Masleen Kwindima looked upwards, eyes wide and a smile on her face, as an acrobat weaved in and out of a hoop suspended three metres above the ground.
An opera singer hit near- impossible notes in the background as Kwindima and more than 1,000 other first-year students took it all in.
The university welcomed its new faces on Monday by showcasing its most talented students from various walks of life.
“Getting to know different cultures is great,” Kwindima said afterwards. “And being in a different environment is great.”
There was a Bollywood dance routine, a performance by Sea-Hawks cheerleaders and a rendition of Queen’s Bohemian Rhapsody played by a horn quartet.
For most students, it was their first university experience.
For some, their first in Newfoundland. For others, their first in Canada.
Tania Sibanda came to Memorial University from her home in Ontario. She was looking for a change of scenery, and found one in Newfoundland.
“At first I was nervous, but then there’s a lot of events going and I met new friends,” she said. “My nerves have kind of come down. There’s a lot of people to help and everyone here is super friendly.”
Ian Best made the move to St. John’s from Clarenville — just a two-hour drive from home, but a whole new experience.
He’s now part of a community with 18,000 other students, or about three times the size of his hometown.
“It’s a lot of people,” he said, looking around the crowd at the Field House. “It’s a big event. Something to move on with, something to be excited about.”
‘I like Canada, but in Newfoundland, I love it.’
– Masleen Kwindima
While times have perhaps never been tougher at Memorial University, excitement filled the campus on Monday.
The school faced tough decisions after the provincial budget in April gutted $3 million from its funding.
In May, the school’s board of regents voted to pass a budget implementing new fees and tuition hikes. A tuition freeze will remain for students until 2021, but all students will face course and campus…