The holiday season is the perfect opportunity for Loyalist students who are not originally from Canada to experience the different traditions enjoyed by Canadians at this time — and to share their cultural customs with the Loyalist community. This year Loyalist has welcomed students from as far away as India, Thailand, China, South Africa, Germany, Russia, the United States, Guadeloupe, Italy, South Korea, England and the Philippines – enrolled in a wide range of programs. With the hard work of the academic semester behind them, they are looking forward to the break — and celebrating in both traditional and non-traditional ways.
“The winter temperatures are much colder here than those I am used to in India,” said Pramod Vasu, a second-year Developmental Services Worker student. “Last year I was excited about trying many new things such as skating and skiing but the winter did not get as cold and there was not as much snow as there usually is in Ontario. I have taken some time off work this year and we are hoping to have a skating party on the Bay. During the past year I have met 21 Indian families within the Quinte area which means there are always plans to get together. I’m going to celebrate New Year’s in true Canadian style by going to visit friends in Ottawa. I’ve been working really hard and look forward to relaxing and enjoying the break.”
Melchizedek Maquiso is a first-year Photojournalism student from the Philippines. “While working on a class project on religion and multiculturalism I visited St. Michael’s church. This brought me in contact with the Philippine community here and I’ve met many people that way. They have invited me to spend New Year’s Eve with them and I’m looking forward to that.”
“We are going to do it all,” said Dakk Sutthajaidee, a first-year Early Childhood Education student from Thailand. “I live in Trenton with the family that sponsored me to come to Canada. They have told me that we will all have a big breakfast together and then exchange gifts. After we have opened our gifts we are going to drive to Prince Edward County for a big family turkey dinner. On January the third they are taking me to Sudbury and to catch fish through the ice. I have never done this. They are showing me how things are done in Canada.”
Five years ago Lina Hirschmann came to Belleville from Germany for a year as a high school international exchange student at Nicholson Catholic College. Now she has returned as a college student, enrolled in the Early Childhood Education program at Loyalist. “I really liked it when I lived here before. The people were very welcoming so I was excited to come back for college. It has been six months since I was home in Germany so I’ve decided to fly back for the holidays. I can’t wait to see all of my relatives waiting at the airport to pick me up — especially my grandparents. There will be lots of eating, gifts and the famous German cake of course. New Year’s will be spent celebrating with my high school friends. Then I will come back and start working hard at school again.”
To learn about academic opportunities and support services offered to international students at Loyalist visit loyalistcollege.com.