Welcoming international students this fall

Humanities, Graduate Studies

When international students begin their studies at UVic, they’re not just joining a new school. They’re also experiencing a new academic system, a new geographic place, and a new community. The in person experience of UVic is something many international students look forward, but like most things, it looked pretty different during the 2020-21 academic year.

Two current international graduate students at UVic share their experiences during the last academic year and what they’re looking forward to this fall.

Ana Paula Santana Bertho is an international MA student in History. Bertho spent the 2020-21 academic year studying remotely from Brazil.

Daniel Gudiño is an international PhD student in Social Dimensions of Health. Gudiño is from Ecuador and spent the 2020-21 academic year studying in Victoria, B.C.


What has this past year been like for you?

Bertho: I have been studying in Brazil for the past year. I really missed the experience of UVic campus life. But at the same time, I attended many Global Community events so I could make friends and feel I belong to UVic.

Gudiño: I’ve been in Canada and it’s been about two years since I’ve seen my family back in Ecuador. It’s the longest I’ve ever been away from them. I really miss my family, but at the same time it’s given my partner and I some time to grow really close together. And of course, Victoria is a beautiful place to be. 

What are you most looking forward to this fall?

Bertho: I’m so excited to come to Victoria and be on campus! Last year I joined a lot of the cultural events organized by the Gobal Community and I made some friends that way. Moving to another country and leaving your family is really complex. I think it’ll be easier because I know I have some people in Victoria who are waiting for me to arrive. The Global Community allowed me to create this network and I can’t wait to get to Victoria and see my friends in person.

Gudiño: Campus has been so quiet this past year. I’ve appreciated the beauty of the ocean and mountains – Victoria is so nice. But it will be great to see the campus back to life and to have people around again.


What do you think your instructors or staff at UVic can do to help international students feel welcomed?

Bertho: It’s important to encourage students to introduce themselves in class. And remember that some local references won’t be understood by all students in your class so try to give a bit more explanation.

Gudiño: It’s important that instructors appreciate what it’s like for international students and that students in the classroom come from very different experiences. If you’re noticing that an international student isn’t really engaging, I think reaching out to see if you can help or inviting them to your office hours could really make a difference.


In this story

People: Ana Paula Santana Bertho, Daniel Gudiño

Related stories