Antigonish, Nova Scotia, Canada

Opportunity to shine at StFX, says Mauritius student Gilles Perrine

January 10th, 2020
Gilles Perrine celebrates receiving his X-Ring during the ceremony held Dec. 3, 2019.

Four years ago, Gilles Perrine left home in Rose-Hill, Mauritius to travel almost halfway across the world to attend St. Francis Xavier University.

Now, as the fourth year StFX environmental science student approaches graduation, he says not only did he flourish, he’d recommend the same choice to others. 

“If you want way more than an education, and you will get an education,” he says, “if you want a really good and smooth transition, StFX will be ideal. There are so many resources available. 

“You will see yourself shine way more than you thought you could,” says Mr. Perrine, a graduate of St. Andrew’s School who says the idea of coming to Canada for university had appealed to him, but he hadn’t thought about any particular university until he met a StFX recruiter.

“Once she did her presentation, I was dazzled. I couldn’t say no,” he laughs. “The next thing you know, I’m filling out the form to apply.”

Now, four years later, he wears a distinctive band of gold with a raised black X on his finger, StFX’s renowned X-Ring, which he received, along with his senior year classmates, on December 3, 2019, during the university’s annual and much-anticipated X-Ring ceremony. 

“When I look at this ring, I think of all four years, where I came from, where I am now, what really awaits for me. When I look at the ring, I think if you really work hard, there’s nothing that can stop you.”

PERSONALIZED EDUCATION

What impressed him so much about that presentation back in high school? 

Mr. Perrine says he liked the idea of coming to a small university, where he could meet and interact with his professors, be taught by faculty with PhDs, and learn in small classes.

He said upon arriving on campus, he found this not only to be true, but to be even better than what he’d been told. 

“The professors will push you to do your best, and they will help to ensure you’re getting there.”

They provide an atmosphere where you really want to go to class and do well in class, he says.

“At StFX, everybody makes this so much easier for you. Everybody will make sure you feel prepared. School here is not only being at school, it’s also being part of a community that’s looking out for each and everyone.” 

From his professors in class to staff at meal hall who greet him by name, StFX, he says, makes you feel comfortable. 

StFX also presents many opportunities, he says. Mr. Perrine spent two summers doing research with faculty member Dr. Andrew MacDougall. He became a residence leader, working first as an RA and then as a house director. He was involved with various societies, and was focused on trying to leave a positive impact on campus. 

Coming to live in a small town far away from home is not without its challenges. But Mr. Perrine says the adjustment didn’t take long.

“It’s so easy to get into life in Antigonish, and to interact with people.”

He says he learned a lot about the many things happening in town just by chatting with local people. 

“That’s how I got involved in the Boy Scouts,” he says on the organization he had been involved in at home and joined here again as a leader. He also played soccer in the summer months with the local Celtics club. 

After graduation, Mr. Perrine says he wants to stay in Nova Scotia, to work for a few years before applying to attend law school. 

On StFX, he says, “There are so many opportunities to get involved. It’s up to each person what they want to do.”

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