International students and alumni learn from each other

By: Gerry Rucchin
April 5, 2019

The Faculty of Education hosted its first cultural conversation lunch.

Thirty-eight students and 25 alumni discussed a variety of topics ranging from hobbies, skills, music and games.

The lunch, open to all international students at the Faculty of Education, included students from the Western English Language Centre (WELC).

For students – such as Angelica Silva, from Caracas, Venezuela –  their goal was to practice their English language skills.

“It’s been a wonderful experience,” said Silva. “The senior alumni have a special feeling for everyone at Western University.”

Francesca Geddes, WELC’s Social Engagement Coordinator, organized the event. She believes both groups benefit through their participation. The activity allows students to get involved at Western and for senior alumni to share their university experiences.

“It’s a great opportunity for students to meet others in the community and to get out of their Western bubble,” said Geddes. “It’s also a great way to get the alumni involved in the university because they get to know the students.”

Alumnus Dennis Beker participated in the lunch because he feels energized in the presence of younger people. He also enjoyed the conversations because he learned from students.

“We have one view of the world and one way to address things but there are many other ways to address issues,” said Beker.

Geddes hopes the cultural conversations become a regular occurrence. Lunch is a great way to let alumni know the university has become more internationalized since they graduated from Western. It also allows students to feel part of the London community.

“There is life after Western,” said Geddes. “They can make a friend in this room and maybe that friend will help them while they’re here.”