By: Elizabeth DiEmanuele
The Student Success Centre and Graduate Studies have introduced new positions for 2019-2020 to support the academic, personal and professional success of international students.
“Enhancing the experience and academic success of our international students is a shared responsibility, which is why we are excited about creating a campus-wide support network around our students,” says Gina Robinson, assistant dean of Student Affairs and director of the Student Success Centre. “We want international students to know that we all care about their individual needs and are working together to get them to the right services on campus.”
Ana Pereira has supported McMaster’s international students for eight years. In this role, she helps students adjust to their new lives at McMaster and in Canada through transitional services, personal development and the International Student Buddy Program.
“Being an immigrant myself, I understand many of the challenges facing students and love helping them feel comfortable in this new place they now call ‘home’,” Ana says.
Francesca Hernandez joins the team in this role and will focus on establishing campus-wide partnerships that can support and contribute to the development and success of international graduate students.
“We want to ensure that the academic, social and cultural needs of international graduate students are met through new programming and engagement opportunities,” Francesca says.
“We also want to expand promotion of existing programs and services so that students and their families are aware of supports offered by McMaster and the broader community. We want them to enjoy a successful journey in their new country.”
In addition to programs and services, one-on-ones are also available. Andrew Staples, student success coach, will support both graduate and international students with their academic concerns, financial difficulties, transition, and navigation of university life. This position will support students on an individual basis and provide a more seamless support system.
Andrew shares, “We want to make sure students feel supported and welcomed during their time at McMaster, so we are encouraging students to ask questions and share any concerns they may be experiencing.”
Lajipe Sanwoolu, immigration and mobility advisor, can provide immigration consulting from both an inbound and outbound perspective, including international and domestic students who are interested in working in Canada or abroad.
“International students contribute greatly to our community,” says Lajipe. “It is important and beneficial that we continue to provide them with opportunities to contribute and develop themselves.”
International students provide an invaluable knowledge and perspective, both in and outside of the classroom. Lajipe’s role will support developing relationships between international students and employers, providing education about international hiring and dispelling hiring misconceptions.
Appointments with Andrew Staples and Lajipe Sanwoolu are bookable through OSCARplus.
For those interested in collaborating on initiatives to support international student success, email firstname.lastname@example.org.