Genevieve’s Story: What Makes International Students Brave.

“You don’t have to see the whole staircase, just take the first step.”

These are the famous words of Martin Luther King Jr. about taking a leap of faith – and this could best describe how brave young international students who travelled halfway across the world to study in Canada are. 

“As a fresh graduate in the Philippines, as someone very young – I have never experienced being away from my family for so long. Coming here in Canada made me independent as I only have myself and no one else to depend on so I have to make smart decisions for myself” says Genevieve, an international student from Cebu, Philippines who is currently studying at Southern Alberta Institute of Technology. 

Genevieve was only 22 years old when she moved to Calgary, Canada to pursue her Business Management degree at SAIT “I am taking up Business Management to complement the degree that I have graduated in the Philippines which is Hospitality Management. I was a Senior Sales Coordinator in a resort back when I was in the Philippines, what made me choose Business Management was because I was inspired by my General Manager. She was a Business Consultant and It inspired me because my hospitality degree could be my technical skill to support my diploma in business management and that one day I could be like her.

I believe a mixture of both would give me the needed skills and knowledge when I graduate”.

Choosing SAIT

“My friend lives in Calgary and she recommended me to go to SAIT because she said a lot of people and also big industries are connected with SAIT. I honestly didn’t have any idea because there’s so many schools to choose from. Her advice was very helpful. My friend described SAIT as one of the best schools here in Calgary and when I checked their website and did the virtual tour, I fell in love. I love the campus and also that they have a pool! I am a swimmer in the Philippines and to me it is very important other than the academic aspect.” 

Located northwest of downtown Calgary, SAIT is a reputable university in Canada that boasts advanced  action based learning, solution focused research and a network of connections of industry partners that helps secure  the career pathway of their future alumni. It has a beautiful campus, with breathtaking views of the city and the world-famous Rocky Mountains that promotes a healthy balance of life, work and play. 

SAIT is  a student – centered university whose helping hands are always on an arm’s reach to make the transition of international students a breeze. It is a fun campus that looks after the well being of its students “Before lockdown happened, everyday SAIT was just very festive. There are a lot of activities held every day which will really have me looking forward to each day that I come to school. There is a “pet a  puppy day” where you can drop by and play with dogs. There is also wellness Wednesday where you can go in and meditate or maybe some back massages which is really fun. Tons and tons of fun activities that spices up your student life. We also celebrate different festivals around the world and we get to try their food!”

Another great thing I am thankful for in SAIT is that they have a Career Advancement Center where you can drop in to ask help for your resume, or if you are confused with your career path you can also talk to them and get advice. “The international student support is also really very helpful. I always attend sessions that they hold about getting Post Graduate Work Permit, applying for Permanent Residency which are very informative. From the start of the lockdown, the international center has also always been sending email about any government support that international students could get which is really very helpful. You can really see how they care so much about the student.”

Working in Campus

Going into university, we expect to just attend classes and study, but not at big universities like SAIT that also offer in campus paid jobs. This an opportunity that Genevieve was able to grab “I am currently working part time. My first job when I got here was in SAIT as a student caller at the Alumni & Development Department and then because of the pandemic and changes in the government I stopped working there and then now this time I am back working part time too in SAIT as a Recruitment Assistant. SAIT really gives so much opportunity to student which is great.”

Young foreign students who voyage into uncharted waters are perhaps the bravest of the young. Studying in a foreign country, even in a country as great as Canada, sure still is not a “walk in the park”. There are challenging times that will test you; you will experience a lot of many “firsts” – both good and bad;  you will thrive to make it out of your day – balancing studying, taking care of yourself and (sometimes) working as well, and all this by yourself. Now, doesn’t that sound scary? Well if it does, then this article is effective, but we are not quite done yet. More than to scare the one reading this article, I would like to invoke a thought, that yes, this sounds fearsome but if there are hundred thousand folds of international students in Canada that come every year, you too can do it! The “staircase” is long and winding, but it sure is a journey that takes you to the top – and you know what they say about the view at the top? It is the best.  

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