Centennial College is known as one of the most culturally diverse colleges in Canada. With representation from almost a 100 different ethno-cultural groups and with more than 80 languages spoken on campus, international students are an integral part of the Centennial community.  

SchoolApply interviewed Centennial College postgraduate student, Ikenna Chinedu Njoku, about his experience as an overseas student. He opens up about living away from home, adjusting to a new environment, joining a vibrant community at the College, and his advice to those wanting to apply abroad.

CENTENNIAL COLLEGE

Location: Toronto, Canada

Centennial

Student Name: Ikenna Chinedu Njoku

Age: 25

From: Nigeria

Program: Biomedical Engineering

Expected Graduation: April 2017

Quickfire Questions

Favourite class: Medical Imaging. The professor was very engaging and made sure that students understood the class content and materials.

Favourite school events: I enjoyed attending the Leadership Conference, the Global Learning Experience, and the career fairs because these events give students the opportunity to network on various levels.

First five words that come to mind when you think of Centennial: Welcoming, supportive, diversity, opportunity and enlightening.

Centennial

Why did you decide to study in Canada and what made you decide on Centennial College?  

I decided to pursue my higher education in Canada because of its multicultural society. I wanted the opportunity to meet different people from various cultures and backgrounds. I chose Centennial College because it was one of the few schools in Canada that offered my field of choice, Biomedical Engineering.

Centennial College also offered me the opportunity to study Biomedical Engineering on a Fast-Track Program. As a qualified graduate who already has a degree, the school offered direct admission into the third semester of my program. It allowed a transfer of credits from my previous program in Prosthetics and Orthotics, which enabled me to complete an accelerated diploma program at Centennial as a postgraduate student.

Why did you decide to major in Biomedical Engineering?  

There is a great demand for hospital equipment in Nigeria, and with this there is also a need for troubleshooting and preventive maintenance of these machines. I had previously completed a program in Prosthetics and Orthotics in Nigeria, and Biomedical Engineering is an advancement of my first degree.  

Having never lived outside of Nigeria, moving to Canada must have been a big transition. Did you have any problems adjusting to life in Toronto or at Centennial College?

The cold weather was totally new to me, as Nigeria has a warmer climate. I really had a problem dealing with the cold temperatures and I fell sick a few times. However, with time, I was able to adjust by investing in very warm clothes and sweaters! The new friends I made and the people I lived with helped me adapt to the new culture and eased my homesickness.

Centennial

Tell us about your overall experience as an international student at Centennial College.

The style of teaching in Canada is very different from Nigeria. At Centennial, there are more hands-on, practical sessions where you get to try out whatever the professor has discussed in class.

The great thing about Centennial College is that you never really feel alone because the school has a large number of international students. In addition to this, the school has a Student Centre that keeps students up-to-date with social activities happening on campus. There is also an International Centre staffed with people who are responsible for handling all international student related issues as well as keeping overseas students up-to-date with their study permits, co-op work permits, health insurance and a whole lot more.

Do you participate in any extracurricular activities at Centennial College?

I took part in the Global Citizenship and Equity Learning Experiences (GCELEs) offered at the college. This program offers global and domestic service learning opportunities to students. I took part in the program called “Permaculture Cuba: Pathways to Community Food Security” where I practiced sustainable agricultural production using environmentally sound and socially conscious methods.

I also volunteer for many different activities on campus through the Centennial International Student Ambassador (CISA) Program. As a CISA, I help first-year international students settle into their new lives in Canada and at Centennial by volunteering for events like orientation, information sessions, trips, tours and social activities.

I am also a Student Crew Ambassador for incoming students, and a member of the Student Support Staff within the College. I help new and current students navigate their way through college life as well as provide assistance with student registration and schedules.

Centennial

What are your plans after you graduate and how has Centennial prepared you for life after college?

After graduation, I plan on staying in Canada and working within the healthcare industry. I am looking forward to becoming a biomedical engineer!

Centennial has given me the tools to be successful in my professional career; it has provided me with both theoretical and practical knowledge of how to apply my education to the real world. It has taught me how to work with others to solve problems and create solutions to a wide range of issues.

What words of wisdom would you like to impart on international students who are considering Centennial College?

I would highly recommend Centennial College to international students. The school has great professors who have experience within the industry, numerous extracurricular activities and events, Global Learning experiences as well as student leadership distinctions. The College has been a great place of learning and support while I’ve lived away from my family and friends in Nigeria. I advise students to be prepared for a new but engaging academic system, and to take part in activities and organisations outside of the classroom. The social network that you build by interacting with other students is remarkably helpful in the “settling-in” process. You will see that you are not alone and that most first-year students, international or not, are all trying to transition into their new lives. Take advantage of the new opportunities offered to you by Centennial!

If you are interested in Centennial College, apply now!