International students studying at UTM and Sheridan College received a warm welcome from the City of Mississauga on Friday evening.
Over 100 students originating from approximately 40 different countries were greeted by Mayor Hazel McCallion, UTM’s Principal Deep Saini, and Jeff Zabudsky, the president and CEO of Sheridan College, and other city staff in Mississauga’s City Hall Council Chamber.
Saini echoed McCallion’s greetings and spoke about the long-lasting relationship students will develop with U of T following their studies at the Mississauga campus.
“[There are] more than half a million University of Toronto graduates all over the world in close to 180 countries,” said Saini. “UTM this year will have more than 20% of students—one in five students—who have come from another country.”
Saini also reflected on his experience as an international student studying in Australia: “I remember those days; it was not easy to be in a completely foreign land.”
Natalie Meyer, a UTM exchange student visiting from Australia, expressed her excitement to learn about Canadian culture while studying in Mississauga.“I’ve never had a Thanksgiving before,” said Meyer at the event. She also expressed interest in experiencing Halloween: “We don’t really celebrate Halloween in Australia.”
Attendees also heard a brief history of the city and learned about the various recreational activities and services Mississauga offers. Students also had a chance to mingle with McCallion, Saini, Zabudsky, and fellow international students in the Civic Centre’s Great Hall.
International student Shawn Huang, a master of management and professional accounting from China, has already begun to experience Mississauga.
“I live with a local family,” said Huang, who has visited Mississauga and surrounding cities extensively with his host family. “They took me basically everywhere.”
Huang also expressed his interest in exploring hockey as a favourite Canadian sport. “Canadians are crazy about hockey,” he said.
“We want you to get to know the city [… and extend] a warm welcome,” said McCallion in her address. “Your presence and your background is so important to building a knowledge of the [cultures] of the different parts of the world.”