GlobeMeet Your IO Team

A message from the International Orientation (IO) Chair: Aisha Matias Vega

AishaAisha Matias Vega

Year: 3rd 
Home Country: Mexico
Program: International Relations

Hi Mounties! Welcome to Canada and Mount Allison! I am beyond excited for being your international orientation chair this year! My name is Aisha and I’m a third-year International Relations student from Mexico. I was an exchange student here in New Brunswick during my last two years of high school, and even though I was already familiar with the Canadian lifestyle and culture, I found International Orientation to be extremely helpful and the best way of starting University. And I, along with your facilitators, will make sure that you feel the same way about it and make the most of it!

I know that going to University can be stressful and scary at first (especially if you are a first-year student), and so going to University in a country with different traditions, weather, and food can be even more stressful and scarier! This is why I encourage you to come to IO because it gives you exactly what you need to reduce these feelings by providing you with important information that will be useful throughout your time at MtA and it also gives you the opportunity to meet other students from all over the world!

If I could give you one piece of advice, it would be to enjoy everything you do during your stay. I know it sounds cheesy but I’m being serious. You are having the opportunity to study abroad, and it doesn’t matter if it’s for one semester or for four years, believe me, time will pass by way too fast. So, whether it is IO, the weather, your classes or this cute little town, try to enjoy every aspect of it!

I can’t wait to meet all of you in August! Have a great summer!

International Orientation (IO) Facilitators


Vincent Salabarria

Year: 4th
Home Country: United States and Canada
Program: Psychology

Hello everyone and welcome to Mount Allison! My name is Vincent Salabarria, and I’m starting my second year studying psychology.

Last year, I moved from the Constitution State, Connecticut, in the United States to the Birthplace of Confederation, Prince Edward Island, here in Canada.

International Orientation will provide you all with a wonderful opportunity to acclimate to friendly Canadian life. Definitely use your time before classes to learn where things are located, understand the university’s academic expectations, and meet new friends!

I can’t wait to see you all in August!



Shannon Dill

Year: 3rd
Home Country: Bermuda
Program: Geography

Hey guys! We're all so happy that you decided to make MtA your home for the next few years! My name is Shannon and I'm from Bermuda (yes like the triangle haha). I am going into my third year majoring in Geography with a minor in GIS and Sociology.

IO was a great experience because I met some of my best friends during this time! It allowed me to create a solid foundation before everyone else arrived. When the rest of the students arrived it made the transition into university life way smoother because I already knew where everything was on campus and had people I could lean on during the first few weeks of school. IO is a super helpful way to ease yourself into the Canadian culture and lifestyle.

School flies by way faster than you expect! That being said, always try to step out of your comfort zone and try new things. Hang out with new people, try ice skating (I did this and fell way too many times), walk around Waterfowl and see what Sackville has to offer.

It can be scary starting university, especially moving to a different country, but don't worry! We are all here to help and support you! I can't wait to meet you all, see you soon!


Mearon Muguleta

Year: 2nd
Home Country: Ethiopia
Program: Psychology

What’s up guys welcome to IO and Mount A!! I’m Mearon Mulugeta (feel free to call me Mary) and I am from Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. I’m more than happy and delighted to be one of your IO facilitators this year. One of my main reasons why I wanted to be a facilitator was because my facilitators welcomed me and made me feel I had a home here, when I first arrived. It really helped me get rid of my nerves and fears of moving to a new place really far and different from home! So I wanted to be as helpful as they were to me. IO will help you guys get ready for life in Sackville and lets you know everything you need to know about life at MtA and in Canada. I am very excited to meet you guys and share experiences from all around the world. Sackville is a small place so it won’t be hard for you guys to make friends easily. I really hope to meet you guys at IO and that you have a really memorable time! Safe trip!


Weiting Li

Year: 2nd
Home Country: China
Program: Computer Science

Hi incoming Mounties! My name is Weiting, and I can’t wait to meet you all during the IO week!

I grew up in Hunan, China, transferred to Los Angeles during my Junior year to finish my high school, and now I’m finishing my bachelor’s degree in this beautiful town of Sackville, Canada!

Trust me, I know how studying in another country while adjusting yourself to the culture can be intimidating, that’s why I definitely encourage you to take this chance of International Orientation and get used to it as early as possible! We will walk you through university life step by step so don’t worry even if you are new to the country/culture!

Hope to see you all in August!


Sabriyya Harvey

Year: 3rd
Home Country: Bermuda
Program: Visual Arts

Hey guys, I’m Sabriyya and I hope that you’re excited to begin your journey at Mount Allison.

This is my first year as an International Orientation Facilitator and I am very excited to meet all of you.

My experience during international orientation is one of my favorite memories at Mount A, as it prepared me for my transition into Canada and allowed me to create so many friendships.

I hope that this year we can build a family of friends who support each other while having a lot of fun. Have a great summer and see you all very soon!


Linnear B.

Linnea Bidder

Year: 2nd
Home Country: Canada
Program: Psychology

Hello new friends! My name is Linnea and I am originally from a small ski town in British Columbia, Canada. Growing up I lived in Russia for three years, Zambia for six years, and spent my high school in South Korea.

I love to travel, try different foods, meet new people and learn new languages! I remember feeling so nervous to come to Mount A but IO was one of the biggest things that made my transition here so much easier! From the first day you arrive it’s inevitable that you’ll make friends and this doesn’t stop throughout the rest of your year.

I’m so excited for Mount A to be your new home and I can’t wait to welcome you to it!



