People of Georgian: Administrator driven by helping international students

To highlight some of Georgian College’s 130+ programs, we’re re-sharing some of our past People of Georgian features of alumni throughout the month of May. First up is Siddhant Taneja, a Global Business Management alumnus, who recently received an Award of Excellence — Support Staff at the Georgian College Board of Governors Awards of Distinction.

What’s your story?

The Georgian community is full of unique, inspiring perspectives —and we’re sharing them as part of an ongoing series.

People of Georgian: Meet Siddhant (Sid) Taneja

Within the first three days of arriving in Canada, I came to Barrie Campus.

I took the campus map in my hand, and I started roaming around by myself. I went around all the buildings, all the corridors.

So, before my orientation, I knew every corner of the college, where everything was, and where all the student services were.

Two people stand together outside on a deck overlooking a body of water and a skyline in the distance.
Sid and his wife.

There was some kind of connection I felt with Georgian right away.

I was so attracted to the college and the service and the friendliness of the staff members that on my very first day there I went to the Peer Mentor office and asked to be a volunteer at orientation.

But even then, I wanted something more.

I became a peer mentor right in the middle of my first semester. I was a computer technical peer mentor, so I used to help students with how to download Microsoft Office, etc.

And at that time, the Georgian College Students’ Association (GCSA) had these cool logo T-shirts that I wanted, and I became a GCSA marketing team member. So I was wearing the jersey and being cool in the corridor, handing out flyers.

Offering one-of-a-kind support to international students

From there, I became an intern at the International Centre doing program support. I did two projects there by myself, and when I graduated, my position became full time so I applied and got it.

I really wanted to make sure that how we tailored and provided services were focused toward the lens of the student themselves. That includes all our live chats, Ask an Ambassador, International Information Week…

International Information Week is where we do international student orientation six weeks before the class start date. No other institutions or universities I know of have this experience.

A screenshot of a person smiling and wearing a suit during an Instagram live chat.
Sid hosted live chats multiple times a week during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Three people stand outside on a sunny day.
Sid with two international students he met in person after first meeting them during an International Centre live chat.

Helping other international students find their way

The real reward for offering these services to international students are those smiles that you get in the end.

Students tell you, “I was having difficulties and I wanted to just have a channel where I don’t have to go through my agent to get authentic information.”

There are also times when students will tell me that “My father or my mother used to sit with me to attend the live chat, and they used to feel so satisfied that they’re getting the answer that they really wanted.”

So just that satisfaction that students felt – even though they are separated by thousands of miles, there’s still someone here who cares for them.

Even once the student has arrived, if they see any staff member in the hallway, they can ask them their question and you might be surprised that they will help you and might even take you to that particular service themselves.

There’s piece of mind, not just for the student but for their family. Somebody might be back home thinking their children are by themselves here, but they’re still taking been taken care of.

That’s what drives me every day.

Sid Taneja, International Community Engagement Coordinator, International Education and Development. He is also an alumnus from the International Business Management program, now the Global Business Management (class of 2018).

This article was originally published Jan. 27, 2023. It was updated and re-shared in May 2024.

Our categories