Students from all around the world attend Algonquin to pursue secondary education. Adjusting to the sub-zero temperatures while missing family and friends can make anyone feel displaced and isolated.
The college becomes a second home, providing a tight-knit community of alumni and current students to help guide those that are new to the process.
“Our objective is to create a safe environment that provides a smooth transition to the new climate, culture, and being available to help students succeed in their semester,” said Manvir Hans, psychotherapist/counsellor for Student Support Services and the International Education Centre (IEC) at Algonquin.
Hans provides students with guidance regarding career-related issues, isolation from academics/social life, and problems prone to those away and adjusting to a new normal.
“We often get students stressed out and just struggling to adjust with their foreign surroundings,” Hans said.
IEC’s workshops are designed to help students connect with others in their current program and with the rest of the international community.
Douglas De Oliveria, in his second year of the business management program, spends most of his evenings in the cozy workplace provided by the IEC, whether it is to study for his courses or helping other international students as a student navigator.
“April 16th in the spring, when I first arrived here everything was new but luckily, I had my family,” Oliveria, from Sao Paulo, Brazil had never seen snow before and was waiting to brace for his first winter.
“I was so excited to see snow; I ran down the stairs to quickly take a picture for relatives back home”
As the winter months progressed and temperatures were dropping, Oliveria understood the importance of self-care in the winter and how the transition would be tough for future students arriving from tropical climates.
“I just got here like two weeks ago and I love it. Yeah, it’s literally freezing but at least the people are nice,” said Bhanu Arora from India.
Arora enrolled in the business administration program’s winter intake and was excited for the transition. Just two weeks in and already a member of workshops and events happening within the college community, Arora is currently helping with the poster sale located in the cafeteria and on Wednesday he’ll attend the International Students’ breakfast in the Observatory.
The IEC curates workshops ranging from academic, employment, to immigration. Students seeking guidance for mental health and selfcare in the winter can make appointments with IEC guidance counsellors.