What is your name, and when were you a CA?
Gillian Henuset, 2000-2005
How has the ELC changed most since you were here?
You are doing surveys from Cultural Assistants! I'm sure there are other things that have changed—you're also probably way more settled into your amazing new building. Remember when the ELC was in a weird house out almost in the forest by group housing???
What is your favourite CA tradition?
Taking the newbie CAs under our wing and helping them to learn the ropes of how to be an amazing CA to international students from around the world.
What is your favourite sociocultural activity?
Butchart Gardens, or exploring the history of downtown Victoria.
What is your favourite ELC program or CA role?
Program? Probably the 6-week summer one where Quebec students are paid to come to BC. Always an interesting dynamic and oh so fun to bear witness to the learning and bonding of people from vastly different countries and experiences!
Who was your most memorable teacher, CCA, or other ELC mentor, and how did they influence you?
Dino Castillo was probably my favorite mentor— some people you meet and they just exude as a good person. That's definitely Dino, more people should be like him in this world.
What is your number one favourite memory from your time at the ELC?
Probably preparing for a cultural celebration feast with some of our Japanese students. Making Chirashi Sushi (loose Sushi) in one of the common rooms in the "new" residence building.
What are you doing now?
Working for the BC Public Service (over 13 years now) currently supporting BC Public Service employees to use giving and volunteer programs to give back to local communities, and building volunteerism into their day-to-day work as public servants to learn and develop in their careers.
Do you still keep in touch with any other CAs or past ELC students?
Yup - we recently created a group through Facebook for those CAs from 2000-2005 and are trying to get together!
Have you ever visited any past ELC students in their home country?
I have! I traveled to Switzerland and stayed with one of our previous students—he showed my best friend and I around his home town for a few days and was an absolutely amazing host!
How did being a CA affect your life?
It established some friendships with people I wouldn't otherwise have met, and some of those friendships endure to this day! I'm grateful for the experience to have gotten to know so many amazing colleagues and students. Looking back now, it was like an early introduction to the way the world has evolved now as far as valuing diversity of backgrounds, experiences, and perspectives overall. No one person can change the world, but it's about the people you meet, the lives you touch, the perspectives and values you encourage—that really have the power to changing lives for the better.