Supporting Newcomers to Canada: STUdents Participate in Experiential Learning at Saint John Newcomers Centre
A group of STUdents spent the first weekend of March Break connecting with newcomers and developing their cultural competency at the Super Saturday Social at the Saint John Newcomers Centre.
The event, organized in partnership with FutureReadyNB, exposes students to the role the Newcomers Centre plays in the community while providing hands-on experience to promote multiculturalism.
For Joyce Ang, a first-year STUdent from Singapore, the event was especially meaningful.
“Nothing beats the experience of bonding with other individuals who have been in my shoes,” she said. “Interacting with them, I’ve come to learn that there will always be more to the experience of each newcomer—my own journey included.”
Students were responsible for preparing and guiding children through games and crafts, decorating for the event, helping with meal preparation and serving, as well as engaging in conversations with those attending the event.
“I spent most of the social managing the arts and crafts area for the youngest newcomers,” Ang said. “Conversing with the newcomers was a definite highlight for me.”
Emily Miller, a fourth-year STUdent from Prince Edward Island, had previous experience working with newcomers but wanted to learn firsthand about their experiences.
“I really wanted to learn how Canadians can support newcomers to ensure they feel included and welcomed in our communities,” she said. “I loved participating in the activities with the newcomers—it was a great way to facilitate conversation and get to know them.”
Through the event and the conversations that were shared, it was the commonalities and not the differences that became most apparent to Miller.
“Regardless of the differences people may have there are activities that bring everyone together,” she said. “It’s a reminder that even though we may have differences, we also have many similarities and live a common human experience.”
These events were coordinated in partnership with FutureReadyNB and the St. Thomas University Office of Experiential and Community Based Learning.