O’Niel Barrington Blair
For many, closing clubs are just part of the end of the school year but for some international students it’s the end of how they interact with their peers.
August Haberler, a student from Sweden at Humber’s Lakeshore campus, said although he is not a part of any clubs he believes they are very important for a lot of international students.
“I believe that clubs can help international students feel a part of something which ultimately will make them feel as if they belong,” Haberler said.
He said that clubs can help reduce anxiety that many international students get from moving to a new country. It can be hard to make new friends in a foreign country but clubs can make it easier by uniting people with shared interests, said Haberler.
The end of the year, however, gives club leaders time to reflect on how the year went for the group and what they’ll do for next year. For Humber’s Black Student Association, or the BSA, it was their first year and Keysha Watson, one of the leaders of the new club, said they had a great start.
“We definitely met our goal in the first year [by] creating a community and safe space for black students on campus,” Watson said.
She said she doesn’t worry about how her club members will make friends and network during the summer because a lot of the members now have the confidence to put themselves out socially. The club intends to keep in contact with their members through the summer.
This ongoing communication is beneficial to some students because many international students stay in their college’s country during the summer. This will be Haberler’s first summer staying in Canada and he said it will be difficult to be away from friends and family. However, he added it will be easy for him to fit in with the culture in Toronto.
“My culture does not differ too much [from] Canadian culture which definitely makes it easier for me than, let’s say, a student from India or the Middle east,” Haberler said.
Suzanne Brooks, with the Graduate School of Education and Human Development in Washington, DC, said in a press release that students in college can benefit from clubs.
“Joining student clubs and organizations gives you the opportunity to meet a diverse population of people that allow you to expand your thinking,” Brooks stated.
The BSA is already in the process of making plans for the upcoming fall semester, said Watson. The club hosted a Cypher, a freestyle rap event, at Humber’s LinX Lounge and they plan to have another one in the fall.