Each year, international students from the University of Victoria find themselves in a difficult position over the holidays: too far away to be with their families, but still settling into life in Victoria, and often lacking a secure social circle.
To help remedy the isolation that some of these students face, the UVic Global Community has created their “Holiday Dinner Program” as a way for international students to join local families in their holiday festivities while also sharing their own cultural traditions.
Students, staff, faculty, alumni and community members all open their homes to different students, creating an environment in which nobody has to worry about spending the holidays by themselves.
This year’s holiday dinner program runs from December 14th to December 30th, with dinners taking place across Greater Victoria throughout the holiday season.
Though applications are now closed for the dinner program, the UVic Global Community also offers opportunities for students and staff to build connections through their Mentorship and Conversation Partners programs.
Of the 22,000 or so students that attend UVic, about 18% are international students – a number that has consistently risen over the years as UVic’s reputation continues to grow.
These students come from over 100 different countries, and contribute to UVic’s dynamic campus community. While many international students find it easy to adapt to life in Victoria, others can find it to be challenging to be away from home and facing an entirely different culture.
To help counter this difficulty, and to ensure that all international students find a sense of home in Victoria, the UVic Global Community works to facilitate various connections between local and international students, creating a community that benefits all who engage with it.
While international students report feeling welcomed and included because of initiatives like the “Holiday Dinner Program,” locals also benefit from building cross-cultural connections and cultivating new friendships.