Southern hospitality
Former Yellowknifer shows Northern students the ropes

by Jennifer Pritchett
Northern News Services

NNSL (NOV 04/96) - Northern students who attend school in Edmonton now have a helping hand to guide them through the city.

Nona German is the Northern student services adviser at the University of Alberta who provides support for students who move to Edmonton to attend school.

German says many Northern students find it difficult to adjust to life in the city, and she helps them with the transition.

"We have found over the past year that kids are dropping out of school, and not because of academic reasons," she says.

A social worker by profession, German calls herself a troubleshooter. She steps in when a student has trouble with basic life skills to help with everything from explaining apartment leases and setting up bank accounts to bulk grocery shopping.

"One student had her power cut off because she didn't know she had to pay for it," she says. "Many students have trouble with adapting, particularly people from the communities."

Although the position has been in place for the past five years, German says she has been trying to make it more proactive since she accepted the post last January.

"I try to get them to connect with other Northern students in Edmonton," she says.

She also sends information to high schools in the NWT and visits them when she can to prepare students before they make the move. "I try to get them contacts in Edmonton before they arrive," she says.

A native Yellowknifer, German knows the perils of moving away from the North to attend university.

"I remember when I first went to college - I was so intimidated," she says.

Though located on the University of Alberta campus, German is available for any Northern student in Edmonton.