Being an international student can be challenging. Navigating a new country and culture, learning a new language and a different school system can seem overwhelming to some students.
Master of Arts in Studies in Comparative Literatures and Arts student, Pascal Michelberger has experienced firsthand these challenges since coming to Canada from Germany to begin his studies and has set out to support other international students at Brock.
“Pascal has been with us this year as a GTA in our introductory Spanish course and has demonstrated an outstanding sense of academic professionalism paired with an incredible dedication to promoting a globalized and international perspective to student involvement and participation. He not only serves as a role model for our own Canadian students and ambassador for future international students,” said Professor Cristina Santos, Michelberger’s supervisor.
Michelberger wants to help other international students with their transition to life at Brock through the power of conversation which is how he came to form his Spanish Conversation Circle “parlanchín”.
“In my Spanish for beginner’s class, I often had students coming up to me asking about opportunities to practice their Spanish outside of the classroom,” said Michelberger.
“I decided to form a Spanish conversation circle for both international student and students studying the Spanish language – through this group we are able to connect as equals and we continue to support each other despite our differences.”
During international week Michelberger also organized a cooking session and movie screening where students were invited to try some authentic Spanish cuisine while taking in a movie.
Born and Raised in Germany, Michelberger attended the University of Mannheim where he studied Hispanic studies and Business. While at University, he had an international roommate from Canada who studied at Brock University. As their friendship grew, Michelberger learned more about Brock and the opportunities available to international students.
“Since joining Brock University I have been welcomed with open arms. I have met people of all different backgrounds and have made many new friendships.”
“Being an international student isn’t a barrier – everyone in my program is eager to help and encourage me and my colleagues to think critically and to speak up when we have a question or idea that we would like to pursue.”
Michelberger hopes to encourage other international students to step outside of their comfort zone and to connect with other people on campus and in the community.
His advice to incoming international students is to take advantage of all the opportunities on campus available to students.
“Don’t be afraid of approaching people – ask questions and explore. You will be surprised how easy it is to make connections with Faculty and fellow students.”
After completing his degree, Michelberger hopes to stay in Canada for another year and to continue parlanchín and support fellow international students.