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.

Monday, November 17, 2014

Cafeteria, Tongue-Tummy-Tied

By Madhur Prashant, Humber Alumna and International Student Ambassador

Have you ever been in-charge of a large amount of food that is, ironically, not for you? 
Have you seen it disappear bit by bit while you struggle with a growling tummy? 

I have. 

When your job is to manage delectable food lest it land into unknown, undeserving tummies, including yours, you know it’s not going to be easy. Cafeteria is never boring and work here is never an ‘I-need-my-space’ kind. You have to work with shining and soiled plates, and trays and serving spoons. Your not-a-million dollar-smile must always be present, regardless of the gurgle and acid reflux in your belly. Your workspace may seem intriguing. A counter with sizzling food will be your desk. Disposable cutlery and Styrofoam plates will be your stationery. Gluttonous tummies and salivating tongues your irate customers. 

With minimum wage in hand, I have ‘managed’ food and everything about it.

At the Cash Counter

Sizzling toppings over soft and cheesy pizza slices, crispy spiced potatoes sinking in dense chicken gravy, with molten cheese dripping on the sides, and steaming chocolate croissant with layers glistening under warm flowing butter - at the cash desk you will see good-looking food disappear very quickly.

Photo Courtesy: Wikipedia

If you are strong-bellied but with a weak-heart, you must learn to control, lest the aromas intoxicate and frustrate you and weaken your arithmetic ability. 

At the Food Counter

This one’s tough. Here, you must learn to detach and let go. This position requires self-control. The very delectable, enticing varieties will fill up and disappear in moments. While waiting to serve at the counter, your eyes will remain fixed at the beauties. Tantalizing images of you romancing your food will haunt till you fall asleep. You’ll play with it and pick it up as if putting it on your invisible plate. Then, with a broken heart you'll drop it all into the dish. 

Your imagination will run wild until that one day when the same aromatic beauties will cease to entice you. You’ll buy once, twice or even thrice, but who really has the money or tummy to spare on restaurant food every day? The long days of self-control will finally turn you into a side dish, like a string of boiled bean, bland and boring. 

If you are observant like me, you’ll notice a variety of customers walk up to your counter with vivid expressions. 

The confused ones, who will take more time to decide what to eat than use it to savour it in the end.

The fools, like me, will walk with eyes stuck on food, as if that’s the only high point of their day. Food to such people is more than just an aroma, calorie and nutrition. 

The aggressors, who will charge at you like you are an obstacle. They’ll demand and won’t hesitate to expect a little more than allotted. You’ll curse them inside and smile outside. It’s not easy then to say, ‘That’s more than for what you paid!’ 

On the fashion front, you will have to don unflattering aprons and hair nets. I remember when I once pushed back my hair net for a better view of my hair, until glaring eyes of my boss pricked my hopes.

Cafeteria is a fast-paced workplace with almost everyone on their toes. From chefs preparing fresh breakfast, lunch, dinner and other varieties, to dish-washing guys sifting through dirty dishes and leftovers, life here is far from boring. 

The nature of your work will depend on your role here, and generally, you'll have to pick and learn all trades. You may serve food, handle cash, make pizza, clean floors or do other jobs.

However, it offers an excellent customer-service training and strengthens teamwork skills. Discipline is a must and so is cleanliness. No scratching yourself, twisting your hair, fidgeting with your nose, or wiping your mouth clean after a steal. Remember, if not your boss, your customer will keep an eye on you.

Whatever I have described here is based on my experience over a decade ago. At Saint Mary's University, life as an undergraduate student was still ancient compared to what it is now. You may find work in the cafeteria utterly uplifting. For me, it was just a means to earn my bread with some butter on the top. 

No job is easy. And this one is certainly not, considering my strong infatuation with all things pleasurable.

