Tag: international student

From South Carolina to the South Side of Grant

Andi Jacobs - from South Carolina to the South Side of Grant

Throughout high school I knew I wanted to do something different for college. I didn’t want to attend the same four universities that nearly everyone from my high school chose. So when my family was visiting friends in Toronto, and I learned about International Development, a degree that is not widely offered in the States, I felt the opportunity to take a different path. It sounded like it would be just the right fit for me.

After a quick search on Google, I learned about Canadian Mennonite University. Not only did CMU offer a degree that was different, but it also offered small class sizes and a real relationship with my professors, which was definitely something I wouldn’t have if I attend the larger state schools in South Carolina.

CMU also offered a schooling option that was affordable. It’s no secret that American schools are crazy expensive, especially if you are considering attending university in a different state or a private institution. So even though I’m an international student, CMU is just as affordable as staying in my home state of South Carolina. Not only am I going to a great school, but I will also graduate with relatively no debt (thanks mom & dad).

I’ll admit that I was a little nervous going to university so far from home, as this would be my first time living on my own. Not only was the school far away, but it was also in a different country, which was nerve-racking, yet also exciting at the same time. The unknown is what frightened me, yet the possibility for new friends and a new city to explore far outweighed the risks. Thankfully, the community I found once I arrived at CMU was more welcoming and supportive than I could’ve ever imagined. True to their stereotype, Canadians are a friendly bunch.

Another important factor in my choosing a university was whether I would have the opportunity to play competitive volleyball. I had never considered looking at schools in Canada, but I’m so thankful I did. Last January I visited Winnipeg (my parents wanted to make sure I had a chance to experience Manitoba in winter), toured the campus, and practiced with the volleyball team. My visit sealed the deal. CMU was a perfect fit.

IMG_8496a

The support on campus for academics and spiritual growth is something I have already learned to treasure. There are both chapels and fellowship groups during the week, and the leaders guide us through different worship styles whether that is contemporary, traditional, or something different altogether. While this Christian community is a big part of CMU, you can be as involved or uninvolved as you want. Regardless of your beliefs, you will be accepted for who you are as an individual.

Not only are the people welcoming, but CMU’s location is a welcoming place too. It is a smaller, more traditional campus with wonderful scenery, yet it’s only a few short minutes from being in downtown Winnipeg. If I need some fresh air after studying, there are miles of walking trails in the Assiniboine Forest, right behind campus. It is really the best of both worlds.

I am so happy with my decision to come to CMU. It truly has something to offer everyone.

Andi Jacobs is a first year student from Hilton Head Island, South Carolina.

Tom and Jerry or True Thankfulness: An International Student’s View on Thanksgiving

Amo Pllumbi Thanksgiving Reflection

My first time experiencing Thanksgiving was while watching an episode of Tom and Jerry about the holiday.

The thing that caught my attention the most from that episode were the different and delicious looking foods that were prepared and left on the table. Another thing I remember from the episode is that Tom (the cat) was dressed in stereotypical Native American clothing, while Jerry (the mouse) was dressed in stereotypical pilgrim clothing, creating a rivalry between the two just like in every other episode.

After many shenanigans, some of which were probably offensive stereotypical gestures mocking Native American culture, the two have a truce and decide to enjoy the main meal together. That was a nice and rare moment, and those that have seen the show know that these two rarely get along with each other.  

We don’t celebrate Thanksgiving in my home country of Albania, so most of my experience with the holiday has been from pop culture. I always thought it was a holiday celebrated only in the US, because of the colonial history of the country. Many of the movies and shows that portrayed Thanksgiving had Native American and Pilgrim/Puritan cultures interacting with each other. That’s why I thought we didn’t celebrate it in Albania, as we didn’t colonize any land.

But when I came to Canada, I realized that Thanksgiving, while being influenced by colonization in North America, is also celebrated by other cultures around the world for either religious reasons, or just to celebrate a good harvest.

The first Thanksgiving I had in Canada, a friend of mine invited me to his house to celebrate with his family. I got to enjoy a nice dinner like the one in Tom and Jerry, and I got to meet new people.

At the end of everything I did feel thankful. Thankful that I was having a good time with good people, and thankful that I was experiencing what eating a meal with a family feels like again. As an international student, you are away from your family for a long time. You just start missing those small moments you had with the members of your family that you take for granted when you were with them, like eating a meal together.

During that Thanksgiving, I did feel thankful that I had those kinds of moments before, and that I still get to experience them now with my new friends in Canada. I still celebrate this holiday, and it’s not because I relate to any of the historical reasons it is celebrated, but rather the ideal behind it. Some days you need to appreciate and be thankful for all the things that positively contribute to your life.

Amo Pllumbi is in his fourth year of a Business Administration degree at CMU.

Finding the light: An international student’s experience

Finding the light: An international student's experience

My name is Valeriia Alipova, and I’m from Zaporozhe, in east Ukraine.  
I came to Canada with the Mennonite Voluntary Service (MVS), a year and four months ago.  

I would like to share a story of where I have seen the light of God in my life.  

When I first came to Winnipeg, I had many challenges: new country, new language, new people. For the first time in my life, I was away from family, church, and friends. I so was worried about my future life, I forgot to enjoy the present. 

But I knew God was there. Through all my worries I could see a light—the light of God, in people around me. 

Valeriia joins in the singing at Bethel Mennonite Church.

Since coming here, I’ve met so many interesting, generous, and lovely people!  I could hardly believe how friendly people are in Winnipeg—especially the people at Bethel Mennonite church.

They welcomed me with open hearts.  

People invited me over for supper to their homes, taking me grocery shopping, to concerts, Jets games, and sailing.

When I struggled with homesickness, they spent time with me, showing me God’s love and support. They gave me opportunities to learn and to grow, in both relationships with people, and with God.  

It’s the same for me here at CMU. So remember: you can be the light of God in someone’s life this year! 

Valeriia Alipova is entering her second year at CMU. She originally shared this in chapel during the 2016-17 school year. 

Get to Know Your Student Ambassador: Cesar Flores

I’m an international student, and whenever people ask where I’m from, I chant aCesar-Flores-CMU-2016 very practiced and thought-out answer, “I was born in Honduras, but due to my parent’s work with the Mennonite Central Committee (MCC), we moved to Guatemala, El Salvador, and Bolivia. My growing up years were spent travelling with my family around Central and South America to visit communities and MCC workers in rural areas. So although my passport is Honduran, I don’t consider myself being from a single country. I consider home to be a very fluid but meaningful concept.”

Due to my cross-cultural growing up, I’m interested in learning about good development and building connections with individuals involved in social movements. This academic year, I’m part of the International Student Council. I’m excited to part of a group which hopes to support international students so they can have a smoother transition into Canada and university life, and to encourage relationships between international and Canadian students. I study in the International Development program.

Being an international student at CMU

Being an international student at CMU is an amazing opportunity for you to learn more about other cultures and discover more about yourself. It is a time to explore and immerse yourself into a new experience.

The CMU community was very welcoming to me. They were more than ready to help me adjust and help me out as I started a new life in Canada. Students and faculty are very friendly in the way they approach international students, they are eager to know about your culture and teach you about theirs.

Read More

Powered by WordPress & Theme by Anders Norén