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Multicultural gathering welcomes new Stephenville residents from across the globe

People from different countries around the world enjoyed the multicultural gathering at the Stephenville Arts and Culture Centre last week.
People from different countries around the world enjoyed the multicultural gathering at the Stephenville Arts and Culture Centre last week. - Frank Gale

After eight years of being a resident, Aamir Shaikh loves Stephenville.

Aamir Shaikh, a web programmer/analyst with College of the North Atlantic is dressed in his garb from his homeland of India.
Aamir Shaikh, a web programmer/analyst with College of the North Atlantic is dressed in his garb from his homeland of India.

Originally from India, he lived in larger cities in British Columbia, Toronto, and Hong Kong before coming to Stephenville.

“It was a huge change from the larger places I’ve lived in, but over time I realized I loved it here,” he said, while attending a multicultural gathering to welcome people from other countries. 

He was among about 140 people from around the globe who attended last week's event at the Stephenville Arts and Culture Centre. Some local people, including members of the Indigenous community, were also there.

The gathering featured an introduction of the town’s multicultural heritage, including music and finger foods from its French, Mi’kmaq and Newfoundland histories.

Shaikh is a web programmer/analyst with College of the North Atlantic and came dressed in garb from his native homeland.

He's hoping to set a trend and others will wear traditional clothing from their respective countries when attending future multicultural events.

William Morris, the 21-month-old son of Sheryl Bacarro and Christopher Morris of St. David’s in Bay St. George South, was having lots of fun dancing to a Newfoundland Jig at a multicultural gathering at the Stephenville Arts and Culture Centre last week. His mom is from Peru.
William Morris, the 21-month-old son of Sheryl Bacarro and Christopher Morris of St. David’s in Bay St. George South, was having lots of fun dancing to a Newfoundland Jig at a multicultural gathering at the Stephenville Arts and Culture Centre last week. His mom is from Peru.

Here's what some others in attendance had to say.

Nactej Singh

Nactej Singh, an international student from India, was enjoying the gathering and said the Newfoundland music was great. He tried traditional Newfoundland food for the first time and found it enjoyable.

“I’ve found the people here polite and helpful and so far...I like the weather,” he said, though he hadn’t yet experienced snow up to the time of the gathering.

Singh is studying office administration at College of the North Atlantic and is one of 18 international students attending the college this year.

Henry Aobeseko

Henry Aobeseko, a prince of Ile-Oluji in Onda State, Nigeria studying at College of the North Atlantic in Stephenville attended the multicultural gathering at the Stephenville Arts and Culture Centre last week.
Henry Aobeseko, a prince of Ile-Oluji in Onda State, Nigeria studying at College of the North Atlantic in Stephenville attended the multicultural gathering at the Stephenville Arts and Culture Centre last week.

Henry Aobeseko came to College of the North Atlantic from Nigeria to join the nine-month automotive service technician diploma program.

He said he is a prince of Ile-Oluji, a town of 2.5 million people in Ondo State, which has a population of 11 million residents.

He said there was a bit of a language barrier at the start of his course, but already he’s getting used to people speaking fast. His course is going well and he scored a top mark in a recent test.

He’s looking forward to seeing snow for the first time and has bought appropriate winter clothing.

“There are lovely people here, friendly and I haven’t experienced any racism at all. This event is a good reflection on the town and it's welcoming of people from other cultures,” Aobeseko said.

A group of international students from India studying at College of the North Atlantic tried out some Newfoundland cuisine with Wayne Alexander, a local Mi’kmaq drummer, during a multicultural gathering at the Stephenville Arts and Culture Centre last week. They included,  from left, Asheesh Sharma, Navtej Singh, Alexander, Harsh Deep and Parveen Kaur.
A group of international students from India studying at College of the North Atlantic tried out some Newfoundland cuisine with Wayne Alexander, a local Mi’kmaq drummer, during a multicultural gathering at the Stephenville Arts and Culture Centre last week. They included, from left, Asheesh Sharma, Navtej Singh, Alexander, Harsh Deep and Parveen Kaur.

Partner groups for the gathering:

•    Association for New Canadians

•    Welcome NL

•    Réseau de développement économique (RDÉE TNL)

•    Association Régionale de la Côte Ouest (ARCO)

•    People of the Dawn Indigenous Friendship Centre

•    National Aboriginal Women’s Network

•    College of the North Atlantic

•    Advanced Education, Skills and Labour

•    Canadian Business Development Corporation

•    Western Regional Health Authority (WRHA)

Source: Town of Stephenville

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