When MSVU international students first touch down in Halifax, Kay Balite is often there to greet them and drive them to their new home away from home. At busy times of the year, she could be back and forth to the Halifax International Airport multiple times a day – at all hours of the day and night.
In fact, Kay works tirelessly to make sure these students receive the best support no matter where they are in the world. Famous among international students past and present, Kay is the face of MSVU to many, and the person they rely on even after graduation.
Her relationship with the university began in 2008 when she enrolled as a transfer student in psychology from the University of Santo Tomas in the Philippines. Kay graduated with her BA in Psychology in 2013 (as well as a minor in Business Administration) and later completed a Master of Education degree in Lifelong Learning (’22).
As a student, Kay was at the heart of many facets of student life. She was leader of the student environmental society, an orientation leader, and liaison for MSVU’s local World University Service of Canada (WUSC) local committee. In that last capacity, not only did she represent the university at WUSC meetings, but she was integral to fundraising efforts, and supported sponsored refugee students in their integration at MSVU and in the community.
Most notably from her time as a student, Kay was deeply involved with the MSVU International Student Society. She played a key role in the society’s success for many years, including a lead role in the planning of the hugely successful annual Multicultural Night (among many other events and initiatives).
Today, her official title is International Student Advisor with the MSVU International Education Centre (IEC). She’s now worked with the IEC for more than a decade and fostered relationships with each international student as she supported their transition to life in Canada in every aspect – personal, cultural and academic. She’s been an invaluable resource to MSVU faculty and staff too, serving as a deeply trusted advisor on immigration, cultural integration, intercultural conflict resolution, inclusive pedagogy, and academic progress. In fact, Kay is widely consulted and trusted by faculty and staff not just from across MSVU, but throughout Nova Scotia. She played a founding and leading role in the creation of Nova Scotia’s Study and Stay Program and the BEST conference which helps international students bridge their academic and professional lives. She has also served on MSVU’s Employment Equity committee since 2017.
One of her colleagues summed up Kay’s contributions to MSVU perfectly when she said, “Kay means more to our international community at MSVU than you or I could fathom.”
MSVU’s history is rich with the stories of countless people who’ve had an impact on the university and in the broader community.
Over the course of 2023, we’ll feature mini stories about 150 MSVU students, faculty, staff and alum. Check back often to meet more amazing MSVU people!