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Creating a Home Away from Home

by Eddie Rayner

For students pursuing rigorous degrees abroad, such as medicine, having a sense of community and creating a home away from home is fundamental to wellness and success. Fortunately, there are many ways for students to acclimatise and find support on campus at St. George’s University (SGU) Grenada, in the Caribbean. Dr Lucy Clunes, Dean of Students at SGU, shares three pieces of advice with students to help them make the most of their education.

Seek Mentorship Opportunities

It’s normal for university students to feel like they need some additional support during certain points in their educational journey. Dr Clunes highlights the importance of seeking mentorship from different individuals, as areas of expertise vary between departments, explaining: “Students are encouraged to seek guidance from all faculty members. Faculty are always available to help guide students, and anyone can be approached for mentorship opportunities.”

“Students are encouraged to seek guidance from all faculty members”

Take Advantage of the Dedicated Support Services on Campus

Resources for students include academic and non-academic support, such as assisting with accommodations and accessibility requirements, helping international students with transit visas, providing health and psychological services, and familial support. Students can get involved on campus through a variety of organisations and societies, such as the student government association, recreational activities, cultural, spiritual, and academic organisations, intermural sports, and events on and off campus.

Prioritise your Physical and Mental Health

Dr Clunes emphasises the importance of managing both mental and physical health, especially given the stress and pressure of being a student. “Balance is critical since efficiency productivity as a student requires you to be physically and mentally healthy,” said Dr Clunes. Students are encouraged to take care of their health by taking advantage of the wellness centre on their university campus and considering mindfulness and fitness activities like yoga, cardio, and high-intensity interval training. Some universities that focus on the health of their students, such as SGU, offer well-being days throughout the semester alongside treatments from weekly massages to aromatherapy.

Resources for students include academic and non-academic support

To summarize, Dr Clunes emphasised the importance of students taking care of themselves by taking advantage of the wellness and mentorship opportunities that their university provides. She describes a university campus as a community where students should receive as much guidance and support as they need while acclimating to a new environment.