Monday, December 29, 2014

Event Execution: Giving the Gift Of Education to Girls

Jenny has traveled from her home in South Korea to study Tourism and Hospitality Management - Event Planning at Humber.

Jenny at the event
Jenny at the event
In the second year of my Tourism and Hospitality Management - Event Planning program, students are assigned to plan an event as part of our Event Execution class. It is opportunity for us to gain practical event management experience and learn skills that can help us to be successful during our internship in the following semester. This year, our class came up with ideas to plan a silent auction event to raise money and awareness for our chosen charity, “Hands Up Out Of Poverty.”

Hands Up Out Of Poverty is a development program for women and girl in rural sub-Saharan Africa. Its purpose is to educate women and help them to live a better life while making money for their family.

Jenny and her class mates
Jenny and her classmates
Hands Up Out Of Poverty was chosen for our class project, because our class wanted to create meaningful content for our event by making a difference to others. This organization works in places where education is perceived as a gift that allows women to learn and helps them to become leaders in their community.

As a student, I know that education is not only a powerful tool to change people’s perspective of the world, but also knowledge that can benefit people’s lives. The unfortunate fact is that children who do not get a chance to go to school suffer from financial problems and sometimes other social issues caused by not being able to achieve their needs and desires. We as a class noticed the value of education and aimed to raise $5000 to support girls / women and satisfy our client, J. Neysmith, the founder of Hands Up Out of Poverty.
Jenny and her class mates
Jenny and her classmates
Our executive committee had six leaders covering different event aspects. I was one of the sponsorship chairs, responsible for getting 4-5 items each week for the silent auction. This role required a lot of boldness and determination to acquire interesting items to put on the silent auction table.

As the event day approached, our class had a launch event on November 24th in the Humber cafeteria to let other people know about our silent auction event. There were bake sales and fifty/fifty raffle ticket draws and games to draw people’s attention. The most important part was to engage people with the fun activities our class planned, but getting people to participate was difficult since students were busy with their classes. However, as a class, we were able to raise $300 that day and get people interested in our event.
Executive committee
Executive committee
On December 3rd, the day of the event, our classmates gathered to set up tables, curtains and organize items for the event.  At 11 a.m., the event was open for everyone to come, and HumberTV / Radio students came to film our event.  At a silent auction, there are interesting items for people to bid on: for example, Starbucks coffee gift packages, a deluxe hotel accommodation certificate for the Eaton Chelsea, a Kimi sushi gift certificate, a wine case, Humber swag, a Chinese tea set, and different kinds of gifts for Christmas.

In the end, we raised almost $4000 and that made our class feel proud of our achievement. With support from Humber’s community and local stores, we made a silent auction possible and raised enough money to provide sanitary pads to women for 10 months. I want to say a big thank you for all the support and encouragement from the Humber community. Their support means a lot to girls in sub-Saharan Africa.

Through the event, I learned the importance of communication and teamwork skills. When working with people, listening to other peoples’ ideas and suggestions are important in creating a positive team. The idea of giving and sharing is an important part of our lives that should continue to create a better world for everyone to live in.

Friday, December 26, 2014

Baneen Fatima - “Zombies and I: NOT a Love Story”

This article originally appeared on i-StudentGlobal on 13th November 2014.

Some people are easily scared; others are just good at pretending things don't affect them. Being scared is never something one enjoys. I’m not talking about being scared of roller coasters or sky diving, because most people enjoy those when they eventually go for it. No, I am talking about something that you might be genuinely afraid of. Something you can't overcome. For some people it is the scare of losing their job or inheritance. For others, it can be failing their class or not being good enough for their life's goal.

I am scared too. Mostly scared to lose anyone who I love, but I am also scared of zombies.

Baneen with Zombie
"I am scared too." 
Since Halloween I have wanted to share one of my scary experiences. It started when I was working late on one of my school projects...

