Friday, 14 November 2014

Our International Students

Thank you to our panel of international students--Chris, from India; Jade, a global nomad; Eugene, from Burundi; and Lorena, from Mexico--who shared with us yesterday stories of their time at Lambton College and their reflections on life in Canada so far. 

The conversation was part of the Centre for Social Justice lunch-and-learns, a series that’s been devoted to encouraging connections among the members of our community. 

The student participants told us about things they’ve encountered at Lambton and in Sarnia so far.

Chris says that in Sarnia, “you know every second person you meet,” which helps the community to feel like a warm and welcoming place. The students all said they found Lambton College friendly, and that Canadians have been polite and accepting so far. Many of the comments were positive--so many, in fact, that I began to wonder whether the students felt they could share criticism at all. Did they feel pressured to praise the community and the school? In fact, when they were asked to share their dislikes about Lambton, one of the students leaned over and whispered to her neighbor, “Be careful.”

But her neighbor laughed, and she did too, and I hope the students felt free to share their true feelings. They had many positive things to say, but they had important challenges for us, too: why does North America encourage consumerism and credit card debt? Why can teenagers learn to drive before they can legally drink? Why does Sarnia have such a drug problem? Why aren’t there more employment opportunities locally? Their questions were an important reminder about the value of new perspectives.

Thank you to Khaled Nigim (a faculty member here at Lambton and a member of the Centre for Social Justice), who facilitated the conversation, and to Ruth Drewitt (a faculty member and Organizer of the Intercultural Awareness Award), who recruited the student volunteers. Thanks to those who came out to listen and to learn, and above all, thanks to the students! We learned a lot from your comments, and we’ll do our best to keep listening.

ps: Our famous Lambton profile team, Lois and Bisi, were in attendance: check back soon for pictures! 

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