Here is what our past members have shared about the program.
Oliver, international undergraduate, 1st year, Beedie School of Business
Before coming to Canada, I was scared of my transition to SFU would be hard since I dind't know anyone. When I arrived, my mentor immediately reached out to me and made herself available if I had any questions about university. Not only did I gained a mentor but also gained a lifelong friend who would help me throughout my university life and even beyond. During the times which I found the university to be hard, my mentor would always be there to cheer on me. Indeed, not only was joining the GCP a good decision but it was the best one I made for my first year at university.
Shreya, international undergraduate, FIC transfer student, 2nd year, Beedie School of Business
I transferred into SFU online - during the pandemic and as soon as I did, I travelled back to my home country, India. Studying remotely from a different time zone made me feel disconnected from university, and I felt like I was missing out on a lot of experiences – I felt stuck. I reached out to an advisor to support me through this, and she highly recommended the Global Connections Program.
I believe it was a turning point for my SFU journey, the help and support I received made me feel welcomed. I remember meeting my mentor for the first time and our first conversation being very encouraging. I felt heard and not alone, and my mentor introduced me to so many opportunities I hadn’t heard of before. I became more confident and was surprisingly able to discover myself in several ways.
Most importantly, I learned that it is okay to reach out for help – that it is not as scary, and I don’t have to fear being judged or misunderstood. We just need to be courageous enough to reach out and grasp hold of that helping hand.
Edgard, international undergraduate, transfer student, 3rd year, Beedie School of Business
One thing that was helpful when I transferred to SFU, were programs like the Global Connections Program. Being an international student, I love meeting people from all cultures, from all over the world. My key takeaway from the program was the excitement of going to every event, knowing I'll be put into a breakout room (Zoom) and meeting people that will hopefully create connections that will last throughout the rest of my degree. I am back in my home country right now and I'm not in Vancouver. But I don't feel disconnected at all, thanks to my fellow members in the Global Connections Program.
Sara, international undergraduate, 1st year, Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences
What I found in the Global Connections Program was a very welcoming community that were willing to help and support. It made me feel like I'm not alone through these difficult times and I got to connect with other people, and a great part of that were the group events, which contributed to me feeling welcomed and feeling like I'm part of the SFU community even if I'm not presently in Canada. So I really recommend people to join this program because not everything is about grades, you also need to have fun, destress, connect and make friends!
Kiran, international undergraduate, FIC transfer student, 2nd year, Faculty of Communication, Arts, and Technology
I transferred to SFU from Fraser International College in Spring 2020. I joined the Global Connections Program after hearing about it from a friend and the environment was very welcoming and inclusive. Being an international student and coming from an island of a small community, it was hard connecting with people from such a large community. This program gave me the opportunity to meet other students with the same struggle. My advice to you guys is: Stay connected. Get involved because you’re meant to have fun. You won’t get this time of your life again, so, make the most of it. You don’t have anything to lose.
Olympia, international undergraduate, 1st year, Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences
I first came to Canada during the peak of the pandemic, seven months ago. I started my first semester online from Greece, with the huge time difference fatiguing me both mentally and physically. [Joining the] Global Connections Program derived after my pursuance of new experiences and connections with my peers upon my arrival in Canada. I met amazing people from different backgrounds and from all over the world! [Through the program], I met my study buddies, with whom I created study sessions during the semester!
I cannot wait to be back on campus, and I hope for more well-spent days with this beautiful family we have created! Thank you, SFU family!
Jazmin, domestic undergraduate from an international pathway, 1st year, Faculty of Health Sciences
Initially, I joined the Global Connections Program because I was new to Canada and hoped to have at least one contact before I moved from Singapore. Now, I have a community. The program is a gateway to engagement. The virtual events were welcoming and made me feel a sense of belonging to SFU, despite not being in the country. I met many amazing people, who helped remind me that I wasn’t alone in my situation during these uncertain times. Despite our very different cultural backgrounds and situations, we always managed to find at least one thing that we shared in common - and if that’s not some casual magic, then I don’t know what is.
