Supporting International Students

Ask the Experts: CICMH Webinar Series #31

Many international students do not readily seek mental health supports, despite facing multiple challenges in their transition to a new country and educational system. This webinar will look at some of the barriers to access, including stigma of mental health issues, differing cultural perceptions of the definitions, causes, and handling of mental health, and a lack of awareness of supports offered on and off campus. We will discuss ways to overcome these barriers while taking into account the cross-campus collaborations needed to enhance support for international students.


Nadia D’Lima oversees international student services and programs at Centennial College. She holds a Bachelor of Social Work degree from Ryerson University, Toronto. With over ten years of experience in advising international students in Canada, developing programs to promote student engagement & support co-curricular learning, and managing an interdisciplinary team of student affair professionals, Nadia has learned that the real experts on the subject are international students themselves.

Miguel Litonjua is a community builder. He is a graduate of Centennial’s Community Development and Work Place Health and Promotion Program. His role as Wellness Facilitator in the International Services and Global Experience department was created last year in response to some of health and wellbeing needs of our students. Miguel has supported and initiated events and programs in collaboration with other departments on campus to promote a sense of wellbeing and offer opportunities for dialogue for students.

Ali Dohadwala is a Registered Psychotherapist in Ontario, and has a Masters in Counselling Psychology from the University of Victoria. During his Masters, he was involved in research projects that aimed to identify factors influencing student well-being, specifically for international students. Ali initially worked as a counsellor at Morneau Shepell, and later joined the counselling team at GBC in 2015. He has worked with a wide range of student concerns since starting at the college, but he continues to develop his focus on supporting international students with the unique challenges to their mental health and access to services. Ali is acutely aware of the adjustment challenges this population faces as a result of his own experience as an international student in New Zealand in 2006.

Ashley Sullivan is the Manager, International Student Integration and Support at George Brown College in Toronto and has over 9 years’ experience working in the Ontario College sector. Ashley’s current work is focused on supporting the positive integration of international students by introducing them to the local community, on-campus resources, and on-going support throughout their life at the college and beyond. Ashley is a Regulated International Student Immigration Advisor (RISIA). She holds a Bachelor of Arts (Honours) in English Literature and History from Trent University and a Bachelor of Education from the University of Ontario Institute of Technology. She is currently working towards a Masters of Professional Education, specializing in International Education, at Western University.

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