Familiar Faces

Meet Katie Fraser, LUO International Engagement Specialist – Orillia – final issue

By Zoe Dhillon, Orillia Bureau Chief

The Argus: As the International Engagement Specialist at LUO, what does your job entail?

Katie Fraser: A big part of my role is supporting our international students and travellers in the Study Abroad program at the Orillia campus. I can help with questions regarding health insurance coverage and claims, immigration documents, accessing broader campus or community services, and working in Canada, amongst other topics.

Katie Fraser (left) with three international students from Mexico. (Photo submitted by Katie Fraser)

A: What is the most rewarding part of your job?

KF: The most rewarding part of my job is when I’ve helped a student work through a challenge or when I have provided a suggestion and the student comes back to tell me they’ve been successful in achieving their goal. For example, when I’ve helped a student gain skills, prepare their resume, and apply for a job and they come back to tell me they’ve been hired; or when a student comes to me with the dream of studying in Australia and I receive pictures of them a year later with kangaroos and koalas!

A: What is challenging about your job?

KF: The most challenging part of my job is the fact that there’s so much opportunity to grow the supports and resources we offer international students in Orillia both on campus and in the community, but only so many hours in the day! As our international student population in Orillia grows, we have more and more great opportunities to better serve our students. I strive to always be supportive of students coming forward with their thoughts, and try to engage students in developing programs and solutions to the greatest extent possible.

A: Why did you choose to work at Lakehead Orillia?

KF:  I was part of the Lakehead University Orillia charter class – the first class to graduate from the Orillia campus. My experience at Lakehead was a very positive one. It afforded me the opportunity to obtain a university education without leaving my hometown of Orillia while maintaining part-time jobs, networks, and volunteer positions. It also allowed me to have a very customized, unique educational experience where I built strong relationships with those on campus. My undergraduate program at the Orillia campus led to my first full-time job in Student Affairs, and my passion for empowering students to grow personally and professionally as they prepare for exciting and rewarding careers.

A: What advice do you have for international students at Lakehead Orillia?

KF: I always advise students to get involved both on campus and in the community. If you have a special interest you want to pursue or skill you’re looking to gain, ask someone for more info! Getting involved, being curious, expressing interest and building your network of connections can lead to amazing opportunities you may have never known about, like travel or work opportunities.

A: Why should students consider partaking in international exchange opportunities?

KF: Our Study Abroad program is one of a kind, with partners in over 10 countries around the world. Studying abroad offers the opportunity to give your degree and resume an edge by gaining intercultural competencies and expanding your global network. Lakehead University’s International agreements with our overseas partner universities mean that in most cases, Lakehead students are only required to pay standard tuition fees to Lakehead University, and are not required to pay additional tuition fees to the host university. However, you will need to cover your accommodations, living expenses and travel costs, just as you would attending Lakehead. To offset these expenses, Lakehead University International provides bursaries for every outgoing exchange student, and some of our partners also offer additional funding.

A: How can students gain more information about LUO’s international opportunities?

KF: Students can contact me at or.international@lakeheadu.ca, or by phone at 705-330-4008, Ext. 2141. Students are also welcome to stop by Student Central to book an appointment to take place in person or via Zoom video-conferencing.