Tijil, international undergraduate, FIC transfer student, 2nd year, Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences
When I transferred from FIC to SFU, I was unaware of the different resources that SFU had for students. I learned about some resources, especially about health & wellness, through the Global Connections Program. The online game nights [hosted by the Global Connections Program] were especially fun for me. Even though I did not know the people, I still shared some laughs, got to know them, played games together; such events do a good job for you to have a break from academics for a while, allowing you to just have some fun, which is extremely important to avoid burnout.
Rachel, international undergraduate, 1st year, Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences
Being an incoming student to SFU, it was a bit discouraging to hear that I would be starting my first year online. As an international student residing across the globe, I didn’t know a single person from the SFU community, and I thought it would be very hard to find opportunities to genuinely connect with others and build relationships in a remote setting.
The Global Connections Program was such a welcoming community that helped ease my transition. The program leaders regularly hosted engaging events that ranged from game nights, study sessions, cooking events, to holiday-themed cultural events. Through these events, I not only become more culturally aware by meeting and learning from students with diverse backgrounds, but I also got to truly relate with others who are also navigating university life amidst the global pandemic. [Being a part of this program] helped me feel less alone throughout my transition and stay connected to the SFU community even from afar. Moreover, it was just a great way to take a break from academics and de-stress with a fun group of people! The transition can be a confusing time, and it was a big encouragement to have a mentor/friend to whom I could easily reach out and ask for advice.
Emil, international undergraduate, transfer student, 2nd year, Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences
Throughout the semester, I felt as though the Global Connections Program really kept me going. There was a welcoming environment despite everything going on, which helped me settle in after transferring to SFU and created a sense of belonging. I enjoyed every program event I attended and even met some really cool people in those! I respect everyone involved in organizing this program while also having their own studies, work, and life to figure out in this challenging time. If you are interested in this program, I can assure you it is 100% worth it. Always remember that you aren’t alone, and you have tons of resources to support you. Perhaps you’ll even see me if I decide to join one of the future semesters!
Pranjali, international undergraduate, transfer student, 4th year, Faculty of Communication, Arts, and Technology
I am an international student who have started at SFU this fall remotely from my home country. At first, I felt that making friends would be impossible in this online format, but it was not true. I joined Global Connections Program and found that the community was very warm and helpful in transitioning to SFU. They offered inclusive and interactive events which really helped me to making meaningful connection and I learned about university resources. It was an interesting and enriching experience. The one-on-one mentorship gave me immense support.
For the incoming students, I would say join the program, and mark my words, it will be one of the most memorable experience in your university life. You will gain confidence to join and engage more.
Anthony, domestic undergraduate, 5th year, Beedie School of Business
After I came back from my international exchange, I was also looking for opportunities to get more involved at SFU, and the Global Connections Program (GCP) felt like a good fit for me. Also, I became interested in learning about and interacting with people from different cultures. As a senior student, my biggest tip/advice to first-year students is to get involved. Throughout my first 4 years at SFU, I didn’t get involved at all. During my last two semesters, after being advised by a mentor of mine, I finally decided to put myself out there, and it turns out there are plenty of programs/clubs including the Global Connections Program, that offers a safe, welcoming, and positive environment to everyone through their well-planned activities and events. I felt truly connected to people and the university.
Twinkle, international undergraduate, 2nd year, Beedie School of Business
I joined the program with an aim of meeting new people from all across the world, and I wanted to explore all tranditions and people from different backgrounds. I have to say that, the different events we had with the members of the Global Community, those were so beautiful. It was like you are with people who are as confused as you are, as interested in the new city, in the new country, as much as you are. Do join the Global Connections Program, you are not going to regret it at all.
Ikjot, FIC transfer student, 2nd year, Faculty of Health Sciences
I feel that being in this program has helped me a lot to get out of my shell because for the first semester at SFU all I did was come to school, study, then go home. This program however has given me the opportunity to engage with other people from all over the world, and it’s such a great experience to get to know people and hear their stories.
The Global Connections Program is my gateway to being engaged with everyone a little more. I didn’t know where to start, but this program introduced me to a mentor and I can always reach out to them and ask questions about how I can get more involved. All in all, this program has helped me a lot to just put myself out there.
