Become a member

Get the best offers and updates relating to Liberty Case News.

― Advertisement ―


Durham College’s spring open house draws more than 2,000 prospective students

More than 2,000 prospective students flocked to this year’s Durham College spring open house, with 166 attendees submitting applications for various programs, according to...
HomeNewsCampusInternational students find home away from home at DCSA gatherings

International students find home away from home at DCSA gatherings

Thavisha Thanippali, an international student pursuing a computer programming and analysis diploma, found herself at a crossroads common to many: the search for a community.

The turning point came when she decided to attend her first Durham College Student Association (DCSA) hosted event, an experience that introduced her to new friends and opened up a world of engagement she had not anticipated.

Thanippali’s experience highlights the challenges many students face in finding a welcoming community, underscoring the DCSA’s commitment to enhancing college life for its diverse body of over 13,600 full-time students, including more than 5,000 students from 60 countries.

According to DCSA’s website, it offers a wide range of support services, including emergency funds, lockers, legal advice, food banks, health plans, and counseling, to support students in every way possible.

Leanne Hearn, the events coordinator at DCSA, said that as a separate organization from Durham College, their “whole purpose” is to be there for the students.

Charles Wilson, the operations manager at DCSA, oversees various programs and services. He said the association is now providing more services to “students” than ever before, and more students are using its food bank than at any point in the organization’s history.

The food bank is available to students every Thursday.

According to Wilson, international students are the most frequent users of their services. To accommodate a variety of languages the students speak, they translate information about their services.

A man with dark hair wearing a red and black plaid shirt sitting at a table.
Charles Wilson, the operations manager at the Durham College Student Association, says DCSA offers a variety of benefits for students. Photo credit: Izza Adil

Despite the challenges, there are success stories. Wilson said through the hosted events, students who previously lacked opportunities to make friends on campus found these opportunities, fostering new connections. “We offer something for everyone,” he said, emphasizing the nature of the activities.

One such event, ‘Barbie Night’ on Feb. 22, attracted more than 100 students. Aayusa Yogi, a friend, and course mate of Thanippali, said as international students, DCSA events afford them an opportunity to “connect with people” and discover shared interests.

Thanippali said ‘Barbie Night’ served as a much-needed stress reliever following her challenging mid-term examination.

Saloni Rajput, another international student pursuing a Fitness and Health Promotion diploma, says DCSA events turn her into an “extrovert” because of the opportunity to interact with other students.

Rajput encourages fellow students to participate in DCSA events. “They will discover new things and new people, and they will know more about the other cultures.”

According to Hearn, such events create a feeling akin to a second home. She said, “I’ve had a lot of people tell me that they’ve made their best friendships [during this event].”

Gabi Rastas, a domestic student in the Advertising and Promotion Program, said the events offer students like herself opportunities to make “memories in college.”

A beige two-storey building with purple banners.
The Durham College Student Association building on the Oshawa campus is a one-stop shop for students. Photo credit: Izza Adil

DCSA provides a club program to meet students’ changing needs. Liz Chapman, student network and engagement coordinator, helps students find connections on campus and assists them through clubs, communities, or various engagement opportunities.

The DCSA club program allows students to engage in professional networking alongside personal connections. “We have a lot of great academic-focused clubs who love to network with alumni and members of the community,” said Chapman.

The DCSA uses a portion of student fees to provide these services.

“Know your benefits you, have some amazing benefits with DCSA; know them, [and] use them,” he said.