Friday, November 14, 2014

Student Success Story: Ryan Wibowo (Indonesia)

Name: Ryan Wibowo
Home Country: Indonesia
Humber Program: Film and Media Production

For Ryan, studying abroad was something of a forgone conclusion, because the opportunities for film production are limited in his native Indonesia compared with those abroad. After having researched a number of different colleges around the world, Ryan chose the Film Media and Production program at Humber, because of its global reputation and because of the way the course design supports students’ learning processes: some other film programs are just about history and theory, and others are just about practice, but Humber’s program balances these elements while focusing on students getting into the industry and using the skills being learned. As Ryan explains, “it’s important for graduates to able to walk straight into jobs, so learning what it’s going to be like in the field is crucial. The course is really detailed in this way.”

Ryan looking at something

Despite this being his first time studying abroad, Ryan has been relaxed about his new venture, much to the surprise of his parents. That’s not to say that it hasn’t been without its challenges. Not only is it Ryan’s first time living away from home but he’s also had to contend with Toronto’s toughest winter in 25 years, something which is very different from the climate he was used to back home. 

However, it’s the people that have really helped Ryan establish himself. “Coming to Canada is pretty hard, as I live here alone and have no family, so I have had to adapt to everything. But the people in Canada are really friendly and everyone wants to help. That makes things a lot easier.”

Filming Nature
Filming Nature
The International Centre at Humber has also been an important factor in helping Ryan settle in. Right from his first week, the International Centre has helped with not only his orientation, in terms of knowing where to go and understanding his program, but also with the international entrance scholarship it awarded him. “The International Centre really helped considerably with my scholarship and with directing me how to apply,” he says.

Ryan producing a video recording
Ryan producing a video recording
As Ryan explains, the money has been a real help. “When you’re first living away from home and you’re in another country, expenses like groceries can be a challenge. The extra money has been a great boost.”

Filming Nature

The core skill Ryan believes he has learned from his first year in Canada is communication. Of course, this has helped him get to know people at Humber, but it has also helped him make connections and get work. Over the summer, he filmed a commercial for the Humber Writing Centre, which came from the connections he’d made on his course. He feels that this is an invaluable skill that will really help him in his future career as he moves towards his ideal role of doing film production on a movie set, and ultimately to becoming a director.

Ryan doing an audio check
Ryan doing an audio check 
When asked his key advice for international students looking to come to Humber, Ryan says, “Open yourself to everything. Don’t always hang out with people from your country, as that doesn’t help you adapt. Canada is really diverse, and everybody wants to help you, so talk to everyone you can.”

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

International Meet & Greet Party

Kristina Mathias is one of Humber College’s four international student advisors. She works at the Lakeshore office (H100A). Read more about her and other Humber International Centre team members here.

International Student Group Picture
Meet & Greet Group Photo

One of the International Centre’s favourite events each semester is the Meet & Greet party for new international students. This event takes place during the first month of each new semester. This September was no exception. On Thursday, September 25, 2014 the Lakeshore International Centre invited new international students, as well as returning students, to join our fun event.

Popcorn Cart

Shortly after 3:30pm, the International Centre was filling with excited students. The smell of freshly made popcorn and cotton candy filled the air and a table of colourful, tasty treats were available for hungry students to enjoy while they mingled.  This was a great opportunity for students to meet not only each other, but also the Lakeshore staff, in addition to asking any questions they might still have.

Yummy Treats

Several tables of helpful information were available for students. The Athletics Centre provided information regarding their services and team sports. Information about all the upcoming events the International Centre is hosting, our Connect program, and our Passport to Success program were all available.

After a brief Hello from Kristina Mathias, the Lakeshore International Student Advisor, the fun was ready to begin!

Students participated in a dress up “Relay Race”…

Relay Race

Then came the hectic “Bring Me Game”…

Playing bring me

Followed by raffle prizes.

Student getting raffle prize

The afternoon party came to a close at 5:00pm.  Students took the opportunity to take a #humberselfie with our @HumberGlobal frame before leaving.

We hope that you come out and celebrate our next Meet and Greet Party in January!

Selfie in We are Global Frame

For more photos from the day, click here!

For photos from the North Campus Meet & Greet (September 2014), click here!

Monday, November 10, 2014

The Traditional Chinese Wedding Experience: Gavin-style!