Amela, domestic transfer student, 2nd year, Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences
I’m a domestic student, I was born and raised in Canada but I do have an international background in that my parents are immigrants. We lived in Europe for about 4 years and I came back to Canada with a complete culture shock. I think more domestic students could benefit by joining this program as they could learn about other cultures and understand different views.
I attended some program events and I was really happy and grateful for the activities, the multicultural cuisines, the chats I had with people, and the opportunity to learn about resources at SFU that I probably would have not known had I not joined the program.
I was inspired to join this community because I didn't know if I was going to make friends. SFU is a large school and there are always rumours about how you can’t really find friends here, but you can take initiatives to make friends.
Des'ree, international undergraduate, 1st year, Beedie School of Business
You won't find many communities like this one. This is a program where you feel welcomed in the midst of other fellow international students that share the same struggles of missing home, family and friends.
There is a lot that comes with being new to an environment under a different educational system. Global Community allowed me to meet new people, it gave me a sense of belonging which eased off the stress and the burden.
As a first year student in the Global Connections Program, I feel more comfortable with the university I am attending, and finding this little community makes me feel more at home.
It’s been amazing being part of this community!
Cici, international undergraduate, 2nd year, Beedie School of Business
Through the program, I was able to make so many new friends at SFU! I enjoyed making social connections with peers and mentors and attending events such as the Granville Island night out. The virtual check-ins and events were helpful as it was cool to just come in, chill and chat with friends and community leaders during this time, because people may feel isolated themselves. Chatting on random topics helped in reducing my exam stress as well. I would definitely recommend this program to other SFU students.
Abu, international undergraduate, 2nd year, Faculty of Communication, Art, and Technology
Through the Global Connections Program, I was able to make new friends, feel more engaged at SFU, and learn new resources and information. My peers and mentors were very supportive and I enjoyed attending the group events and spending time with other members.
It was helpful being matched with a Community Peer who shared with me many of the resources at SFU that I wasn't aware of. The food offered at the program events was great and I really enjoyed interacting with other students through games and activities. When COVID-19 started, changing events to virtual was a great support to have during this terrifying time.
Jerry, international undergraduate, 1st year, undeclared
Global Community is a nice place to meet with people. The way university works are different from what I had in high school. People come and goes. It is quite hard for me to connect with different people in a very short amount of time, and the chances for me to make long term friendship remains low because of this. I’ve made several friends and able to connect with them thanks to Global Community events. Now I can push myself to get out of my comfort zone, to try new things. The events I attended gave me the chance to have a glance at other cultures as well.
Jeremy, international undergraduate, 1st year, Faculty of Applied Sciences
It is challenging to get used to a new way and also finding ways to use your time wisely. I'd say I'm doing pretty good thanks to the Global Connections Program. I got to know about this program through one of my friends and I thought it would be great to meet new friends at SFU. The program turned out to be a lot of fun!
Thanks to the program, I got to know SFU and Vancouver better. When I first came here, I had absolutely no idea about anything. People from the program are incredible, some have been at SFU longer and they have given me a lot of useful tips and advice on campus life.
I really enjoyed the Whistler trip and Bite-size Vancouver. I love travelling and I felt lucky to have the chance to explore all the amazing places with friends through the program! What really amazed me was how people from different backgrounds became family. I want to recommend this program to all students at SFU, especially students with an international background because it can make your life here in Canada easier, fun, and meaningful.
Hilmi, international undergraduate, 1st year, undeclared
University is what you make of it. If you don’t venture outside of your comfort zone, you are not going to meet anyone. At certain times, you just have to try to go out and get involved, rather than just waiting for someone to come to you. You should always take the initiative to reach out and build your own community.
The closest friends I made so far are mostly from the Global Connections Program. We’ve got really close in such a short amount of time. My mentor is also really nice, funny and knowledgeable. He’s been in the same position as me, and as an international student living in Canada, sometimes you have very specific concerns that only people who’ve been in your shoes would understand.