Photo of Baozhen Liu, winner of a writing contest on community role models 

I’ve known her since I came to Canada two years ago. Sharing interests in common, we became dear friends. However, I am deeply impressed by her contributing spirit since she has become the mentor for international students, especially Chinese students at our university. Her routine looks boring but actually challenging: talking with students who come and seek help, understanding their situations, and providing them with the most appropriate advice. She also answers numerous emails from students concerning campus activities or administrative procedures without a break. She does not merely “finish these tasks;” when she finds similar issues bothering Chinese students, she will stand up to voice her opinion for revised policies in order to create a more student-friendly environment.

I still remember that once I was waiting for her to have lunch outside of her office. It took her over an hour dealing with a student’s problem but when she walked out, the smile on her face did not fade at all and her sparkling eyes were full of a sense of fulfillment. I asked her what inspired her to maintain the passion and patience at work. Her answer was touching: “You and I have both been through moments when we were puzzled by the life in a totally new environment and wondered how to get ourselves adapted to it, moments when we felt lonely and helpless but not sure with whom we could talk to, and moments when we were stressed out over study. If you were in the same shoe, you would do the same to give them a hand.”

Influenced by her experience, I am self-motivated to be a long-term volunteer for the Chinese elderly community. I do perceive inner happiness and harmony with any subtle nuance in the community, such as a new activity designed for Chinese elderly or a piece of news story appealing to care for them.

For now, I am still thankful for my friend’s story that encourages me to become a compassionate person. She is not only my best friend, but my role model as well.

Baozhen Liu was one of the winners of a writing contest on community role models launched by the Ottawa Multicultural Media Initiative (OMMI).

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