By Madhur, Humber Alumna and International Student Ambassador

Weddings bring a season of joy, coupled with loads of banter and love. That’s what our recently wedded, former student ambassador, Gavin, is testimony to. Gavin is Chinese, and his wedding involved a festive trip to his home country. 

Traditional, striking and vibrant, Gavin and his beautiful wife-to-be were donned in red; in fact, their surroundings were basking in red, too. Red attire, red decorations, red carpet...and Gavin was red with love and blushes, and from the reflection of his surroundings! The colour red symbolizes festivity and celebration and is used extensively for aesthetic and ritualistic purposes in some cultures, like in China and among Hindus in India.


Traditional Chinese weddings, like many South East Asian and Far East Asian weddings, are strong on rituals, festivities, and togetherness. Of course, weddings across the world require love, blessings, and the presence of near and dear ones. However, traditional weddings are always a lengthy, elaborate affair. In countries like China and those with older civilizations, weddings have long been considered a grand affair, a symbol of prosperity and enrichment and a reflection of collective nurturing. 

While our Gavin may have not given these any thought, like many excited and terribly focused grooms waiting for their lady love at the altar, we decided we must talk business. 

Keeping love aside, relatives and friends join in primarily for fun. The pre- and post-wedding rituals are inherently meant to bond the two families, tease and spur the romance, and usher in a new collaboration and responsibility. This is what constitutes a big fat traditional wedding!

Traditional Chinese weddings, like this one, are generally grand, spreading across days and prepared over many months. Once committed to being together, the partners and their families collectively plan their wedding season, shop for goodies and traditional wear, negotiate heartily, plan and salivate over a grand food menu, invite loved ones and some others too...The list goes on. A good wedding is a beautiful but sometimes tedious affair.

Chinese weddings, as we found out, begin with celebrations at the groom’s and bride’s residences, with relatives, food, and frolic going hand-in-hand. Look at the palanquin for the bride below - isn't it lovely!

In China, the marriage registration comes first. Parties, dance, and drama can wait. Only later is there celebration, and exchange of a LOT of money, enveloped in red, from one hand to the next (indeed of someone else).


If you ever wish to learn more about weddings across cultures, browse the different rituals, costumes and customs that are a standard at these weddings. Trust us: it is not as boring as you imagine it to be, and you'll certainly be surprised to learn about the logic behind these.

Friday, November 7, 2014

If you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far, go together.

Lisa Persaud is a student in Humber's International Development postgraduate certificate program. She is also in Moshi, Tanzania, where she is completing her field placement as a C4C ACT Fellow at Anza. Anza describes itself as a "full service incubator for social enterprises" that "exists to catalyze economic empowerment and community benefit in Tanzania’s Kilimanjaro region by partnering with aspiring entrepreneurs to incubate and accelerate social enterprises."

This article originally appeared on Lisa's TravelBlog on October 16, 2014.

Our organization has officially changed over to Anza, and the new website is up and running! If you would like to learn more about this incredible NGO and read some of our individual profiles, click this link: Anza. I have been blessed with an incredible team of co-workers who also double as my Tanzanian family. I am constantly surrounded by inspirational and like-minded individuals that foster an environment for growth and positive change, both inside and outside of our office. I am so incredibly thankful that I made the decision to move out here to help Anza reach their goals, because they in turn are helping me reach mine. I still have a lot to learn, but our C4C project is underway!

Team Anza
Our proposal is nearly completed, and we had our first site visit to the dump and recycling centre yesterday. I will keep you all posted as our project progresses, but if you would like to learn more about Anza's first social enterprise, check out this link: Kauli. It is a designer hand bag business that uses locally sourced materials, and is handmade by Tanzanian women living in Moshi

Family Dinner
A few people from the Anza team celebrated Canadian Thanksgiving with a huge potluck at our house!

They make high quality (and gorgeous) products while providing a means of employment to women in the greater Kilimanjaro region. Their mantra is "The only things more beautiful than our products are the hands that make them." Although they make beautiful handbags, sustainable employment for women is at the forefront of their business model. For you handbag lovers out there (a.k.a Mom...), I recommend checking out their collections; they release new items every week. Be sure to read their section "Empowerment" as it gives a great overview of what their overall mission is. It has been so exciting to hear about how Kauli started, see first hand what it is today and to be a part of an organization that will help it become so much more. Kauli is just one of Anza's many projects, and I can only hope for the same success for C4C, I am thrilled to be a part of the development and growth of this impactful project. 

