Coffee and board games connect international students with faculty

by | Oct 3, 2018 | News

Tyler Biggs
News Reporter

It was all fun and games at the second “Connect Buddy” program at Humber College’s North Campus on Sept. 26.

Students try to guess who’s who in a game of Clue with faculty. (Tyler Biggs)

First year international students and faculty connected over board games, bingo, coffee and donuts at the event themed “Café Games Night.”

The buddy program was developed to help international students acclimatize better to their lives as Canadian students. The goal of the program is for faculty to assist new students with any additional needs they may have.

Shahnawaz Shaikh, a former architecture student and current construction manager at Humber, says he knows the difficulties students face when transitioning after school.

“To talk to someone about what to do, not just in regards to study or education but also the after,” Shaikh said.

“That’s the question for a lot of international students with the new culture, it’s very different,” he said.

According to the Canadian Alliance of Student Associations, international student graduates from Canadian post-secondary schools have just 90 days to secure employment and apply for a work permit.

The latest labour survey from Statistics Canada estimated the average time to find a job is about five months.

While the program is designed to be a mixture of guidance and fun, the limited number of participating faculty is becoming an issue of an imbalance in the student-faculty ratio.

“It’s dwindling a little bit,” said Dileeni Weerasinghe, the coordinator of the program.

“We advertised before the semester … but I think more advertisements on Communique would have helped,” she said.

The next event for the buddy program is on Nov.7  and will feature gingerbread-themed activities.

Miti Hathi, an international student advisor, said the culinary skills program will help supply the baking goods.

“They set us up with the gingerbread cookies, gingerbread houses, gingerbread men, icing and the candies,” Hathi said. “It’s a nice kick off to the holiday season.”