International students embrace wellness in the face of challenges

“First me then the world” should be be international students’ wellness motto. That was the advice of a presenter during a sparsely attended wellness workshop on Oct. 10 organized by Health Promotion and the International Education Centre. The workshop took place in A-building room 217 and was given by Elizabeth Pena Fernandez, the health promotion […]
Photo: Brahim Ait Ouzineb
“We do have a hard time with getting students to attend events that have to do with wellness because for students often school, work, family responsibilities and social time come before self-care which is totally understandable,” said Leah Grimes, intercultural programming support officer (back left).

“First me then the world” should be be international students’ wellness motto.

That was the advice of a presenter during a sparsely attended wellness workshop on Oct. 10 organized by Health Promotion and the International Education Centre.

The workshop took place in A-building room 217 and was given by Elizabeth Pena Fernandez, the health promotion and education coordinator.

The organizers blamed the low turnout at the event on midterm preparations.

“We do have a hard time with getting students to attend events that have to do with wellness because for students often school, work, family responsibilities and social time come before self-care which is totally understandable,” said Leah Grimes, an intercultural programming support officer.

The students who showed up had their own expectations.

“I am anxious about the coming months (studies, job and all),” said Fatheen Hasan Elattuparambil, a student in the project management program. “I am here mainly to know how I can manage my anxiety and increase my mental wellness.”

Wellness depends on spiritual, emotional, intellectual, social, physical and environmental factors. Students cannot get over the stress instigators without balance.

“The presentation will tackle general health and wellness, nutrition, fitness, sleep and social support network,” said Fernandez, who led the discussion with her vivid persona and lively interactions.

The speaker left the space for students to intervene due to the sensitivity of the subject. After all, such events are organized to raise awareness.

According to Grimes, international students should understand the stressors to manage them better. The sessions aim to connect them with other students who are experiencing similar struggles.

Fernandez started every section with the scientific literature on international students’ issues. Audience members gave their own routines on food, sports and sleeping habits while pondering their wellness levels. Despite the low attendance, Fernandez’s vivid persona and lively interactions on the several facets of wellness should have been allocated more than one hour.

“The major takeaway is the importance of working out, scheduling a seven-to-nine hours sleep and eating properly,” said Alvaro Portillo, a student in computer programming.

“The major take away is the importance of working out, scheduling a 7 to 9 hours sleep and eating properly,” said Alvaro Portillo, a student in computer programming.
“The major take away is the importance of working out, scheduling a 7 to 9 hours sleep and eating properly,” said Alvaro Portillo, a student in computer programming. Photo credit: Brahim Ait Ouzineb

The attendees got tips on managing their well-being. The speaker insisted that students should prioritize eating and sleeping over everything else.

“Eating properly and sleeping properly. I think if students pay attention to these two things, it can have a big impact on their health,” said Grimes.

At the end, Fernandez handed out flyers for more information to the attendees.

Students can reach out to the International Education Centre for more information.

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