Monday, February 23, 2015

Getting Involved with the Toronto Business Community

This article originally appeared on i-StudentGlobal on 8th January 2014.
Jenny Jeong
Jenny Jeong
Jenny has traveled from her home in South Korea to study Tourism and Hospitality Management - Event Planning at Humber Institute of Technology and Advanced Learning in Canada.

Have you visited the best venues in Toronto? The Carlu, ROM, AGO, or the Four Seasons?

The Royal Ontario Museum
The Royal Ontario Museum
When I heard about the Toronto Special Event Network networking event, I was curious. Last year, I did an internship with the network’s organizer, Alex Cheung, and it was time for me to re -connect with him and learn about current event industries and top vendors in Toronto.
Networking Event
Networking Event
The event was held at the Fountain Blu, a beautiful event centre near Toronto’s Exhibition Place. When I arrived at the Fountain Blu, I got my name tag and walked inside to look around. I had an opportunity to network with some of the wedding planners from wedding decor companies and learn more about different types of wedding cakes.

Cake Display
" decor companies..."
If I think about event-planning industries, there are so many different events that have different purposes to satisfy or entertain people. In fact, event-planning industries are growing and have become one of the most popular programs of study for students.

During the event, I enjoyed sampling appetizers from Table Talk CATERING and yummy chocolate from Rococoa chocolate shop. Different sponsors came to the event to support Alex’s event, and I think it is critical to value the relationship between a vendor and a sponsor. Business is all about collaboration and exchanging products to benefit each other.

"... yummy chocolate..."
The whole event theme was “ 2014: Celebrating TOP vendors in Toronto.”I had an opportunity to hear speeches and meet people from different industries. People from the Carlu, Arcadian Court, AGO, ROM, Four Seasons were all at the event, mingling with other business professionals. It was great opportunity for me to learn about different industries in Toronto and meet event professionals who can connect with me for possible internships or volunteer opportunities.
"... meet people from different industries..."
I recommend international students to join the Meet Up Toronto group and sign up for networking events they are interested in attending. I believe that networking events are the best way to get jobs and meet potential employers. It’s always better to know people and meet people from different industries who can affect our career life.

Read more blogs by Humber Institute students

Monday, February 16, 2015

Ishita Ghelani - “Mumbai Diaries - A Day Full of Young Guns”

This article originally appeared on i-StudentGlobal on 20th January 2014.

Ishita has left her home in India to study for a Postgraduate Certificate in Marketing Management at the Humber Institute of Technology and Advanced Learning in Canada.
Ishita Ghelani
Ishita Ghelani
Someone once asked me, “If you do decide to go back to India, what do you plan to do?” I instantly replied, “I want to start my own business!” Hearing this from an Indian girl shocked him, as the India that he has seen and heard about doesn’t support the idea of young women starting their own businesses.

Unfortunately, at that time, I couldn't say much to change his perspective, as I did not know the current situation in my home country because I’d been studying in Canada at Humber’s Business School for a while. However, today, after my most recent visit to India during winter break, I can proudly change anyone’s perspective with the same suspicion. 

The Lil Flea
"...I went to The Lil Flea..."

During my visit, I went to The Lil Flea – a small flea market full of pop-up shops selling art and craft objects, clothes, accessories, bags, experimental and street food, in addition to shops of various online retailers and much more. I attended this flea market in Bandra, which is a suburb located in West Mumbai, India. Bandra itself is a very culturally rich area within the city. You will find people from every walk of life. I guess it is not just Bandra, but Mumbai as a city has a place for everyone from famous Bollywood superstars to controversial politicians to ‘Aam Aadmi’ (The Common Man).

The Lil Flea truly gave a glimpse of my city. However, for all you who do not know what I am talking about, don't worry! I managed to click some photographs. There were approximately 200 pop-up shops in this market. Despite so many stores selling bags, accessories, and clothes, no two stores sold the same thing. I felt it was quite commendable as often in flea markets, I have seen similar things being sold at competitive prices.

Who said food should just taste good? All the food stalls served delicious looking food (and tasty too!). One notable shout out goes to the Waffle House. As the name suggests, it serves waffles but with a stick, which looks much like a Popsicle

"... Waffles but with a stick,"
The budding artists who took the centre stage made the evening much livelier.

"The budding artists who took the centre stage..."
Well, you must be wondering how any of this answered the question that was asked to me? I did not attend this flea market to look for any answers.  But, surprisingly, my visit did answer the question!

Out of the 200 pop-up stores at this flea market, women entrepreneurs owned the majority of them.  The Lil Flea market, which was started by a few MBA graduates, filmmakers, engineers, and designers in 2006, is a team of 6 friends (out of which 4 are girls!). Each year, this two-day market provides young entrepreneurs like them with a platform to showcase and promote their business to the masses in a way that they couldn't have done otherwise. This year, the footfall for this event was more than 30,000 people.

young entrepreneurs
young entrepreneurs
This is the same city and country that I left to pursue my dreams, which didn't encourage entrepreneurs of any gender let alone women. As men for the most part, in India are expected to be the sole bread earners of the family and women, are supposed to be the homemaker who cooks food and raises their children.

