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Arts + Social Sciences › Criminology
SFU Student
Position Title

The cultural shift that international students experience can be quite overwhelming. For this reason, belonging to a community is so important because when you come from abroad, you have so much time to yourself and it can be quite lonely. As an international student, I was attracted to the Global Community Mentorship Program (GCMP) program because the focus was more towards diversity and making us feel welcome to the community.

When you have events where you can socialize with others, it’s a very satisfying feeling because that’s what you are familiar with back home. In my first year, I attended the Welcome event held by the GCMP and I remember it so well because I didn’t know anyone. By the time the event ended, I had made so many friends who I am still in touch with today. They were a huge help to me because they had experienced the same kind of struggles that I did.

Aside from attending events, we also went downtown for tours and that was one of the ways I explored the city of Vancouver. It can be very intimidating to explore different parts of a city that you've never been to, so having a group of people with you makes it a lot easier. You also build that confidence to go on your own and how to travel by transit. Traveling by transit may seem like a very tiny thing, but for international students, it can stress them out because they’re not used to it. A lot of these things are often taken for granted, so when you have someone who can take away that uncertainty, it’s a tremendous relief.

Another time we went out for sushi and I had someone recommend me a particular sushi because I had never had it before. Again, it was a very small thing, but going with people who have already experienced it helped me break that ice to get in. All these things have made a difference in my life and that is why I wanted to become a GCMP mentor myself. I want to be able to give another international student the experience that I had as a first year.