see a club here at the university.”

In the meantime, Zhukov is enjoying his new life in Canada.

He believes his studies in Business Communication will provide him with a solid foundation to get experience in the business world and eventually start his own company.

“With a Brock degree in hand, I hope to be a successful business owner one day and make my home here in Canada,” he said.

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