Navigating culture shock when starting university after leaving a reserve: Editorial

In a recent article for CBC, Tehosterihens Deer discusses how Mi’kmaw students often face culture shock when moving off reserve for their postsecondary studies. For example, Saint Mary’s University student Sósep Hatfield shared his experiences travelling from the Pictou Landing First Nation to Halifax, where he struggled with isolation and stress from living and studying in a new location. Hatfield noted that what he was learning in his classes did not examine modern Indigenous businesses, which fueled feelings of isolation and neglect. The bachelor of commerce program is currently undergoing a revamp, according to SMU Spokesperson Margaret Murphy, which will bring new perspectives into the curriculum and engage more diverse groups. SMU professor and former Indigenous advisor Raymond Sewell said that he reminds students “that their traditional knowledge is just as valuable as any other knowledge,” and noted that more work needs to be done to help students experiencing culture shock.