Swahili word of the day: Karibu which means "Welcome" you usually say it when you want to welcome someone or a group of people. My favourite way to hear it is when our Dada says "Karibu Chakula" which means " You're welcome to get lunch".

C4C team at the dump
Our C4C team is comprised of two Canadian Fellows from the Humber International DevelopmentProgram, a student fellow from the U.S.A who is on his gap year before University, and two national interns from Tanzania. From left to right: Me, Harry, Evance, Liz, and Joseph

Peace & Love

- Lisa

Thursday, November 6, 2014

Humber Goes Global: Emily in Colombia (South America)

By:  Emily Mancuso, Manager, International Recruitment and Market Development

September is one of the busiest months of year for
Humber College students. It also marks the beginning of a busy travel season for me! In Toronto, summer was starting to fade away by the time I left for Colombia. When I arrived in South America, I was able to expand my summer a little by soaking in a few last days of summer weather in balmy Medellin and Cali. I was equally excited  to dust off my beginner Spanish and visit Cali, Medellin, and Bogota to talk about Humber with prospective students.

At the Cali conference centre, I met many students interested in coming to Canada to study. About 2000 students were wandering around looking at different colleges, and I was happy to see students determined to come to Humber College!

After Cali, I went to Medellin. I met prospective students at the Nutibara Conference Plaza downtown; thousands of students passed by the Humber College booth and asked me questions about Humber’s many programs.

Similarly, the convention centre in Bogota was crowded with eager students. About 4000 students attended the event with eagerness, curiosity and enthusiasm to continue their education in Canada.

The city of Bogota was also wonderful to see; it’s modern with great churches and a mixture of Spanish, English, and native influences.

Photo Credit: Uncover Colombia

One of the great pleasures of my job is when I get to meet friends and family of our current students and alumni while travelling abroad. On this recent trip to Colombia in particular, I met several friends and family who excitedly approached me at my booths to tell me how much they love Humber! This always brings a smile to my face and is a wonderfully reassuring – I know I love Humber; it’s just really nice to hear it from friends and family of our Humber community abroad! 

Monday, November 3, 2014

Therapy Session at the Art Gallery of Ontario

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.

At the Humber International Centre, we try to plan events that our #HumberGlobal students will like. We know from experience that trips to major Canadian attractions such as the CN Tower and Niagara Falls are some of the most popular choices. Sometimes, however, it’s nice to try something different!

So, this September, we organized a trip to the Art Gallery of Ontario (AGO), hoping that at least five or ten art-loving students would join be downtown. I was delighted that a group of 30 students were able to take an evening away from school to benefit from the museum’s free Wednesday night admission.

The AGO is one of my favourite buildings in Toronto, because it looks great inside and out! I was thrilled to be able to share it with some of Toronto’s newest residents!

Inside the museum, to my delight, there was an exhibit curated by one of my favourite pop philosophers, Alain de Botton. I enjoyed the way his descriptions made each piece of art accessible to those of us without a background in fine art or offered new (and modern) readings of each piece of art. The exhibit, called Art as Therapy, treated five different themes (e.g., money). I also enjoyed the way museum-goers were encouraged to tweet about their #artastherapy experience.

The kids’ exhibit also had an opportunity for social media fun! #WeAreSocial! A number of us grown-up kids had fun taking pictures after the little kids were finished.

 Less playful but equally interactive was an ongoing photography competition, for which we museum-goers were able to view four international photographers’ work and then cast our vote. The winner will receive the $50,000 prize AIMIA | AGO Prize! This year’s four finalists were from Canada, Mozambique, the US, and Israel.

Of course, the AGO also has traditional art galleries focusing on everything from the Italian Renaissance to contemporary Canadian sculpture. From the global to the local, from the pensive to the playful, from the old to the new, the AGO has something for everyone.