WEYBURN – The first group of international students at Southeast College were welcomed with some special activities and presentations, including tours of the city on Monday and Tuesday evenings.
There are five international students, all enrolled in the continuing care aide program, and they were welcomed by Dr. Vicky Roy, president and CEO of the college, and Jody Holzmiller, vice-president of education and training.
Dr. Roy noted she is herself a transplant to Saskatchewan, as she is from Montreal, and served in a number of universities and colleges before starting in her new role as president of Southeast College some five months ago.
Finding out that two of the students were from India and three from the Philippines, she said they should embrace the new culture and the sometimes-cold climate here, noting they are resilient to be where they are now.
“It’s a small college and a big family,” she added of the college, noting they have staff who will strive to help them out as much as they can as they enter their period of study.
Dr. Roy noted the college is working towards a new strategic plan, and want to know what they can do better. “International students are a big piece of that,” she added.
Holzmiller reiterated the comment of the institution being a small college but a big family, and said, “It’s pretty much a standing rule, if you need help, grab any of us. Your student advisor your go-to.”
“We are thrilled to have our first group of international students, and to have you at our campus is exciting,” added Holzmiller. “You have chosen a very incredible profession. You come from a diverse background, and will be mixed with our domestic students. It’s an honourable profession, and a very much needed profession right now. Our college is reaching out to expand our medical programs.”
Holzmiller noted she has been working with the college for over 16 years, and the most rewarding aspect of her position is meeting and working with the students.
“From when you first come in, and 10 months later walk across the stage as you graduate is always a highlight,” she said. “We wish you well in your studies. We will do our utmost to help you.”
The students include Krishna Patel, who came from Gujarat, India, and Jashan Brar, who came here from Punjab.
From the Philippines, Angel Caharop, Joann Espejo and Rodolfo Fariñas Jr. are all enrolled in the CCA program.
Krishna said her background was in science and biology, and was working towards a masters degree at the University of Regina, but decided to drop that program.
“I want to know more about the health care system in Canada. This is the base of it, where it begins, and I’m also interested in going deeper into health care,” she said.
Jashan said she loves to help people and wants to learn about the profession.
Angel noted she had studied biotechnology at Centennial College in Toronto, but decided to change up her program.
“There are more opportunities in CCA, especially in Saskatchewan,” she added.
Joann said she has a background in the medical field, as she was a registered nurse in the Philippines, and added she wants to know how to do the job better by taking this course.
Rodolfo said he was an assistant professor at a college of information technology and computer science in the Philippines, and decided to make the switch to the medical field when he came to Canada.
“My parents are getting older, and I want to take care of them,” he said, noting he is also looking to the future of his children.
Joann noted that the college has been very accommodating of them and their questions, and all of the students said they felt very welcomed by the school.
Krishna added that the assistant registrar helped her extensively, even when she had question after question while filling out the application from her home in India.
On Monday evening, the students were treated to a traditional Filipino supper catered by McKenna Hall, and they had a tour of the Weyburn Leisure Centre, Spark Centre, Crescent Point Place and the Curling Rink.
On Tuesday, they were able to see some of Weyburn’s medical and care facilities, such as the Weyburn General Hospital, Tatagwa View and the Weyburn Special Care Home, and had supper at the Swaad Indian restaurant. They also had a presentation from Southeast Newcomer Services.