Building a Global Campus Community through Student Peer Engagement Initiatives

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International students bring the world to university campuses and communities across Canada. Navigating their settlement, cultural and academic adjustment is multifaceted with highs, lows, successes, and challenges that involve inter-personal and cross-cultural interactions that range from brief encounters to complex relationships of all kinds.

The intercultural and social benefits of a Student Peer Engagement Initiative foster inclusivity and global mindfulness, benefiting both international and domestic students, while contributing to smoother transitions, meaningful campus engagement throughout the student life-cycle, intercultural awareness that supports effective communication, and relationships that have the potential to be lifelong friendships. Through campus partnerships, programs, and community connections, involving students, staff and faculty, Student Peer Engagement Initiatives support international students’ settlement, academic success, and transition to the Canadian and global job market.

This webinar will present:

  • An overview of Student Peer Engagement Initiatives at the University of Alberta and the University of Victoria with a focus on international student leaders, social media, and intercultural competencies.
  • A live student performance, “Voices: international students navigating Canadian post-secondary” Members of the UVic Global Community Student Advisory Council will share their successes, challenges, significant relationships, services, and academic connections that contribute to their post-secondary experience in Canada and beyond.
  • A discussion on framing intercultural awareness, engagement and competencies in all aspects of program development.

At the end of this webinar participant will be provided:

  • A Framework for a Student Peer Engagement Initiative
  • Promotional strategies and materials for programs
  • Volunteer recruitment strategies and training materials
  • Communications samples, application forms, reporting and assessment templates
  • Student testimonials and links to current literature on cross-cultural competencies

About the Presenters

Gavin Palmer
Student Engagement Program Coordinator, University of Alberta International

Gavin Palmer has a Masters in Intercultural and International Communication and is a self-proclaimed student of perspective.He lived, worked and travelled for ten years in Asia and has a background in education and international tourism. He is very invested in the lived experiences of international students and works diligently to build intercultural competencies and foster values of inclusivity.  He enjoys camping, reading, swimming, spending time with his family, and a good craft beer.

Anne Cirillo
Coordinator, International Student Programs, International Student Services, University of Victoria

In 2013, Anne Cirillo launched the UVic Global Community Initiative in response to the university’s strategic objectives to build stronger intercultural connections, both on campus and around the globe. She also coordinates the ISS Exchange Program and works collaboratively with students, staff, and faculty to develop and offer programming and opportunities for international and domestic students to engage in culturally rich and reflective international education experiences. Anne has a Masters in Applied Theatre and is passionate about working with international students to devise and create performances and presentations that give voice to their lived experiences, challenges, successes, and goals in the Canadian post-secondary context.