Michele Tchiakoua wanted a different perspective on life to be part of her university experience, so she left her hometown of Montreal to study in Halifax. Still, she’s found a new family – two, in fact – at Dalhousie.
Michele, who was born in Cameroon before emigrating to Canada, wanted to “see what life outside of Montreal was like.” When she arrived in Halifax last year to start pursuing her degree in Therapeutic Recreation, she was happy to find a smaller city full of friendly people. And many of those people were in her program.
“Therapeutic Recreation is a small program, so you know all the professors and students,” Michele says. “They help you whenever you have issues in school.
“It’s like a small family.”
As a member of Dalhousie’s Women’s Basketball team, Michele was also grateful for the support she received from her fellow Tigers and Dalhousie’s Athletics department.
“I made some friends on my team and the other teams. Also, I would say my coaching staff was very helpful. They help you get an apartment and show you around.
“Any time we need something, they’re there for us.”
The support and mentorship of her Tigers family was especially valuable to a first-year guard who, she acknowledges, found the adjustment to university-level basketball challenging.
“I put a lot of pressure on myself, but over the season, I learned that I have my teammates and coaches to help me. I started to grow and change my game to think more about decision-making. In high school, I was able to rely on my athleticism, and at university it’s much more about the mental side of the game.”
Heading into second year, Michele has been running basketball camps for youth and working on her own game. She has high hopes for herself and the team.
“This year, I know what’s waiting for me. I know what I have to do and what the coaches are expecting from me.
“Last year we didn’t make the playoffs, which was tough. Hopefully this year we’ll make the playoffs and compete for an AUS championship.”
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