Floxy Akhuetie, International Student
Before leaving Nigeria to pursue her graduate degree, Floxy Akhuetie contacted the Queen’s University International Centre (QUIC) to get more information about housing in Kingston. Hanna Stanbury, QUIC’s promotion and volunteer coordinator, connected Ms Akhuetie with two community volunteer hosts with the QUIC Host Program who have guided her transition.
“Fortunately for me, Pastor Ade and Olu Sobanjo are originally from Nigeria. They were really nice and I could just tell them how I was feeling about adapting to life in Canada,” says Ms Akhuetie, who is focused on environmental studies in Stephen Brown’s laboratory.
The naturally gregarious international student initially struggled to get comfortable with the Canadian culture.
“In my country, people are very friendly, but Canadians keep more to themselves. I walked by people I just met and they didn’t say hello even when I said hi,” she says. “I almost cried but Pastor Ade and Ms Sobanjo calmed me down and explained that it was cultural and not personal. I am grateful that Ms Stanbury introduced me to them because otherwise it would have been more difficult to adjust.”
Ms Akhuetie decided to give back to QUIC by offering temporary accommodations to incoming exchange students earlier this semester and representing QUIC at the School of Graduate Studies orientation.
Dr. Brown and Christy Dunkinson, senior microbiologist on the research team, eased Ms Akhuetie’s transition as well. She gained valuable experience working in his lab over the summer and at ENDETEC, the water testing company based on his research.
Even though many of Ms Akhuetie’s peers travelled to the United Kingdom for graduate studies, she wanted to follow a different path. The Canadian lifestyle appealed to her, and she found that Queen’s fit her educational goals. Eventually, Ms Akhuetie would like to earn her PhD, and would weigh what Canada and Nigeria have to offer before deciding where to work.
Visit the QUIC website to learn more about the support and resources it offers to all members of the Queen’s community.