Asian Heritage Month: Filipino student finds cultural connection through campus group

Victoria Dinh

When Mariane Andrea Docabo chose to apply to the University of Saskatchewan (USask), she wanted to study in an environment where she was surrounded by people from various cultural backgrounds.

“I knew that going to Saskatoon for university would allow me to see a lot of representation in different areas,” Docabo said.

Coming from a Filipino background, she also wanted to meet and build friendships with other people who shared the same heritage, but were from different parts of Saskatchewan. This is what led her to joining the USask Filipino Students Association (FSA), a group that was created in 2012 in support of the victims of Typhoon Yolanda in the Philippines that left numerous communities without homes. The FSA currently works to build connections and to provide community support for all students.

“I sought out a club that would be able to provide me with a sense of community in an unknown environment and help me settle into the university and the new city,” Docabo said, adding that the FSA did just that for her first couple years at USask. “Regardless of what year you’re in, I think that joining a club or organization is a great way to connect with people and make friends. For me, FSA events were like a study break, and they definitely helped with maintaining a balance between school and my social life.”

Next year, Docabo will be part of the FSA executive team.

Facing stereotypes

Docabo is currently embarking on her third year of a Bachelor of Commerce (BComm) degree in management at the USask Edwards School of Business.

She said it’s interesting to see the stereotypes emerge when people ask her what field of study she has chosen.

“Oftentimes when I tell people I’m attending university they assume that my bachelor’s degree is in nursing or in engineering,” Docabo explained. “It’s not that my BComm degree is not acceptable but rather, not preferred.”

She said one of her goals as an FSA executive next year is to show people that Filipinos are much more than nurses or doctors.

“We have creative minds in the community who are capable of being artists, designers, and so much more.

This article was first published and written for the USask website. Read the origional article here.

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