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International Student Blog

International Student Experience

2019-20

Jorge Rafael Pinto Campos (Portugal)

My Canadian dream: A family legacy

rafae2.jpgMy experience in Canada has been a mix of exciting new adventures and struggles which has allowed me to create ways to adapt and thrive to new circumstances. As a foreign-born Canadian citizen, I grew up feeling out of place. When looking at old pictures of my siblings and parents playing in the snow, I felt a void since I couldn’t relate with such an important part of their life. As a result, when I was 19, I made one of the biggest decisions of my life. I left everything behind and I moved to Ottawa. The first few months were full of new hardships where I had to adapt to a new country, language, and lifestyle. I often ask myself if I experience some of the same hardships that my grandparents experienced when they decided to move to Canada almost 60 years ago, looking for a better life and a new home. 

Even though the first few months were hard, I rapidly learned English, found a job and made friends. I adapted to Canadian culture. Yet, my life changes did not stop there, 4 years after I arrived in Canada, I moved to Montreal and I started my academic journey. A different province, educational system, language, and culture came with new expectations and dreams of succeeding both academically and professionally. 

Yet, destiny had something else reserved for me. The “Grenfell Campus” calling was hard to resist; high-quality education, small classes, affordable living, etc. As a result, 9 months after moving to Montreal I was once again taking a plane to start a new life in a new province “Newfoundland and Labrador”. I now believe that all these past events have led me here, to a campus where I can grow as a person and as a student. There is more to Grenfell than meets the eye. I believe that a small campus like Grenfell allows students to nurture strong relationships with other students, professors, and staff while having a lot to offer both academically and professionally. 

Having the opportunity to work with international students this summer made me realize that my story is not unique. The Canadian dream still holds strong and it doesn’t matter if you moved to Canada 6 months ago or 60 years ago. I now feel like I belong. Canada is my place; Canadians are my people; Memorial is my university and Grenfell is my campus. I am excited to play a role in welcoming over 100 new faces in the fall and sharing that powerful experience with them!

2018-19

Wei Chen (Taiwan)

Breathtaking scenery and adventure

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I was an exchange student and took different courses at Grenfell Campus, such as business, anthropology and sociology. I would say my life in Grenfell was amazing without a doubt. The most impressive thing to me is that there are always a lot of activities held on campus for international students. Many of those aim to make us get involved in the community and share our country's cultures. For example, I had a lot of fun during a field trip to Gros Morne National Park and Cedar Cove, Multiculturalism Week and International Night. I still remember the field trip to Cedar Cove very clearly. After we hiked through the beautiful woods, we did yoga alongside the ocean with an instructor. That was a fantastic experience that made me fall in love with Newfoundland's nature. We had a picnic and shared the food we prepared in advance with friends while enjoying the breathtaking scenery.

During Multiculturalism Week, a province-wide celebration, I had the opportunity to share food from my country at a local grocery store. Everyone praised it very much and took the recipe home. I just felt glad and appreciated that I had this opportunity to share something from my country with the wider community.

What's more, I also experienced every kind of winter activities possible. For example, skating, downhill skiing, snowshoeing and cross country skiing. Everything is so FRESH and unforgettable to me because I am from a tropical country. I enjoyed the winter wonderland in Corner Brook a lot and never got sick of it. Thanks to my experience at Grenfell, I never got homesick. People I met at Grenfell Campus and in Corner Brook are extremely warm and friendly. In eight months, I learned about different cultures and completely got immersed in the community. Choosing to come to Grenfell Campus is the best decision I ever made and I recommend it to any prospective international student that wishes to embark on an incredible adventure!

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Clarisse Uwamahoro (Rwanda)

Honouring my first language

I am a graduate student in the Master of Arts in Environmental Policy. I have always been thrilled by new experiences and the idea of coming here terrified me but excited me beyond my fears. After six months at Grenfell, I am now entirely a new person. It is unbelievable how a few months can bring so many changes in one’s life.

Back home, I worked with Rwanda Housing Authority, a government institution, and I had a role of designing layout plans and incorporating the environmental component in rural settlement plans. I enjoyed this work because it gave me a chance to visit many places across the country and meet communities. After almost three years of work, getting used to the academic world again was a challenge. I rediscovered the excitement of school, expanded my views towards the world around me especially the way I felt about the unknown. I learned that diversity and growth are a big part of Grenfell and a big part of every learning process.

The past 6 months have been just that: a learning process! I have learned that the most important thing is not just about what you study in class, it goes way beyond that. Part of this journey involves school and other activities such as volunteering and interaction with the community. It is through these interactions that I was introduced to the Francophone community.  I mean, what are the odds? This was a pleasant surprise!

The Francophone community of Humber Valley and Corner Brook is for every Francophone or Francophile living in the region. I enjoy our occasional gatherings whether it is for a movie night, a wine and cheese night or the so famous wine tasting. There are also organized outings for winter activities such as skiing. These gatherings are great opportunities for me to have conversation and enjoy jokes in my first language. I have no fear of forgetting French and it is great to be able to speak my first language while making new friends in Newfoundland!

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Monique Traantoft Martens (Denmark)

Opportunity of a lifetime

I am currently studying Leisure Management in my third year at Profession shøjskolen Absalon. The education covers a lot of different areas such as business, event management and tourism, with which I am very interested.

In my free time I like hanging out with friends and family, but I also enjoy a cup of tea and a good book. I spend a good part of my time in the stables with my two horses, which have been a big part of my life for thirteen years, or taking care of my two cats.

When starting to look for places to go abroad, Canada was high up on my wish-list because of two reasons; it was outside of Europe and the nature was said to be fantastic. I decided to attend Memorial University of Newfoundland. I jumped on the opportunity to do a one-week-internship at Bonne Bay Marine Station this past summer, and enrolled in the semester at Grenfell Campus. I am extremely grateful for this opportunity! While in Norris Point at the Bonne Bay Marine Station, I stayed with a fellow student and together we reviewed the marketing plan for Bonne Bay Marine Station including all their social media accounts. We identified the strengths and gaps of the current plan and provided solutions and suggestions. This was is fun, but I also gained a lot of practical experience by applying theory to a real-life case that I would not have obtained in a classroom.

A few weeks later, I began studies at Grenfell Campus.

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Once the semester started, a field trip around Gros Morne National Park was arranged for the students, which I was happy to attend.  I was retuning to where my Canadian adventure had begun! It was very fun to be back at Bonne Bay Marine Station only this time I experienced the place as a tourist. It added another layer to the whole experience of the aquarium as I had  "inside knowledge" about the place and its marketing strategies to attract tourists. I noticed things regarding the place and the whole experience, that I had not been aware of when living there, which I now realized because I experienced Bonne Bay Marine Station as a tourist.  

 

International Student Services

Grenfell Campus, Memorial University of Newfoundland
20 University Drive, Corner Brook, NL
A2H 5G4, Canada

Office: AS 271
Phone: (709) 639-6525
Email: international@grenfell.mun.ca