headSTART at Centennial College

We spoke with Lauren Atmore from Centennial College to learn more about an initiative  Centennial has taken to ensure the International Students studying at their college have a “headSTART” when is comes to getting adjusted to life on Campus.  

headSTART is a pre-arrival program designed to get international students prepared for their first day at Centennial college.  It lives on “MyCentennial” which is Centennial’s version of Blackboard. The program gives students exclusive content two months before their first semester begins.

The program is organized into three sections:Academic, Professional and Personal. Each section is accompanied by a live webinar where international students are able to talk to staff and students at Centennial to get their questions answered before they arrive.

The Academic section includes information from the student’s academic departments to help them get ready for their program. This is where they can hear from current students and faculty on how they can excel in their studies at Centennial.

The Professional section includes useful tips from Centennial’s Career Services team to help students get familiarized with the Canadian workplace.

Finally, the Personal section includes important logistical information, such as arranging for accomodation, immigration matters and arriving at the airport. It also includes some very valuable information such as health insurance and Mental Health Services.

In addition to explaining to students what Mental Health Services are available to them as a student at Centennial, headSTART also identifies some of the specific challenges that international students tend to face such as:

  • Cultural stresses
  • Language barriers
  • Differences in expectations (what the student expects and what the family expects)
  • How to deal with something at home when students are thousands of miles away

There is also an additional feature where students can join headSTART on Facebook to allow them to expand their personal and professional networks

Have you been inspired to create something similar at you institution? Feel free to connect with us to let us know how your campus has helped your international students get adjusted!

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