International students at UNB now have a place to call their own with the formation of the International Student Association.
The association is a brand new society at the University of New Brunswick Fredericton.
“We are a student-run society, eager to enrich the university experience of international and Canadian students,” said Siddharth Raval, president of the association.
The goals of the new association include hosting events for international students, offering them companionship and connecting them with local students. Upcoming events this semester include Hockey Night and salsa lessons.
“Membership is free for all UNB students. Simply fill out an application form on our Facebook page to receive updates about upcoming events. We are also looking for volunteers to help spread the word,” Raval said.
The society’s Facebook page says in the description that they “are aiming to enhance our students’ university experience and the integration of international cultures within the university community.”
“In the future we would be helping more students during their transition, and to provide them a great campus experience. International students face many issues such as homesickness and culture shock, and we’re here to help make them feel at home,” said Raval.
However, Raval wants people to know that students of all nationalities will be welcomed to the association.
“We’re not just for internationals — we provide a platform for Canadians to learn about other cultures and make friends from various countries without even having to travel. As a matter of fact, our first registered member is a Canadian,” Raval said.
One of the upcoming events this year is Latin Night where students can learn Latin dance from an instructor and then compete in a freestyle contest.
“The Latin Night will be held on Nov. 14 in the SUB ballroom. Students would learn some new moves and meet new people,” said Raval.
UNB’s Strategic Plan lays out a goal stating that the university hopes to increase the proportion of international students on campus to 20 per cent of the population. Raval hopes that the association will encourage more international students to join the UNB community.
“From sharing upcoming campus and community activities to hosting free events for all, the UNB International Students Association strives to get students involved during their university experience,” he said.