Finding a family away from home
“When I arrived in the city in 2016 to study business at the University of Ottawa, I felt like I had landed in the middle of nowhere and was very lonely,” says Seka Wilfried Adon, an international student from the Ivory Coast. “I only had a few friends in Gatineau, so I joined InterVarsity Christian Fellowship (IVCF) at the university to meet other newcomers and Canadians.”
Cheralyn Post graduated from the University of Ottawa three years ago and for the past two years has worked full time as mentor and spiritual advisor at the IVCF. IVCF is an official campus club that works closely with student leaders, to create a space for students to participate in Bible studies, social events and outreach opportunities.
“IVCF’s role is to bring students together,” says Cheralyn. “We celebrate each other’s cultural holidays and have grown across so many cultures. The experience of working with Wilfried and other international students has really opened up my world too! Wilfried brings a real excitement when he walks into the room. He has a commitment to seeking and speaking the truth and helping others see what is true about them.”
“Through this club, Cheralyn welcomes students from all over the world for a weekly dinner gathering,” says Wilfried. “As international students, we often have a feeling of being lost, but this club is like finding a family away from home – with good people, great food, stimulating conversation and a chance to study the bible together.”
Although the core function of InterVarsity is for the members to meet about their faith, both Seka and Cheralyn chuckle when they agree that one of the draws of the club is sharing good food together. “I definitely come for the food too,” says Wilfried. But most importantly, Cheralyn has gone beyond the club activities to personally assist me when I needed it. That’s why she’s truly a Welcoming Ottawa Ambassador.”