Since I knew that I would be staying at Humber College later than normal, I had begged my brother to let me borrow his car for the day. Otherwise, I would have had to take two different buses late at night to reach home. He reluctantly agreed, and I managed not to get lost too many times while driving through Toronto to get to school. When I was finally done with work, I got behind the steering wheel, turned my trusty GPS on and hoped that this time I wouldn’t get lost, especially since it was already dark.

I did get a little anxious because I usually don’t like relying on technology too much, especially when I don’t have a backup plan. I am always thinking about scenarios like what I would do if my battery died. People in movies are always killed after they lose their network signal or their battery runs out. I don’t want to end up like them. So I usually have a map, extra cash and water in the car (well I did, back in Dubai…). However, this was my brother’s car. Therefore, I was more agitated than usual.

"...what I would do if my battery died."

Anyway, I was driving home and about two or three blocks away from campus, I spotted a police car in front of me. I didn’t really think about it much, other than making sure I was driving under the speed limit (because usually – well, always, I drive too fast). I had my windows rolled down and was enjoying the cool air on my otherwise tired face when I realized the cops had slowed down considerably. Since I am such an impatient person, I decided to change lanes and overtake the cops. Now that I think about it, I sound very daring taking over a police car. Regardless, that is exactly what I did, and the next thing I knew, I heard their weird sirens. I remember reading about what to do in this situation (according to Canadian law, I should pull over to the right – I had to read about this before going for my G1 – one of the tests needed in Ontario in order to get a driver’s license). I pulled over, trying to think where I made a mistake.

They pulled over behind me and I watched them coming over to the car from one of the mirrors. They asked the usual questions, asking for my licence and insurance and registrations of the car. I was nervous throughout but I managed to be rational, understanding that the worst thing that could happen was that they might give me a ticket. After inspecting my documents, they said that the reason that they pulled me over was because there was something wrong with my rear lights. I told them that I would have them looked at by the mechanic and we drew to a conclusion. As I was thanking the officer standing beside my door, he suddenly looked terrified, staring at the passenger seat’s window. I turned around to study what made the officer lose the colour of his face and found myself staring at a decayed and horrifying face.

Police car in side mirror
" I watched them coming over to the car from one of the mirrors."
I let out a shriek but then this weird creepy zombie face started laughing. More strangely, I could hear the officer beside me laughing too. These zombie features belonged to the second officer who wore a mask to scare me. They both asked me if I was okay and I started laughing loudly! I could not believe how silly I was, getting scared that easily. I think this prank was more successful because you would just not expect a couple of strict, law abiding police officers to ever be fun in this manner. They apologised that they scared me (notice that they were very sure that I, in fact, did get scared; there was no possibility of me saving face) and then offered me this big box of chocolates, wishing me a scary Halloween. I gratefully accepted (because who would say ‘no’ to chocolates?) and wished them back.

Box of Chocolates
"... who would say 'no' to chocolates?"
That night, I was scared and then delighted in a matter of minutes and I feel that that was exhilarating! I learnt something that day though. I learnt that things are only scary when you let them be so. Whether you are worried about your job or about your grades, or whether you are worried about being a good person or about achieving your life’s goal, it will only be scary and troublesome if you let it be. Just like realising that there was an ordinary man behind a hideous mask, you need to know that there is an ordinary hurdle masking itself behind a scarier mask. It is important that we understand this because once we do; jumping over that hurdle and continuing our journeys will be a piece of cake.

Until next time my amigos!

Baneen in Witch's hat
"Until next time..."

Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Winter and Holidays, my favourite combination!

