Annika Ramento shares what her experience as an international student has been like at Corpus Christi College. Annika is a first-year student studying courses related to business.
As someone who finds comfort in the predictable, change has always been a little daunting to me. While I do think that I can adapt to different situations relatively well, I find solace in being in an environment that’s safe, routine, and familiar. Moving to Canada after living in the Philippines for all 21 years of my life was—and still is—tough, but after only one semester in Corpus Christi College, I can’t help but think that choosing to study in this school definitely made the transition a lot easier for me.
When I first entered the school, I thought I was prepared for what was to come. I had gone through different scenarios of how this day would go, planned for every possible outcome. But as I walked to my classroom, no amount of planning could stop the nerves from getting to me. I was opening up a whole new chapter of my life but instead of being excited, I felt a little lost.
It didn’t take me long, however, to realize how tightly-knit the Corpus Christi community actually is. As an international student, I joined the International Peer Mentorship Program. I was given a student mentor who I could consider a friend to show me the ropes of all I could do and all I could be in this vibrant new community. This program also allowed me to step out of my comfort zone and try out new activities like the UBC Football game and other events where I got to meet even more people and make new friends.
One experience, in particular, that really made me feel that sense of comfort and community was just a few weeks into the semester when I had a short chat with one of the Enrolment Services officers. It was not something that was planned or expected; I had never even met her before but I really felt like I was catching up with a good friend. It was so heartwarming to have such a genuine and fun conversation with someone in the college and since then, I’ve come to realize that there are so many people who are just as welcoming and understanding. If I have some questions on my academic performance, I can easily set up a meeting with the Academic Advisor, and if I decide to look into some new opportunities, I can pop by the Lion’s Den for a quick chat.
Because of the college’s relatively small population in comparison to other universities, it is clear that everyone in the community is connected, almost like a home away from home.
While I am still getting used to this new life, I have come to realize that change is okay. There may still be some challenges here and there, but I can rest easy knowing that I have found a group of people who will be there through my sunny days and cloudy ones too. The first few weeks weren’t easy, but if there’s one thing I’ve learned, it’s that this community will welcome you with open arms and make you one of their own. There’s definitely no shortage of family here.