Smooth Transitions: Advice for international students in Winnipeg

Joel Trenaman, coordinator for international student programs at the International Centre for Students (ICS), provides some tips for international students in his interview with the Manitoban.

The Manitoban: As an international student there are obvious tasks/consideration that need to be completed (e.g. obtaining necessary paperwork, finding a place to live, etc.) to ensure that studies aboard are successful, but what are some of the less obvious things that students might forget to consider/address?

Joel Trenaman: Familiarize yourself with the local amenities available prior to arriving, be familiar with local conditions and laws, and ensure you have applied for you Manitoba Health Insurance Card as soon as you arrive.

M: Do you have any other tips/advice for international students that might make their transition and subsequent study period abroad go smoothly?

JT: Attend an International Student Orientation session upon arrival. Attend workshops/activities offered for international students throughout the year.
Familiarize yourself with the services available to you on campus as a student and make use of them!

M: Do you have any suggestions to help students familiarize themselves with local culture? What should a student do if they feel intimidated by the language barrier, or have trouble adapting to cultural differences?

JT: Join organizations and groups on campus offered through UMSU, this is a great way to meet other students! Utilize the Volunteer English Practice Program offered through ICS. Branch out from your cultural group and build relationships with locals. Speak with an international student advisor who can provide support and advice with cultural transitions

M: In your opinion what is a valuable service/resource offered by the ICS that isn’t utilized enough, or that students might not be aware of?

JT: The workshops that ICS offers about academics and culture are very useful and interesting, but often not well attended. Students can also use the lounge area of the office to just hang out with their

M: Is there anything else that you would like to say to the international student population, or that you think they should know?

JT: Take advantage of the services, activities and trips offered through the U of M! These are great opportunities to meet new people and become familiar with your new city and University! The International Centre for Students is here to assist international students with any personal, cultural and academic transitions you may have.  Please be sure to meet with one of our advisors if you require assistance or support.