Thursday, July 31, 2014

August 2014 International Student Services Events

Matthew McDonald is one of Humber College’s four international student advisors. While he helps all of Humber’s international students, he takes special responsibility for helping Business School students at the North Campus. Read more about him and other recent additions to the Humber International Centre team here.

Are you part of the #selfie craze? I am! As you can see in the photo above, some of us at Humber have started taking our own selfies and sharing them on Twitter with the hashtags #humberselfie and #internationalselfie. The above photo was taken at the North Campus Meet & Greet in May 2014. (There was a similar Lakeshore Campus event, too! Check back soon for my next post about our September 2014 International Meet & Greet!)

My #HumberSelfie from our July trip to Ripley's Aquarium
Yes, I like taking a #humberselfie #internationalselfie with students and colleagues, but that’s only one part of the fun to be had the Humber International Centre. I particularly love participating in events with international students, sharing in the experience of discovering Canada and meeting new people.

This August, because we want to help new international students make new friends, get comfortable in Toronto, and relax before starting school, the Humber International Centre has organized plenty of events! These events will be attended by new and returning Humber students and are a great opportunity to meet other students who might be willing to share tips for success!
August 2013 trip to Wasaga beach
The first event we have planned is the Wasaga Beach Hangout. Wasaga Beach is located in a provincial park, so the water and sand are safe and clean. I’m looking forward to this trip, because it will be my first ever visit to Wasaga! Will you join me in discovering its 14 km of shoreline? Well, truthfully, I’ll probably just find a nice sandy place to park for the day…

Then, from August 22 to 24, my colleague Matthew Keefe is taking students camping in Algonquin Park. This small trip is a great opportunity to develop quality friendships while having a quintessential Canadian experience: canoeing, building campfires, and wrestling bears… Just kidding! Our experienced tour guides will offer advice to help keep everyone safe! Then again, Matthew Keefe will probably scare the campers at night! That’s his special way of supporting students! He calls it “building character.”

The week of  August 25 is Orientation week! New students need to register for and attend their academic orientation, but we have an important session just for international students. New students should register for and attend the International Students’ Welcome.

Photo Credit: Transit Toronto
If you aren’t scheduled for academic orientation, you should join us on Wednesday, August 27 for a free guided tour of two of my favourite parts of Toronto: Chinatown and Kensington Market. This trip is also a good opportunity to learn how to use the TTC, Toronto’s public transportation system, because we’ll be travelling there together by bus and subway from both Humber campuses.

As if that wasn’t enough, Matthew Keefe is taking a group to the Canadian National Exhibition (CNE) on August 29! Do you like carnival rides? Food trucks!? Sugar, salt, and a heart attack on a stick? #YOLO! CNE has it all! Just be careful if you eat the infamous cronut (with a maple bacon condiment!) Don’t say you weren’t warned!

Finally, on August 30, we’re going shopping! You might need new clothes for a Canadian Autumn (aka Fall as some may say here), or you might need things for your new home! Maybe you just love shopping! Whatever the reason, you are welcome to join our team of international student ambassadors on the Vaughan Mills Shopping Trip.

Photo Credit: Toronto Life
For each trip, please remember to register in advance. The registration instructions are provided on each Facebook event page.

I hope to see you at one or more of our events this August! We can take a #humberselfie #internationalselfie together!

Just don’t wear yourself out—we have more events planned for September, including trips to Niagara Falls and the CN Tower!

Monday, July 28, 2014

Niagara Falls in Love

By: Madhur Prashant, Humber Alumna and International Student Ambassador

Niagara Falls and back…

On a surprisingly sunny North American day, I put my first excited step on a boat. With dozens running to grab the best spot, I was adjusting myself under a poncho, and simultaneously ‘touchscreening’ for perfect snapshots. My clicks were in full swing even before the boat had gathered momentum. 

Boarding from Canada, my eyes were set on America, relaxing right across and reciprocating my stares. I felt anonymous in my transparent pink-red poncho, as if my peculiar dreams and childlike imagination were hidden underneath. Too many thoughts were going through my mind, one after the other. Here, I’ll lay them out, in some order.

I don’t have a visa yet to visit the US. For a visa, I need funds. For funds, I need a fat pay cheque. And for that, I need a full-time job. Anyway, I was on the line that separates America from Canada. 

The newly arrived summer day saw birds glide over the American rocks, shadowed by the greenery above. None were flying over Canada, and I wondered if these were migrant birds who, like me, longed to fly freely. America was a stone’s throw from the boat, although, that unclaimed, shapeless and emotionless hard matter of earth, the stone, was the only one to make it there without documents. My heart beat wildly. What if the boat gets caught in the frothing and gushing waters? Never mind, I thought. The furthest I’ll reach is USA. Yippee! 

Okay, so I am not glorifying the USA. But there is no harm adding another name to the list of countries I have touched. It’s so strange that you can see, smell and hear from the country right across from you, but not touch its soil without some sacred papers? Like touch, just a finger touch. 

Anyway, so from deep down, I looked up at the surrounding hills. Hundreds lined up on the edges and looked like ants peeping down a wide hole. And finally, the massive and boisterous Falls were right in front of me. 

Amid loud cheers, the Falls blushed with a babyish flaunting glow! Imagine, people from two countries, honeymooners from across the world, love birds or incredulous children, and onlookers like me were in such awe. 

Soft cool showers greeted us in return as we struggled to keep our eyes open and the flimsy and exuberant ponchos in place. White and milky, the thundering Falls were surprisingly calming. 

On days like this one, I wonder more than usual. Why do we limit ourselves with borders, visas, nationalities and currencies, I ask. Standing right in front of an amazingly potent nature’s wonder, I pondered at humans' need to claim and own, and to feel powerful in return. I applaud the confidence; I resent the arrogance and laugh at the futile need for dominance. Ahh… yes, I harboured very deep thoughts amid a gentle cool shower, aboard an unstable water-machine, and over the mocking white waters.

I love Amreeka!