You work for the International Education department specifically for the LSM PDD programs. Can you describe your role for our students?

As an International Student Coordinator, my role is to assist and guide international students during their studies at Langara, from Admission to Completion of their Programs. In addition, I provide support to faculty on regards to scheduling, program planning and of course, international students services. When the need arises, LSM instructors may refer students to me or contact me to reach out to students directly.

Given how Covid-19 has impacted the world, what has been a couple of the biggest challenges for students to overcome?

As a vulnerable community, I believe that facing the uncertainty about their academic future and the impact of job insecurity were the biggest challenges for International Students. We have to be mindful that they are away from family, friends, home culture, native language and everything else that represents safety and comfort. On the other hand, it warmed my heart seeing that Langara really went out of its way to provide them with support, whether that was through its various services or offering over $190k in emergency bursaries or even through community cupboards by distributing nearly 2,000 bags of food to students facing food insecurity.

We all hope to get back to normal in a safe way on campus. What do you think will be some of the most difficult adjustment for students coming here? It doesn’t need to be specific to on-campus.

Several changes had to be implemented due to COVID-19, and adapting to change can be extremely overwhelming for most people. The transition to Online Learning and Online teaching has proven to be quite challenging for both students and instructors that have never had this type of experience before. Even with the services we provide, the lack of in-person interactions demanded that we thought outside of the box to come up with alternative solutions to keep supporting our community to their new needs and requirements. However, during these unprecedented, difficult times, it was comforting seeing most people showing more kindness, patience and resilience, in order to overcome all obstacles. So, for me, that is really what it takes to ease the process of adjustment.

How do you stay positive and motivated during this difficult time?

I am a positive person, by nature. In times of crisis, I always see great opportunities to grow, whether that is by sharpening my skillset, learning new things or even joining forces with people whom, under normal circumstances, I would not have the chance to collaborate with. Over the last few months, I saw people that were laid off, using the free time they didn’t have before, to finally take that course or develop a new ability. I saw people that viewed the increase of workload as a chance to finally make a difference in the workplace. I saw ideas that never had the chance to leave the paper, finally being discussed and implemented. So, I tried to incorporate all those inspiring examples into my daily attitude, by remaining enthusiastic, excited and passionate, finding pleasure in all that I do.