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International students at Langara still feel like outsiders

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Reported by Sean Hitrec

Students gather around the international education department at Langara College. Photo by Sean Hitrec
Students gather around the international education department at Langara College. Photo by Sean Hitrec

Although Langara provides programs and opportunities like Langara PLUS and the International Education Volunteer Program (IEVP), where they encourage international students to engage in the community, some students still feel on the outs.

For many international students, socializing with domestic students is challenging.

Social stigmas faced by international students

Tiago Brenck, an international student at Langara from Brazil, finds himself only mixing with foreign students.

Brenck has unsuccessfully tried to meet Canadians, on and off campus.

The class he’s taking at Langara has one domestic student, while the rest are international education students.
Brenck has also had bad experiences trying to find a date in Canada.

“I was talking to a girl and when she realized that I was from Brazil she said, ‘oh, I’m not going to meet because I know that you just wanna marry me to get a Visa and then you’re gonna dump me,’” Brenck said.

Jasse Malhi, a first year of computer science student from India, said all was fine until Donald Trump was elected.

“…[someone] was talking to me about the [United States] election and he said he’d pray for my family,” Malhi said.

He has otherwise felt accepted, though that the comment was “odd” and made him feel uncomfortable.

Finding a welcoming space

In an email statement to The Voice, Ajay Patel, the associate vice president of international and external development, said despite challenges, Langara is a good place to be an international student.

“International students who are new to Canada, and new to Langara, face the additional challenge of adjusting to Canadian life, being independent, academic expectations in the Canadian classroom,” Patel said.

“Having been a student at Langara and now serving as an employee, I think Langara College has always supported students from diverse backgrounds. It is one of the reasons I attended Langara.”

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