Saarah Ali

Year: 2nd
Home Country: Trinidad and Tobago
Program: Fine Arts and Biology

Hello everyone and welcome to Mount Allison, your new home away from home! My name is Saarah and I can’t express how excited I am to meet all of you. I can honestly say IO was the warmest and most welcoming experience and it made me feel very much at home, regardless of all my nerves. I joined IO so that I can help you in this way too and help this transition be as comfortable and openhearted as possible!

As a Fine Art major, it’s easy to say art is one of my favourite things to do, particularly sculpture, printmaking and other art medium. I love all genres of music, cooking and eating amazing food, spending time with my dog (since I’m a dog person to my soul), socializing and meeting new people, travelling the world (sounds cliché but its true) and sleeping… if I’m not around, I’m napping.

Coming from the Caribbean where cultures are very different, Sackville life may seem small at first, there is a lot to do if you know where to look and friendly faces to keep you company. If you ever see me around please don’t be afraid to say hi or if you need a hug I’m always there! Travel safe everybody and I'll see you all very soon.


Seena Katayama

Year: 2nd
Home Country: Japan
Program: PPE

Hi everyone, welcome to Mount A! My name is Seena and I’m so excited for you to come to the international orientation this fall.

I’m from Japan and coming to Canada was a life-changing event in my life but because of IO, the transition was smooth and I met so many wonderful international students and facilitators.

It might be nerve-racking and scary but fear not, the IO facilitators are here to give you advice and support you through the beginning of the next chapter of your life!

Come on an adventure with us… to international orientation!



Ross Putney

Year: 2nd
Home Country: Canada
Program: PPE and Spanish

Hello and welcome to Mount Allison! I’m Ross and I’ll be one of the facilitators for this year’s International Orientation. I’m from British Columbia, I am in my second year and I study PPE (Philosophy, Political Science, and Economics) and Spanish.

A couple of years ago I did an exchange in Bolivia, so I understand exactly how it feels before, during, and after exchange. Thankfully, International Orientation is an amazing way to reduce the anxiety and ease you into life at MtA. You’ll meet new friends, explore the incredible nightlife at Ducky’s, and gain the tools to confidently achieve your goals at MtA and in Canada.

My only advice for incoming students is to be open minded, be willing to try new things, and prepare yourself for the wind. Sackville wind is no joke!

Don’t hesitate to reach out to me or any of the other facilitators if you have questions. We are here to help and assist you and we welcome the opportunity to do so. Apart from that I look forward to being there for all of you as you embark on this incredible year of your life. See y’all in August fellow Mounties!


Serena Tess

Year: 3rd
Home Country: Taiwan
Program: Fine Arts

My name is Serena and I am a second year Fine-Arts student from Taiwan.

This is my first time being an IO facilitator because I remember how it helped me get familiar with Mount A and its surrounding through the warm guidance and friendships I received there, which greatly eased my anxiety of transitioning into the university life, especially in a foreign country.

My piece of advice would be making as many friends as you can when your life is not too overwhelming by schoolwork. I really would love the incoming student to have an experience as good as I did.



Minaho A.

Minaho Ae

Year: 4th
Home Country: Japan
Program: International Relations

Hi Everyone! Welcome to Mount Allison! I am very excited to meet all of you in International Orientation!

A fun fact about myself is that I fell in love with Latin American culture after coming to Canada. I started taking Spanish classes at Mount Allison and have since traveled to three Latin American countries: Honduras, Peru, and Mexico. So what I want to say to you is that you never know what you’ll encounter in this new adventure, so just be open-minded to learn about new things!

IO is definitely going to be a wonderful opportunity for you to get to know other 1st-year international students and to build a connection with upper-year students as well! Please don’t hesitate to ask us about anything on your mind! I can’t wait to meet you all in August!!!


Thorique Mckenzie

Year: 2nd
Home Country: Bahamas
Program: Biology

Hey! Yah Doe! Hello Future Mounties! Welcome to Sackville and Mount Allison University your new home!

My name is Thor and I’m from the Bahamas. I can’t wait to show you around our sweet little town and present you with all the awesome things it has to offer!

Unfortunately, I missed International Orientation but hearing my friends talk about how exciting and long lasting it was makes me even more excited to meet you guys! My plan is to help you experience the same and if not better.

Take it from a Bahamian, don’t be afraid of the of the cold or snow weather — just get a really big jacket, humongous boots, and with the love from the facilitators you should feel right at home! We’re a new kind of small town, we have everything you need. So be ready to have lots of fun, make lots of friends, and long lasting memories! Save traveling, and I’ll see you in August!


Nathalia Van Ginkel

Year: 2nd
Home Country: South Africa & Colombia
Program: Aviation

Hey guys !!! I’m Nathalia and I would like to welcome you to Mount Allison !!!

I’m currently going into my second year in Aviation. I’m from both Colombia and South Africa and can’t wait to see all the different parts of the world you guys will be coming from.

I really hope all of you get the chance to attend international orientation, not only because I wanna meet all of you but because I want you to experience the amazingness that is IO. Moving away from home can be difficult, I get that, but I promise IO will help so much with that (it helped me at least), just look at it as an extra step to get you adjusted to university life in general.

During my O-week I realized how easy it is to meet new people, some of the people I met during that time are my closest friends today. I made some of my best memories and we will all try our best to give you that same experience. One of the best tips I can think of (and I’m sure most of us will say the same thing) is to give everything a try, step out of your comfort zone and don’t say no. you’ll never know what you’ll be missing out on. You always end up regretting the things you didn’t do.

You can’t believe how excited I am and I can’t wait to meet all of you guys in just a few months.