Last fall, three international students, arrived to a new school in a new country. Not sure where to go, they started by attending our Centre for Entrepreneurship and Engineering Design (CEED) open house. Four months later, they’re all employed at CEED as student mentors and teaching assistants. But how did they get there? Meet Tej, Rani, and Vishal.
Tej Kanwar Purewal
Tej is currently pursuing his master’s in Mechanical Engineering, and is a student mentor with CEED. With his background in engineering design, he was immediately interested in knowing more about what CEED was doing and getting involved in their activities, starting by volunteering. From there, Tej has found his place as a teaching assistant and a student mentor. Now, he helps host CEED’s orientation sessions for international graduate students, and provides advice and guidance to fellow students. Upon coming to Canada, Tej was pleasantly surprised at how approachable, friendly, and helpful Canadians are, and he encourages other international students not to be afraid of approaching people with questions.
Tej’s words of wisdom:
“At first, I didn’t think I would get into my program and now I feel lucky that I did. I didn’t think I would get this job with CEED, and now I feel lucky that I did. Don’t think you can’t achieve your goals; go through each step, and remind yourself, “I have the power to change things; it can be done”.
After completing her undergraduate studies in biomedical engineering, Rani realized that she would have more opportunities in her field outside of India. Her path lead her to pursue her master’s in Biomedical Engineering at uOttawa. CEED and the international office offers many events for international students, and Rani eagerly attended as many as she could, including a 3D printing workshop in the Makerspace. This gave her the opportunity to get involved in CEED through volunteering at the Makerspace, and now, as a teaching assistant, she coaches students as they work through their own projects.
Rani’s words of wisdom:
“Go and see what events are going on and participate in every event that interests you. Don’t forget there are other opportunities outside of class. Find time to explore because your exchange is not just about studying – you need to find a balance”.
Vishal is currently at uOttawa to pursue his master’s in Mechanical Engineering, and is a teaching assistant with CEED. Even as a more introverted person, he jumped at the opportunity to learn more about CEED through their events for international students, and eventually got further involved through volunteering at the Makerspace. When he saw the job opening for the teaching assistant position, he felt confident in applying because his experience as a volunteer had already helped establish his place within CEED. This international experience has helped Vishal build his confidence in speaking to his peers and professors. He is even considering changing his program to a project-based degree because now he knows many professors who would like to help him.
Vishal’s words of wisdom:
“I’m an introverted person, so volunteering really helped me with approaching people and making connections. There are many opportunities to volunteer on campus, and it’s important because you need to have a network, you need to know people and make friends.”