Building the bridge from Waterloo to the world

Sunday, July 16, 2017

by Kathy Nguyen

iBASE volunteers and students.

This story originally appeared in the UWaterloo Life Blog.  The iBASE program is a university pathways English program offered by the Renison English Language Institute at Renison University College

Learning comes in many different shapes and forms. Some students learn best through reading, some learn best through group study sessions, and some may learn best through hands-on experience. With exams coming up, it’s important to note that everyone has different learning styles and the University of Waterloo offers a plethora of resources for students to learn, grow, and thrive within their environment.

Hayston Lam, a fourth-year International Development student and iBASE Peer Leader, is here to help international students reach their full potential. iBASE is an acronym for “Intensive Bridge to Academic Success in English.” It is a program built to help international students meet the English proficiency skills needed to continue their full-time studies in September.

“There are four primary aspects to an iBASE Peer Leader: social and language development, transitional support, personal development and academic support,” Hayston explains. Instead of asking students to simply sit at a desk and read a book or listen to a lecture, iBASE provides ongoing support through engaging and interactive programming outside of the classroom.

My favourite event so far has definitely been an evening trip to the University Plaza where students jumped in delight at the sign of a variety of different food options. For many students, this was also the first time they left campus!


The iBASE program is just one of many resources on campus that emphasize UWaterloo’s support and encouragement for students reaching personal success. Hayston says that the most fulfilling part of being involved with iBASE is, “seeing the personal and professional growth of students. The joy of watching students become more confident in their everyday speech and written abilities is what keeps me motivated as a Peer Leader.”

Matthew Hao, a Biochemistry major and member of the iBASE program, knows what it’s like to feel yourself growing and improving within an ongoing support system. “The iBASE program has been really supportive towards my English learning,” he shares, “and it has helped me feel more comfortable being in Waterloo.”

With exams coming up, Hayston advises students to “study with friends, utilize the University’s resources, and remember to take care of yourself first.”

Happy studying, Warriors!