By: Preet Parikh
This time last year, I was so thrilled to be at Mac and make new friends. Moving to Canada with dreams and aspirations was not easy. I had opted to live in Bates Residence for my first year. I had no idea how I would survive, but the International Student Services (ISS) area was a blessing in disguise.
Prior to arriving Mac, ISS scheduled many webinars that covered topics like on-campus residence, food on campus, getting the health and work permit, and adapting to Canadian winters. The webinars were thoroughly entertaining and knowledgeable. They helped me meet strangers who are now my closest friends from India because it is always good to have someone from your hometown in an unfamiliar country.
I would like to recall an instance. It was a webinar about on-campus cafes and places to eat. Being a vegetarian, I paid most attention to it. I read an Indian name in the chatbox and started a conversation with him, while Ana asking us to only ask questions in the chatbox. We exchanged our social media platforms and became friends. I made a group chat and after three webinars, there were 30 students from India going to Mac, getting to know each other beforehand. So everyone had a friend from the very first day at Mac.
ISS also organized Ignite, a three-day orientation program for international students before Welcome Week. Ignite helped all of us get to know Hamilton and McMaster. It was a great opportunity for us to know the campus and also get to know other international students very well. They took us to downtown Hamilton, Harbourfront and to the local theatre. We were taken utmost care by Ana and Andrew. I was overwhelmed by the entire procedure of ISS to conduct webinars and help international students to get to know Mac.
Preet Parikh is an international student from India who is currently in Engineering 1, moving into second year.