Time goes by really quickly. How many times have you heard someone say that? I’ve lost count. It is true though, isn’t it? It is winter already, and the holiday season is upon us. I have never really celebrated Christmas, mostly because at home we have Eid and events like that which are more prioritised. We did have holiday breaks around this time but that was called ‘winter vacation’ and was not necessarily for Christmas. In Canada, however, things are different.
The Secret Venue
The Secret Venue
At the end of November, I went to an event called a “Holiday Dinner” organized by the Humber International Centre. No one was told where we were going or what we were supposed to be doing there—just that it was a formal dinner and that everyone was expected to dress up. We boarded a bus in front of the Humber Residence buildings at around 4:45 and were taken to an amazingly decorated garden banquet! There were lights everywhere, on the building, entwined with trees; there were even light sculptures of reindeers and pandas. It was beautiful. Everyone in the bus started cheering and applauding, which was a nice start to the evening.
Surrounded by lights
Another student enjoiying the lights at the 2013 Holiday Dinner
We got off the bus, and, as we walked through the door and into the main area, we saw a giant hall, probably big enough to accommodate an army. It was tastefully decorated with white and silver balloons and delicate red poinsettia flowers. There was a stage towards the middle left of the hall, probably for dancing. I haven’t ever been to a formal party in this sense, so I was awed just as much as all my fellow first-timers. We were seated and we had everyone give their ticket numbers for a draw that might win prizes.
Pausing with Santa
Pausing with Santa
After all 400 or so of us were seated, Matthew McDonald, one of our international student advisors, came to the stage and started talking about the fun things planned for us. We played games like ‘Bring me’ with another student advisor, Matthew Keefe, during which people were willing to run over each other in order to bring Matthew belts or exact change in money or something of that sort. We had delicious food, enjoyed fun games and danced until our feet started hurting.
Matthew Keefe conducting games
Matthew Keefe conducting games
All in all, it was a pretty awesome night, especially since I was with friends. I guess that is what the holiday spirit is about: getting together with people you care about and having a good time. I hope you all have an amazing holiday too!
Happy Holidays, my amigos!
Me and friends getting a selfie
Taking a #humberselfie with friends

Monday, December 22, 2014

“Middlesex to Humber - Dubai to Canada: Should I believe in Destiny?”


This article originally appeared on i-StudentGlobal on 8th October 2014.

If you are the kind of person who loves exploring new places and different cultures, you are a friend I will like. If you are a fan of good food, you are my best friend. If you also find it thrilling to go on adventures, especially participating in extreme sports, you and I are soul mates.

My name is Baneen Fatima and I am an international student of Humber College, Canada. I was born and raised in Dubai, UAE; but I ethnically belong to Pakistan. How did I happen to end up in Canada?  Well, it’s a long story.

With friends in Dubai
"How did I happen to end up in Canada?"
You see, I have always been the baby of the family, being the only daughter among three sons. For the most part of my life, I have been protected by my parents and to some extent, by my brothers. It didn’t help that I was a ‘go with the flow’ kind of a person, which meant that I didn’t really have a plan in life. So, when I started my post-secondary education at Middlesex University, Dubai, I managed to select a degree program based on statistical evidences that pointed toward successful future jobs. I know—I too was impressed with the amount of jargon used by the degree program and so, I completed it.

With brother in Dubai
"...the only daughter among three sons."
After I finished my bachelors at Middlesex, I tried to convince my parents to let me go and experiment with my life. Even though I had gone to university for several years, I still felt dependent and protected. I feared that if I didn’t push myself into a less comfortable lifestyle, I would never learn to cope with hard times. It may sound immature to some of you out there. You may think that this person, in spite of having everything handed to her on a silver platter, still wished to face the harsher side of life. You are right. That’s how my parents felt as well. So you can probably tell how difficult it must have been for my parents to let me go out into the big bad world all on my own. But then again, how else would I learn to walk on my own two feet?

My mum used to say that in order for one to learn how to fly, one needs to push themself off a cliff (not literally – duh!). It means that in order to do something amazing you need to take a leap of faith.

 "... you need to take a leap of faith."

My leap of faith was coming and studying in Canada. I have never traveled or lived alone and initially it was extremely difficult. I didn’t know why I was being asked to sign a contract when I bought a phone. I didn’t know what in the world G1 and G2 meant when it came to getting a driver’s license. I was in a strange world with no proper source of guidance. Well, at least until I started studying at Humber College.

