We caught up with Christelle, a 4th year Co-Op student in Communication and Print/Digital Publishing from Philippines. She shares her experience navigating the University as an international student and how she makes the most of her degree.
By Kelly Furey
How did you hear about SFU’s School of Communication, and what made you choose Communication?
I have always focused on having long term goals and plans for myself, whether it was two, five or ten years down the road. So, in my senior year of high school, I was certain I had my college degree figured out– set to studying Media and Communication in a school 8 hours away by plane. Plot twist. Here I am today completing the last couple semesters of my undergraduate degree, in a completely different continent than I had originally planned.
Things always happen for the best. The best in this case was moving to Vancouver, a city half way around the world from home and applying to the local university best known for their School of Communication. That is the long story short of how I found SFU.
What is your favourite part about being a Communication student?
Telling peoples stories. Being able to share my story, on here for example, is such an honour but being able to hear other peoples stories and learn how to more effectively share it with the world is how I feel I can best make a difference.
That is my favourite part about being a Communication student- you learn how to listen and you learn how to connect with people. The real success is beyond receiving a diploma but it is in improving myself in an area that makes me feel most fulfilled over the duration of a university career.
No matter what direction life takes me, I feel secure that what I learn as a Communication student goes beyond skills needed in every industry.
How would you describe the value in complimenting your studies with Co-operative Education? What was your first work term like?
Once you get a little taste of that (insert guilty pleasure here), it’s so hard to resist and not indulge. That’s what my first co-op work term with the BC Lions Football Club was like to me.
It reinforced the fact that I have found what I was passionate about and that motivates me to finish my degree. I would love nothing more than to jump right into a career in my field and now I have relevant work experience that has given me a head start. What I had learned over 4 months was invaluable experience that will stick with me through life and some of those things, I would have never learned in the everyday university setting.
How did you navigate your university experience as an international student and what advice do you have for prospective SFU students?
Immerse yourself in a culture, become a local and you will feel at home. With all change, it takes some getting used to and for any student, International or not, being adjusted is when you feel comfortable in your surroundings.
As an International student, it may have been a little more challenging not only going to a new school but moving to a different country where all I wanted was to feel accepted. I had so many fears coming in but I figured I would lose out on life experiences by keeping to myself rather than putting myself out there and getting involved. When I did that, I started to find my fit and come to know myself better. That’s the sense of comfort I’m talking about, it’s in accepting yourself.
Find what makes you happy and keep making mistakes. My advice, university is going to go by so fast, don’t regret what you could have started on your first semester when you are on your last- just go for it.
What does it take to succeed in Communication, and what do you hope to get out of your degree?
No matter what faculty you are in, I believe that what it takes to succeed is hard work. There’s always going to be someone better than you, there’s always going to be worse than you. It’s not always about the grades because there is always someone out there who is smarter than you are. At the end of the day, no hard work is ever put to waste or goes unnoticed.
What is one question you wish I’d ask, and how would you answer it?
“Tell us about yourself in one minute.”
Do you have a website, an online portfolio, LinkedIn profile, etc. that you would like to share?
This link www.athoughtcrime.com will best lead to all the above :)