Raine Williams takes the lead
Written by: Pat Morden
Jamaica native Raine Williams was sure she wanted to go to the University of Guelph, and told her mother so. But then she got involved in Brescia’s Take the Lead program, and everything changed.
Take the Lead is a unique public speaking contest. Girls in Grades 11 and 12 are invited to prepare and deliver a speech about a woman whose leadership inspires and empowers others. The finalists are invited to visit Brescia and deliver their speeches in person, competing for the grand prize of one year of free tuition and residence. “I was nervous about making the video,” says Williams. “But I did like the idea of Canada’s only women’s university, a place where women are in a classroom bettering one another.”
As it turned out, Williams was one of seven finalists. Her mother is Canadian, so Williams had been to Canada many times, but never to London. Her visit convinced her that Brescia was where she belonged. “I didn’t know I wanted to come until I saw the nice residence rooms and how kind everyone is.” She also credits Christina Lord, Brescia’s International Student Program Coordinator, with encouraging and supporting her.
Now in her second year of the Management and Organizational Studies program, Williams had little difficulty adjusting to life in Canada (although she admits that winter seems too long by February!). London is smaller than the cities she’s used to. “It’s kind of nice, because it’s easy to get to know people and make friends.” She loves Brescia’s elegant residence, and the small classrooms. “You’re a little more eager to participate and ask questions, compared to larger classes at Western,” she says. “The profs are really good, and I feel comfortable asking any kind of question.”
In fact, she’s so enthusiastic about Brescia that she is now a Brescia Ambassador, providing tours and following up by email to offer support to prospective students. “It’s a lot of fun, and a great way to meet new people,” she says. She also enjoys the socials and other events planned by the Caribbean Students Organization on the main campus.