Recent Brock student honoured for work with international students

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Recent Brock student honoured for work with international students

Published on November 16 2009

He has played Santa. He has sold a record number of samosas. He has helped organize African Heritage Months.

Now Troy Woodworth is being honoured for his work making international students feel at home.

Woodworth, of Stoney Creek, received the Canadian Bureau for International Education’s (CBIE) Student Leadership in Internationalization Award on Nov. 10. Woodworth, who is legally blind, has worked tirelessly to assist Brock’s international students, as well as volunteering in shantytowns in Peru and Ecuador with Brock’s Solidarity Experiences Abroad program.

Woodworth, 35, has served as a volunteer events assistant for Brock’s Office of International Services since 2005. Before graduating from Brock this fall, he held various posts in the International Students’ Association. His work has included:

  • being a volunteer conversation partner to help international students practise their oral English
  • selling more than 5,000 samosas for an International Students’ Association fundraiser, as well as helping to sell 1,400 more for Brock’s United Way campaign, earning him the nickname “Captain Samosa”
  • volunteering for international student orientation, the International Christmas Banquet (one year playing the part of Santa Claus), the annual Celebration of Nations cultural bizarre and hosting a weekly “Culture Café”

Woodworth has also studied in Mexico, China and Spain. His love of different cultures began at a young age when he went on frequent vacations with his family, he said. His interests have taken him over four continents for academic exchange, independent research or volunteering and social justice initiatives. He is currently co-ordinating a future Mexico trip for Solidarity Experiences Abroad.

“Perhaps in some unusual manner, being legally blind has allowed me to see beyond the typical boundaries to cross-cultural communication,” he said. “Alternatively though, I simply love people.”

Woodworth calls the CBIE award “an amazing honour,” especially since it aligns with his goal to work in international education. He hopes to study in the U.K. next year. At Brock, Woodworth has been on the Dean’s Honour List and received the President’s Surgite Award for leadership.

But Woodworth seems to prefer to work behind the scenes, not wanting credit for his work, said John Kaethler, director, Office of International Services.

“He is a great asset to Brock University in its efforts to internationalize and to break down the barriers between international students, Canadian students, and students with physical disabilities,” Kaethler said. “Troy is a model for all of us to emulate."

Troy Woodworth at a Robbie Burns Day celebration he hosted

Troy Woodworth at a Robbie Burns Day celebration, which he hosted each year in the International Services lounge