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Warm welcome

Airport greeting service helps students adjust to new surroundings

special feature: Welcome Week 2018

Part of a special back to school featuring student voices, student success and important resources available to Memorial University students.

By Jennifer Batten and Abigail Lush

The Internationalization Office first began offering an airport greeting service for new international students in 2001.

The program helps students who may be arriving after long flights and days of travel across continents to gather their belongings, get their bearings and get to campus with a helping hand.

airport greeter program
Killol, a student volunteer with the airport greeter program greets fellow student OreOluwa.
Photo: Chris Hibbs

The service is being offered once again this year, running until Sept. 12. Students are able to request a greeting for all flights arriving at John’s International Airport (YYT) during this time.

First impressions

The service is intended to make new international students feel welcomed and informed upon arrival.

That first meeting face-to-face with a Memorial student greeter is a first impression for most new students from other countries, and it comes with advice and support that is essential to a successful early transition to campus life.

“These greetings are something our new students will never forget as their first experience in St. John’s.” — Valeri Pilgrim

Valeri Pilgrim, international student advisor, says that the program is not only appreciated by students, but also helps shape student opinions of the Memorial community.

“It is so important to welcome new students to St. John’s when they arrive at the airport to make their first encounter a genuinely friendly and helpful experience,” she said. “These greetings are something our new students will never forget as their first experience in St. John’s, and their appreciation about our community will reach across the globe.”

This is true for Killol Chokshi, an international student who availed of the airport greeting service, and is now on the other end of the program working as a greeter.

“It was a great feeling to have someone waiting at the airport for me in a completely new place where I had no friends or family,” said Mr. Chokshi.” My airport greeter welcomed me, made me feel safe and made sure I had all my belongings with me.”

Request a greeting

The airport greeting staff are current full time students who participate in training with the arrivals co-ordinator prior to the start of the program.

Greeters record new student arrivals at the airport, assist with luggage and transportation, and ensure accommodations are ready. They also provide new international students with information about the university, the city of St. John’s and the Internationalization Office.

More information about the airport greeting service is available here.

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