The Many Opportunities of Orientation

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Orientation is a time that’s full of opportunities – the opportunity to discover the campus, explore the city, and most importantly, to make new friends.

One student who knows best about the opportunities that can come from attending orientation is Ibironke (Ibi).

Ibi is a fourth-year Accounting student at UTM who went from attending her first orientation three years ago, to working with the university to help plan orientation for the past two years.

Ibi recalls finding out about the International Education Centre’s orientation by chance. “I saw something about an orientation while online before coming to Canada,” says Ibi. “Yeah, sure – I’ll go to that,” she recalled thinking.

With such an instantaneous decision made, how did her orientation experience go? According to Ibi; amazing.

Ibi says that not only did her time at orientation help her to discover Mississauga and the university, but she also made a tonne of new friends. “Making new friends was pretty helpful; working together to figure out the school and overcoming feeling lost.”

Orientation not only helped Ibi discover the school and new people, but also the cities around her. “I remember during orientation the International Education Centre took us to Niagara Falls, the CNE (Canadian National Exhibit) and a Blue Jays game in Toronto,” she says. “These events were so much fun and they allowed students to meet new people!”

Having had such great experiences with the International Education Centre’s orientation, Ibi decided she wanted to continue being involved with the department and to help plan future orientations. “I could help plan something like this. I’m going to apply!” she recalled saying. And just like that Ibi’s work with the IEC began.

In her second year at the university Ibi worked with the IEC as a Global Connection Leader. In this role, she helped plan some of the orientation activities for all incoming students.

While planning these activities for students, Ibi had one main goal – letting others know they are not alone. “I wanted new international students to know that the struggles that they may be facing, they weren’t alone in, and that other people had gone through that same struggle.”

To help these incoming students adapt to university life, Ibi made sure students knew about the resources available to them such as: free immigration advising at the IEC, and other student services such as Office of Student Transition, and the Career Centre.

When it comes to meeting new people, Ibi has one simple piece of advice; “don’t be afraid to say hi first…I know for some cultures people might feel like they’re coming off as rude if they say hi to someone they don’t know,” she says, “but I want them to know that it’s okay to say hi and ask questions whenever they have them.”

Orientation is fast approaching and our events and activities will continue throughout the month of September for ALL students who are interested. Join us for a Blue Jays game to watch Canada’s only team in Major League Baseball, and join us for a day trip to Niagara Falls to explore the attractions, admire the spectacular waterfalls and enjoy food the region has to offer. Tickets are now on sale for these events! Purchase them online here.

Questions about orientation? Connect with us by dropping into our office in the Davis Building (DV2071), sending us an email at international.utm@utoronto.ca, giving us a call at 905-569-4716, checking us out online at utm.utoronto.ca/international, or getting in touch with us via Facebook, Instagram or Twitter.

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