People often take students for granted, let alone those students who leave home to board a plane and settle in a completely different country to pursue an academic degree. While there may be numerous obstacles, don’t worry! MUN has your back.
When I first stepped on Canadian soil from Bangladesh, I was a clueless mess. I didn’t know where to buy a Metrobus m-pass, how to use that m-pass on the fare reader on the bus, and most importantly, how to get to university from my off-campus accommodation. Yes, it sounds ridiculous but that’s how bad I was- a fish out of the water. Not to mention, it gave me severe anxiety. Thankfully, things started improving when I began communicating with people from the MUN community. When people from associations such as MUN Bangladesh Student’s Association (MUN BSA), MUN Student’s Union (MUNSU), the Internationalization office, etc., came to my support, I realized that I wasn’t the only one. With everyone’s help, I managed to get a tour of the whole city of St. John’s! If I and the students before me could do it, so can you!
One of the major issues a lot of international students face is having to deal with deteriorating mental health. Let’s face it, many of us come to Canada leaving behind family and friends hundreds of kilometres away. Some of us are from different cultures, different national rules and regulations, drastically different weather conditions, and the list goes on. Thus when we are plunged into the novel reality of a foreign country, we may find ourselves feeling all alone and depressed. My friends and I personally got so homesick that we would wistfully stare at our phones, waiting to hear our parents’ voices when time differences would make it appropriate.
It doesn’t always have to be that way. We can try to make ourselves feel better through various methods. Is boredom fueling your depression? Go watch a movie at the Scotiabank Cineplex or window-shop/shop at the Avalon Mall. Tastebuds yearning for food from home? Hop off to and deliver online from SpiceX, NJ’S Kitchen, Song Hee’s Takeout, Big Bite Pita or wherever you please. From learning a new skill to engaging yourself in a job, the sooner we distract ourselves from solitude the higher the chances we have of improving our mental health. MUN has a list of wellness resources. The Student Wellness and Counselling Center (SWCC) now provides virtual counselling, mental health support, etc. to students including sexual harassment office, student housing, etc. To get their service for wellness and counselling please contact them at firstname.lastname@example.org. For academic advising, contact them at email@example.com. The following further provides contact information of community-based services for urgent mental health issues by the SWCC office:
-24 hour mental health crisis line: (709)-737-4668 (local) or 1-888-737-4668 (provincial)
-24-hour walk-in Psychiatric Assessment Unit at the Waterford Hospital Site on Waterford Bridge Road (709)-777-3021 or (709)-777-3022
-More can be found on the MUN SWCC page
To choose to be an international student is to choose challenges. Fortunately, MUN and the province of NL is here to shield us from it. Once we overcome those challenges together, all that remains is a thrill for the future.