Students from all over the world mingled on the lawn of Tabaret Hall on Aug. 30. Photo: Rame Abdulkader.
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U of O International Office hosts meet-and-greet for both international and Canadian students

On Aug. 30, around 400 international and Canadian students met on Tabaret lawn for a summer bash that sought to welcome in the new school year.

The event was hosted by the University of Ottawa’s International Office and it featured a DJ, bean bag chairs, a hand drummer, and a massive barbeque that everyone was welcome to.

“It’s (an opportunity) to welcome all international students from all over the world,” explained Natalie Morris, a representative from U of O’s International Office, “and it’s a chance for Canadians to meet international students as well and mingle and learn about different cultures.”

Indeed, most people were mingling. There were only a few tables at the event so, many students were standing, talking, or dancing with one another.

“Community Life (Service) started organizing (this event) four years ago,” said Morris. “The (international) orientation is a week before classes start and there was nothing happening at night for our students, so we decided to welcome them.”

The event was part of the larger undergraduate international student orientation, which lasted three days and began on Aug. 29. The office had also coordinated a city-wide scavenger hunt, a board game night, and an international meet-and-greet.

“(The meet-and-greet) is actually at 1848, and it’s more of a party (than the international hangout). They’ve accommodated 17 and 18 year-olds, so they just don’t have a bracelet to drink. So, it’s awesome.”

This year at the U of O, there are roughly 6,000 international students and 250-300 exchange students who will be attending for a sole semester. However, many of the new arrivals have only been the country for a few days.

“(I’ve only been in Canada) since Monday (Sept. 27),” said Martin Lindgren, a third-year theoretical physics student from Sweden who is attending the U of O this fall semester. “I knew I wanted to come to Canada. So, I just applied for a couple different universities in Canada and this is where I stuck.”

For Max af Klercker, a fourth-year social sciences student from Sweden who also only arrived three days earlier, he had already noticed some differences from his home institution. “One of the biggest differences is the campus and university … this is like a small city. We don’t really have that (where I’m from).”

Neither of the two students have been in the country long enough to experience many culture shocks, since they had only arrived three days prior, but they did have large aspirations for experiencing Canadian culture. “One thing everybody (told) me when I (told) them (that I was) going to Ottawa,” explained al Klercker, “(was that I) have to see a Sens game.”

Throughout the month of September, the International Office will offer numerous events and services for international students that can be found on their website.