Meet Christa — Mount Allison’s International Student Advisor | Mount Allison


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Meet Christa — Mount Allison’s International Student Advisor

15 Mar 2018

Christa_Matson_IntlAdvisor_webWhen Christa Maston received her Bachelor of Science degree from Mount Allison, she didn’t envision herself working on campus less than ten years later.

“I planned to go into teaching. From Mount Allison, I earned my BEd and taught in South Korea and Hong Kong, as well as some ESL tutoring at Moncton High,” says Maston, who is originally from Miramichi, NB. “I started working at Mount Allison covering a maternity leave in 2012. When the position in the International Centre opened up, I was thrilled as it felt like the perfect fit for my experience and training.”

Maston is the International Student Advisor in Mount Allison’s International Centre. In this role, she oversees all services and programs for international students, in collaboration with other university departments and student groups on campus.

International students make up about 10 per cent of Mount Allison’s total student population and represent more than 50 countries worldwide.

Working with staff members from Student Affairs and other departments as well as a student chair and group of facilitators, one of Maston’s biggest events is International Orientation, held at the beginning of each academic year. The three-day event includes workshops, activities, and outings to help students prepare for their new experience at Mount Allison.

“International Orientation, like the University-wide Orientation program, helps our new students learn about services and resources on campus and in the community,” says Maston. “It’s a great chance for students to meet new friends and adjust to life in the region.” Another successful program, with a participation rate of over 80 per cent among first-year international students is the International student mentorship program.

The mentorship program sees first-year international students paired up with upper-year students by a student co-ordinator. The International Centre organizes group trips and activities around the Maritimes and on-campus activities during the academic year for the group and mentors and mentees meet a minimum of twice monthly.

Maston also helps to coordinate academic and other support services for international students throughout the year. This includes working with the International Student Success Coordinator, Academic Support Services, and Career Services to offer programs and events for all students, with a focus on international needs.

“Academic support services can look different for an international student, especially if English is not your first language,” says Maston. “One-on-one supports in these areas as well as other services are important for students to know about and make use of. For example, each year we hold tax workshops with student and community volunteers to assist international students with filing their Canadian taxes and we also work to assist student groups in celebrating different cultural events, such as Chinese New Year and Diwali.”

Maston has also worked with Mount Allison students to offer language and cultural workshops to the campus community and assisted in developing the University’s Racism and Racial Harassment Prevention and Response Policy.

Other wider events and services co-organized by the International Centre include International Education Week, held each November (which includes the popular World Bazaar in Sackville), February’s International Development Week, and the International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination on March 21.

Maston says current students, both international and Canadian, are essential to the Centre’s programs.

“Having connections with students, both international and Canadian, is really key for the Centre,” she says. “We work to partner with student groups whenever possible to help plan and promote events and activities.”
 

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