It’s that time of the year again—Orientation Week! And the wonderful team at the International Centre has organized an International Student Orientation at the beginning of the fall and winter terms. This is to make international students feel welcomed at Dalhousie.
The orientation is an excellent opportunity for international students to make new friends, meet other international students, and meet the international student advising team, all of which are crucial during the first few weeks of university.
I would strongly encourage you to check it out because transitioning to life in Canada, specifically Halifax, can be challenging. It is difficult enough, immigrating to a new city from a foreign country let alone, to pursue post-secondary studies as well.
Students are leaving behind their families, friends and homes, which can lead to feelings of intense loneliness and uncertainty. The International Student Orientation can certainly help with that transition by introducing students to new friends and familiarizing them with campus resources and services.
I know that many international students experience culture shock: by participating in O-Week activities, meeting new friends, and learning more about life in Halifax, students will feel more at ease.
Another huge issue that all students face is homesickness. You may feel homesick because life at Dal is very different than the one you may have known; the food, customs and even socializing with people—all of which can make you miss the comforts you had back home. Some of my international student friends expressed that when they felt homesick upon moving to Halifax, making new friends was, for them, the best way to cope.
Kewoba Carter, an international student advisor at Dalhousie, shed light on how valuable attending orientation day can be for international students.
“This [orientation] gives you the best possible start to your university life and it also allows you to become aware of the things that you are not thinking about inside and outside the classroom, such as study permits and extracurricular activities” says Carter.
I would encourage students to stop and say “Hi” to Kewoba; she is very friendly and approachable and she loves to get to know the international students to learn about their journeys to Canada. She is a great person to talk to during your transition period at Dal.
The International Student Orientation will take place on August 30, 2016 from 9:00am until 3:00pm. The activities include information sessions and workshops designed to help prepare international students for the Canadian academic experience. These workshops will provide students with information regarding immigrating, working regulations, study permits and visas. Free lunch will be provided as well as a field trip to the Halifax Seaport Farmer’s Market by the waterfront.