I chose Humber College through online research. I had other second, third and fourth options in mind, but for some reason, Humber’s website and the way it had its programs planned, even the facilities provided for we, clueless, prospective international students – all of it just spoke to me. And so Humber was my choice and I applied online.

"And so Humber was my choice ..."
Now, after many career counselling sessions and countless career type tests, I am studying Design at Humber, and I am pretty happy with the decision. I finally feel that I am going to be doing something with my life. I don’t know if it was fate or destiny or mere coincidence. I like to believe that there was a reason why I chose Canada and a reason why I got into Humber. I guess we will only be able to tell when time unfolds!

Until then, stick around!

Monday, December 15, 2014

The End Draws Nigh: SEDS in Indonesia

By: Ted Glenn, Ph.D., Professor of Public Administration and Program Coordinator at TheBusiness School, Humber College.

This is the fifth blog post that Ted Glenn has written as part of his experience living in Makassar, Sulawesi province, Indonesia, while working on the Sulawesi EconomicDevelopment Strategy Project (SEDS).

Our time here on this phase of the SEDS project in Indonesia is (very) quickly coming to an end. Last week, Ianinta Sembiring (my fellow facilitator here in Makassar), Vanessa Murphy (project support officer here in Makassar) and I traveled to Manado to join our colleagues, Kent Schroeder and Jeff May, at a day-long conference that showcased the curriculum work of our four Manado-based partners, UNSRAT, UNIKA, de la Salle, and UNKLAB. This week, Jeff, Kent and Mary Heather White (SEDS Field Manager) joined us in Makassar to attend a day-long conference that showcased the curriculum work of our three partners here, UNHAS, UNISMUH and UNM. It was great to catch up with Kent and Jeff, compare notes on the workshops and share war stories.
Conference in Makassar
Conference in Makassar
Reflecting back on my experience, I see that a couple of things are standing out right now. First is the nature of the curricula being developed by our partners. From what I’ve seen in Canada, most applied entrepreneurship curricula tend to focus on teaching students how to develop a business plan and turn that plan into a business reality (to borrow a phrase from Humber Business prof Jim Skinner). Entrepreneurial skills are most definitely key and critical parts of the curricula developed here so far. But there are a few things that make these curricula culturally and pedagogically unique.

For example, one overarching goal most of our partners are trying to achieve is selling the idea of entrepreneurship to their students as a financially viable and economically important occupational choice. To this end, our partners have included elements around the “softer” side of entrepreneurship, like being able to identify and cultivate characteristics of successful entrepreneurs, motivation and communication skills.

Our partners are also including modules on gender, environmental sustainability and corporate social responsibility, with a focus on how these issues impact entrepreneurship and how related challenges can be addressed through entrepreneurial activities. As relatively new features of the entrepreneurship education landscape everywhere, it will be interesting to see how these elements evolve as curricula are rolled out and feedback from students, instructors and employers is incorporated.

A very interesting and unique element of the curriculum being developed at UNISMUH – a privately-funded Islamic university here in Makassar – is the incorporation of Islamic principles (things like “ethical money,” i.e., ensuring that revenue is not generated from usury but rather honest labour, and community responsibility) into entrepreneurship. Again, it will be interesting to see how this element rolls out in the classroom.

A second thing that stands out for me is the professionally fulfilling and personally rewarding experience I’ve had here. Professionally, working with an incredibly competent partner for full days on three different workshops has forced me to communicate better in and out of the classroom, prepare more efficiently given the full days and tight timelines, and extemporize to a degree that (happily) surprised me. Personally, my son and I have been introduced to a country we have genuinely fallen in love with but realize will take a lifetime to really get to know. We look forward to returning soon.

 "country we have genuinely fallen in love with'
"a country we have genuinely fallen in love with"

Friday, December 12, 2014

Lion dances, bubble tea and calligraphy

Hospitality students, community gather to celebrate Taiwanese culture

This article originally appeared on Humber Today on December 3, 2014.

