A Brandon University student has been named one of Manitoba’s top international students — and now she wants to make an impact on the volleyball court.
Kaoane Loch has been named the 2019 Manitoba Council for International Education (MCIE) International Student Awards in the language program category. She won as a student in BU’s English for Academic Purposes (EAP) program — the first time that an EAP student at BU has been awarded the honour.
“I wasn’t expecting this at all, it’s so exciting,” Loch said. “I have just been trying my best, and the recognition is amazing. The EAP program has helped me a lot — I can see how my English has improved.”
“We are extremely proud of Kaoane’s hard work and her success, and this award is well-deserved icing on the cake,” said David Rowland, BU’s Director of International Activities. “It is especially timely, considering that 2019 has been declared the Year of the International Education in Manitoba.”
With the completion of her EAP program, Loch has also now been admitted to BU as a regular student, qualifying her to join the BU Bobcats women’s volleyball team. She is scheduled to make her Bobcat debut on home court on Jan. 3, 2020.
“I came here to play volleyball and study, this is totally a dream come true,” Loch said. “I love to be a Bobcat, and I’m so grateful to everyone on my team and at BU. I feel so welcomed by the community and teammates.”
Loch has previously played pro-level volleyball in Brazil, where she’s from, as well as serving a stint on the Brazilian national team. She says choosing to come to Brandon was easy.
“I saw everything the volleyball team and the university has to offer me, and it was not that difficult to make the decision,” she said.
“Kaoane has worked extremely hard to become a part of the program and the community. She has been involved with everything that she could possibly be involved with, as far as being both an athlete and a student at Brandon University. She helped run the youth women’s recreation volleyball league, she assisted with our practices, and has been incredibly committed to her classes and academic pursuit,” said Bobcats women’s volleyball coach Lee Carter.
“We’re really excited to see what she’ll bring to our program. It’s different in practice, but when you get the opportunity to put on that uniform and represent the school and the community it becomes an amazing experience. She’s a very experienced player that will help our team tremendously.”
Being originally from a small city, Loch said she was attracted to Brandon’s size — and despite the cold, she’s even happy to be here through winter.
“I love it, it’s different, I feel like I’m in a Christmas movie,” she said. At BU, she is pursuing a psychology degree, with an eventual goal of becoming a sport psychologist.
First, though, she has her eyes set squarely on volleyball. First, to contribute to the Bobcats, and then to return to the pros.
“I can’t see myself doing anything else,” she said.
Loch was nominated for the award by two of her instructors at BU, Pat Birch and Kelly Robinson. It is only the second time a BU student has won one of the MCIE International Student Awards in any category. In 2017, Natashalee Thompson brought BU home an award in the post-secondary category. The awards, which were presented recently at a ceremony in Winnipeg, come with a certificate and a $400 scholarship.
All major public and private educational institutions with international student enrolment in Manitoba are members of the MCIE, which promotes the province as a destination of choice for international students.
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