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Open doors

Internationalization Office celebrates new space with community

Student Life

By Jennifer Batten

It was maximum capacity at Memorial’s Internationalization Office in Corte Real on Sept. 17.

Internationalization Office open house
Students, faculty, staff and community partners celebrated the newly renovated space.
Photo: Rich Blenkinsopp

Students, faculty, staff and community members gathered for an open house and welcome event to celebrate the re-opening of Memorial’s Internationalization Office (IO). The IO is a hub of support and services for international and domestic students.

From the new space, located in the Corte Real building next to Burton’s Pond apartments on the St. John’s campus, Internationalization Office staff and student employees deliver programming to assist students with transition, immigration and career exploration, support families, discover learning abroad opportunities and more.

‘Social, cultural and learning centre’

“A huge thank you to all those who have worked to make this possible,” said Sonja Knutson, director of the Internationalization Office.

Sonja Knutson director Internationalization Office
Sonja Knutson, director, IO, addresses the crowd at the open house.
Photo: Rich Blenkinsopp

“Many champions worked behind the scenes in various capacities to make this day happen. You can all take pride, as we do, that the vision for an internationalization office as a social, cultural and learning centre for all, is finally realized.”

In addition to the open house, presented in partnership with the City of St. John’s, the event featured the Association for New Canadians Global Eats food truck. Participants included Chris Mitchelmore, minister, Advanced Education, Skills and Labour; Debbie Hanlon, councillor, City of St. John’s; Dr. Noreen Golfman, provost and vice-president (academic); and Ahmed Shokr, an international student from Egypt who has worked as a student assistant with the Internationalization Office and experienced its supports first-hand.

The Global Eats food truck was a big hit with attendees.
Photo: Rich Blenkinsopp

‘Welcoming and supportive’

Mr. Shokr praised the IO for its role in helping him forge a path as a newcomer to the province and to Memorial.

“I remember clearly the first time I arrived here in St. John’s four years ago,” said Mr. Shokr.

“The first office I visited at Memorial just after my plane landed was the Internationalization Office. I found the office and staff to be very welcoming and supportive. I didn’t know anyone, I had no one with me, my English wasn’t as good either; but that day, I felt welcomed. The staff helped me settle in and provided me with all the information and resources I needed as a new international student here at Memorial University.”

A student adds her message to a wall mural.
Photo: Rich Blenkinsopp

International students from more than 115 countries currently make up about 18 per cent of Memorial’s student body.

“It is great to see the number of students from all over the word increasing – our university community is stronger, more vibrant, innovative and progressive because of the diversity of the people who choose to study here,” said Dr. Golfman, as she addressed the large crowd gathered for the open house.

“This new space will help the IO continue to offer the best supports and services to the students who need them.”

Students, faculty and staff interested in learning more about the IO and the services it provides are encouraged to drop in or email to make an appointment.

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