Thirty-two exchange students from the National Kaohsiung University of Hospitality and Tourism (NKUHT) were joined by a special guest this year during their annual celebration of Taiwanese culture. NKUHT’s president, Yung Chi-Yeh, was visiting Canada late last month and stopped by to join in with the festivities.

“The weather in Toronto is cold today, but here at Humber, I feel warm,” said Yung during a speech to Humber staff and students gathered in the North Campus’s Concourse. “This partnership between NKUHT and Humber allows our students to further develop their English skills and gain international work experience. I am so proud of all they’ve accomplished.”
Snacks served to Exchange students
Snacks served to Exchange students
The students from NKUHT, who spend the third year of their studies at Humber, were also joined by Ambassador Rong-Chuan Wu, director general of the Taipei Economic and Cultural Office, who congratulated the students on their accomplishments.

The event, which was organized by the students as a project for one of their courses, highlights various aspects of Taiwanese culture such as dance, food and Aboriginal traditions. 

“We miss things about Taiwan, so we want to share them with Canadians,” explains Wu Che-Yu. “Every year we want to show more and more people about our culture, and how proud we are of our country.” 

Four Humber graduates – all wearing NKUHT’s signature green blazer – were special guests at the event, as the first students from Humber to have studied at NKUHT.
Kelly-Ann McFarlane, who graduated from Humber’s Hotel and Restaurant Management program, says that studying in Taiwan for a semester opened her eyes to an unfamiliar culture, and also taught her some valuable lessons about herself.

“In one word, my time in Taiwan was amazing,” she says. “It was a complete immersion in the culture – I learned how to adapt to the expectations of another culture and express myself effectively. Everyone should have this kind of experience.” 

Monday, December 8, 2014

Embracing Culture and Learning about Other Countries during International Education Week (IEW)!

Jenny has traveled from her home in South Korea to study Tourism and Hospitality Management - Event Planning at Humber.
Jenny and friend setting up stall
Jenny and friend setting up the Japan stall
November is a busy month for the Humber International Centre busy, in part because of International Education Week (IEW), which is annually marked across Canada and at Humber. IEW is a celebration that Humber uses to encourage its communicty to learn more about different countries’ cultures and share the benefits of international education.

Japan IEW stall
Japan IEW stall
The week started with an Opening Reception for the Global Lens Photography Exhibition at Humber’s L-Space Gallery at the Lakeshore campus. As an international student ambassador, I had an opportunity to give a speech at the gallery about how studying abroad changed my global perspective and my life. I shared the Canadian experiences I have gained through extracurricular activities during high school, meeting new people from different backgrounds, and trying different foods like poutine and maple syrup. Although I was a bit nervous, it was good experience to share what I learned and talk about my journey to people who are interested in studying abroad.

Sushi Stall
Sushi at the Japan stall
The next day, I came to the International Centre early to help Matt, one of Humber’s international student advisors, as well as other student ambassadors and volunteers to prepare for our major IEW event: “Humber Goes Global,” an international fair in Humber’s main concourse.

Traditional Italian Music (Live!)
Each year, the Humber International Centre features five countries at this fair. This year, Nigeria, Japan, Italy, New Zealand and Barbados were featured. Humber has connections to all five countries through its international students or study abroad partnerships.

Other IEW Stalls
Other IEW Stalls
Other IEW Stalls
Other IEW Stalls
As the event approached, all the ambassadors and staff begin to work together as a team to organize food, volunteers and entertainment. That day, I helped set up up easels and tables as well as display Japanese souvenirs and posters on the table. Although I am from South Korea, I know a bit about Japan and was happy to work with Japanese volunteers.  I was interested in learning about their culture. 

Easels holding Japanese pictures and art
Easels holding Japanese pictures and art
When the event started, a lot of people were drawn to the colourful sushi, origami and calligraphy. People participated in activities like writing their name in Japanese, folding papers to make a paper crane and trying sushi samples. I was happy to have people asking questions about Japan and trying sushi while they expressed their interests in different foods.
Other country booths for Nigeria, Italy, Barbados and New Zealand were also busy with people, interacting with students, providing traditional food and have fun activities for people to understand different cultures with a new global perspective.

