UNB Alumni
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Supporting the international community

Author: Young Alumni

Posted on Aug 11, 2016

Category: Inspiring Stories , Young Alumni , UNB Saint John

Li Song, BA/BEd '08, Saint John

It takes passionate individuals like UNB young alumna, Li Song (BA, BEd ’08), to drive change in our communities. Since moving from China to Saint John in 2002 as an international student, Song has spent countless hours supporting multiculturalism in Saint John and giving back to the international community at UNB.

As the Newcomer Assistant for the Saint John Multicultural & Newcomers Resource Centre (SJMNRC), Song works with non-francophone newcomers helping them transition comfortably into their new home. Learning a second language and embracing a new culture are among the many challenges experienced by newcomers, and Song understands the obstacles they face daily.

"The first couple years can be really difficult," says Song. "I can help newcomers make the transition by reflecting on my own stages as an international citizen."

In addition to this role, Song also coordinates the SJMNRC’s volunteer program, arranging volunteer opportunities for newcomers in the community and managing the centre’s local volunteer base.

“Many of our newcomers want to experience the world and I think the best way is volunteering in the community," she explains. "That’s my belief. Volunteering helps you to understand the culture and grow your social network.”

International Alumni Panel, 2016

Song truly embodies this belief in both her professional and personal life. An avid volunteer, she lends her time and talent to various groups in the city, including organizing events with the Asian Heritage Society, sitting on the board of the Saint John Public Library, and offering emergency interpreter services to the Saint John Police Force, Horizon Health Network and Canadian Border Services.

This year, Song received an Outstanding Volunteer Service Award from the City of Saint John and in 2010 was named a New Brunswick Global Youth Ambassador by the Canadian International Development Agency.

“Learning is still such an important journey to me,” says Song. “I try to grasp any chance that I can to learn, to practice my English and meet new people.”

Song credits much of her success to UNB Saint John and the supportive professors she met along the way. During her time on campus, she took on several responsibilities as a student leader, including roles as President of the Chinese Student & Scholar Association, VP Internal for the Students' Representative Council, a board member for UNB's Positive Environment Committee and an English tutor with Saint John College.

“UNB has offered me a lot and has shaped me into who I am today,” she says. “It can be extremely difficult as an international student, but UNB really embraces multiculturalism and I owe so much to the university."

Since graduating in 2008 with a Bachelor of Arts in Sociology and a Bachelor of Education, Song has been a true asset to the Associated Alumni family and embodies what it means to be Proudly UNB.

Chinese Student-Alumni Reunion, 2016

 

Last month, over 50 people gathered for a Chinese student-alumni reunion, an event Song organizes every two years. Having also provided her time as a guest speaker in the classroom and as a one-on-one mentor, she has inspired students, alumni, faculty and staff across campus.

Song stresses the value of maintaining connections with international alumni, and giving back to the community that provided her with great opportunities and guidance.

“Giving back is important, because that’s how I grow. People help me and I help others, and we pass along the love and the support.”