Student Spotlight: Anneliesea Parkinson | Assiniboine Community College
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Student Spotlight: Anneliesea Parkinson

Student Spotlight: Anneliesea Parkinson

Written On: 21 March, 2017
Category: Student Spotlight
Related programs:  Business Administration

For one Assiniboine student, adjusting to life in Canada meant getting used to more than just the cold winter months.

Anneliesea Parkinson moved to Manitoba from Jamaica to pursue her dream of starting a non-profit. She holds a degree in Social Work from her home country and decided that the college’s Business Administration program was the next step on her journey.  “I came here to pursue business studies because I thought it would be a good fit for what I want to do,” she said. “Business Administration was a great compliment to my degree.” 

She has a particular fondness for art and the outdoors. “I don’t necessarily like the snow, but I’m actually looking forward to doing new activities like skating and ice fishing,” she said. Moving to Canada was a no-brainer for Anneliesea. With family already here, she’s able to be closer to them while studying. “It has made things a lot easier,” she said. They are a support system that makes studying in a new country a lot easier.  

She arrived last August in what she refers to as ‘not summer’.  The cold is a new experience for her coming from an island where it is summer all year round. “What I don’t like about Canada is having to put on six pieces of clothing just to get out the front door,” she laughed. “I like the outdoors, and I’m slowly adjusting to the weather.”  

She finds Canadians more reserved compared to people from Jamaica. In her culture, people hug a lot, smile and talk with exaggeration. And according to her, Canada is family-orientated, something she appreciates. “Not having the stores open until late was a culture shock to me, but I can appreciate that because family is everything to me.” Another aspect of Canada that Anneliesea loves is the sense of security. “Being in an environment and not having to worry if something is going to happen when I turn the corner is a great feeling.” 

And while there are many benefits to life in Canada, there are several things that she misses from her homeland. “Food,” she said with reverence. “The first week here I practically starved as I didn’t like anything that I was eating.” She misses Jamaica’s beaches, her friends, and certain family traditions. “There is a big market night where you can go out and do all your shopping together on Christmas Eve,” said Anneliesea.  She remembers fondly the comradery on that yearly night. 

The Business Administration program at Assiniboine is fast-paced and extensive, which at times feels like a real challenge for Anneliesea. “Every day, the same five courses at the same time accumulates to not a lot of time leftover to study,” she said. 

The Jamaican and Canadian education systems are different in her eyes. The Business Administration program at Assiniboine is an intensive, comprehensive program. “My biggest issue is the workload in the program. I was doing my degree in Jamaica before coming here and I did not feel this overwhelmed.” 

In five years’ time, she sees herself settled in a job working in social services in Canada. She has big plans to give back to her homeland too.  “I would also like to give back to Jamaica by starting a non-profit venture concentrating on children or mental health,” she said. 

She plans to stay in Manitoba when she graduates. “I really like Manitoba. It is just the small town, country living which I like.”

Anneliesea has fully immersed herself in the college experience. She’s currently the Vice-President of Finance for the Students’ Association and shares the role of Acting President with fellow executive member Megan Pierreroy. Many would describe her as a natural born leader who enjoys being an advocate for the student body. “I believe it made my experience here more rewarding and the networking has been beneficial and it exposures me to the culture more because I’m actively planning events and going out to events.” 

It is unusual for a first-year student to be on the executive team of student council, but Anneliesea saw an opportunity and took it. “I already made up my mind a long time ago. I was going to put myself out there and experience college life in its entirety.” 

Anneliesea Parkinson sits in front of a Star Blanket.