Not heading home for the holidays
By Meredith Dault, Senior Communications Officer
Though Wei Yan may not celebrate Christmas at home in China, as an international student in Canada, he’s looking forward to making the most of the holidays this year. Like many visiting students, he won’t be heading home to spend time with his family. Instead, he is looking forward to tucking into a turkey dinner with a Canadian family on Christmas day.
“It will be part of my cultural experience in Canada,” he says, “and I am really looking forward to it.”
Mr. Yan, who is studying for a Master’s degree at the Faculty of Education, arrived at Queen’s in September 2012. He recalls spending his first Christmas in Canada on his own.
“I didn’t do anything fun. I think I just passed the day,” he recalls, explaining that having only been in Canada for a few months, he didn’t fully understand what he was missing. “I didn’t know enough people to celebrate with. So I am very excited about this year. I think it’s going to be really good.”
The Queen’s University International Centre (QUIC) is hoping to help more students like Mr. Yan create connections so they won’t have to be alone during the holidays. Their annual Holiday Networking Tea is designed to help international students forge relationships with others who will be staying in Kingston or on-campus while the university is closed.
“In the past, we’ve had people who met through this tea become friends and spend time together during the break,” says Susan Anderson, Assistant Director at QUIC. “A group of students went to Montreal together one year. They’ve formed groups to have rotating dinners, or they go to restaurants together. They really find community.”
Mr. Yan, who came to Queen’s because of the reputation of its education program, is looking forward to building his community at this year’s networking event.
“I like that QUIC helps us to connect with other international students. They encourage us to spend time together and make plans to do things over the holidays,” he says. “I think this Christmas is going to be so much better than last year.”
QUIC’s Holiday Networking Tea takes place on Friday, Dec. 20 from 2:00pm-3:30pm in their offices in the John Deutsch University Centre. Tea, hot apple cider and home baked treats will be provided. All are welcome.