Writing name in Japanese
Writing names in Japanese
#HumberIEW was very successful due to the hard work and efforts that Humber’s international ambassadors /advisors put in to make IEW fun and engaging! The International Centre team knows how important it is for students to embrace new cultures, food, people and languages with an open minded attitude. In order to learn, people should accept differences that other countries have, because that makes our world interesting and adventurous. In the end, all countries are unique in their own way; therefore, it is up to us to respect and understand difference to make the world a better place.

Jenny with other #HumberIEW volunteers

Monday, December 1, 2014

“Goodbye nerves, hello new experiences!”

This article originally appeared on i-StudentGlobal on 14th October 2014.

Jenny has travelled from her home in South Korea to study Tourism and Hospitality Management - Event Planning at Humber Institution of Technology & Advanced Learning in Canada.

Jenny's Picture

As soon as September started, I was excited but also a little nervous about going back. It's my second year at Humber College in the Tourism Hospitality Management and Event Planning program, and this year I was determined to work harder, meet new friends and help other international students at Humber.

meeting new friends
"... meet new friends..."

During the first week of school, I encountered many international students who got lost trying to find their classes and registering for their new program. Some international students described Humber College as a “maze” – one that they needed to find their way through to get to their final destination.

Without a doubt, I understand that international students can feel overwhelmed by a new environment, different cultures and school system. When I first came to Humber, I didn’t know how to get involved at school and make new friends. I was shy and frustrated when I had to change classes for my program. However, I pushed myself to interact with other international students and asked my professors to help me throughout first semester at Humber.

interacting with other international students
"... interact with other international students..."

I can tell all new international students that they certainly made the right decision in coming to Humber College! Humber College is a perfect place to study and get involved with school activities and make new friends. At Humber College, your new journey will make you feel excited, frustrated and nervous. However, there are lots of fun events and you won’t be short of encouragement from international advisors at Humber who do a great job of making sure international students feel more comfortable.

Keep yourself active by joining clubs and organizations. Last year, I tried to take advantage of the services Humber offers to students such as Humber Gym, WritingCentre, Career Centre, Toastmasters, Library club, HSF volunteer crew, First Year Experience and Humber residence. Different events and clubs at Humber will help you to meet people from different backgrounds and learn about their cultural differences, customs and deepen your perspective.

Keeping Active
"Keep yourself active.."
Don’t hesitate to take actions. Try to understand the world in a deeper sense and don't be shy to follow your heart. Support your friends and encourage each other to learn, experience Canadian cultures and get involved when you have an opportunity to study abroad. If you are just as brave as you were in making the decision to come to Toronto, then everything you experience at Humber College will be a big advantage for you.

Friends encouraging each other
"... encourage each other..."
Good luck!

Monday, November 24, 2014

Humber Goes Global: Mikki in Panama

Mikki Javier graduated in June 2014 from Humber’s Tourism Management – Travel Industry Services program. In Fall 2013 (Mikki’s 3rd semester), she went to Panama to complete the requirements of her Trip Planning and Travel Experience course, where she worked together with her classmates on the conception, development, design and execution of a group trip to Panama.

What motivated you to go abroad?
I'm an extremely curious and adventurous person. Going abroad can fulfill my curiosity while allowing me to have the time of my life.

What were some of the highlights?
Parasailing over Panama was definitely something that neither words nor pictures can describe. It was just purely amazing.

How has going abroad helped you grow as a person? How do you think going abroad has/will help shape your future career?
Going abroad has definitely helped me grow as a person. The experience taught me not to be shy, to take advantage of my time away, and just have a good time. Going abroad has helped my confidence, and that is key in any career.

What advice do you have for students thinking about going abroad?
Have the time of your life! Live while you're young. Make friends and memories. Make every trip be the trip of your lifetime.