Since men (rich or poor) are stereotyped as the sole bread earners of their families, they are not encouraged to pursue their entrepreneurship dreams as, in the majority of cases, they wouldn’t offer a fixed salary in the initial years. I was indeed very shocked and proud at the same time to see so many young guns listening to their heart and pursuing their dreams relentlessly.

I saw a huge smile on one of the pop-up store owners’ mother's face when suddenly, out of nowhere, there were at least 30 people (I was one of them!) standing outside the stall and waiting to order her daughter's homemade dips. The smile on the mother's face was priceless when one of her friends bumped into the store, not knowing it was her friend's daughter's store, and yet continued to order dips in huge quantity. She was a proud parent of a young entrepreneur!

This is very rare to see in a country like India, where girls are supposed to get married the minute they graduate. They are expected to raise a family and, in most situations, sit at home for the rest of their lives.

These businesses were owned by people in their early to late 20s.  This is the age when youngsters are often pressured to make their lives stable, which means getting a job that offers a fixed salary each month. However, I won't deny the fact that these people could also have a full-time job and that this entrepreneurship could be their side business. Not everyone is born rich, and most of them might need money to keep the house running. Yet, it's a start and people are accepting the concept of entrepreneurship positively. This was just one event and just a start in one of the cities of this huge country. But, definitely I can say the young guns are definitely going in the right direction. As someone had rightly told me, "Chase your passion and not the money as success and money will eventually follow you!"

For more blogs from Ishita click here

Monday, February 9, 2015

Humber Goes Global: Shelby in Scotland

Name: Shelby Guertin
Year of Study: 4th

As soon as I heard there was an opportunity to study abroad through Humber, I knew I wanted to do it. It did, however, seem like one of those opportunities that sounds amazing and totally doable, but that I would never actually grasp. But this time I decided that if someone was going to get to go to Scotland for a semester, it was going to be me. Fortunately, there weren’t too many girls in my year that were interested in going, so my two best friends and I were selected to go to Robert Gordon University in Aberdeen, Scotland for our 5th semester of study.

With best friends
With best friends
There are a million things I could tell you about living abroad, because when you’re somewhere new, every experience is fresh and exciting and scary and amazing. Things like grocery shopping, or catching the bus feel like huge accomplishments, and trips to London, Paris, and Rome feel like just another weekend trip. The highlights for me definitely included our ability to travel once we were in Scotland. Such cheap flights! It’s also fun to experience being the foreign one. People are interested in hearing where you’re from, and language barriers can be amusing when they’re not causing you to cry because you don’t speak Italian.
Sitting under the Eiffel Tower
Sitting under the Eiffel Tower
Going abroad has allowed me to gain perspective on a more global level. When you’re young, you are aware that there’s a whole world out there, but when you actually get the opportunity to go out and see some of it you’re forced to realize just how big it is. It also helped me understand the perspective of a tourist. I’m sure when we were taking picture on the Love Lock Bridge in Paris, or at Piccadilly Circus in London, there were many a frustrated locals rolling their eyes at us and wondering when we would get out of the way. 

Now I’m a little more understanding of all the people taking pictures in the Eaton Centre and crowding the sidewalk in front of Old City Hall. Being a tourist is exciting! We are lucky enough to live in a city that people are excited to visit and photograph. Let’s not frown at them.

In terms of my future career, I would say that studying abroad has opened my eyes to the fact that I don’t have to work/live in Canada! There are jobs everywhere, and with enough effort and motivation I could easily see myself working somewhere in the United Kingdom. As cheesy as it sounds, studying abroad has ultimately taught me that anything is possible if I actually want it bad enough.

The differences between Humber and Robert Gordon University were pretty big for us. As a university, they expected much more independent study of their students, and assignments were all handed in at the end of the semester rather than throughout. That being said, we also had the opportunity to learn a few things that we wouldn’t have had the opportunity to had we stayed at Humber for that semester. We were able to use computer programs like InDesign and Photoshop to create media for a magazine (that was later put together by the Fashion Management students/professors) including articles, product pages, photo shoots, etc. That was definitely my favourite class.

Anyone who has studied abroad will give you the same advice: just do it. Everyone wants to travel and this is a great way to get some travelling in while you’re still in school and don’t have any OSAP payments to make yet… 

Humber is also incredibly helpful with the whole process. So there’s really nothing holding you back! Here are a few things to keep in mind!

We found it best to let each other know when we were having a sad day (trust me there will be plenty) and that way we could help each other out! Everyone who does this goes through the same thing, and it’s totally fine to cry. A lot.

Brittany and I spent an entire day walking through Rome without looking at the map. We ended up really lost (and off the map) and ultimately had to walk down a very dark road with no people around for a while (more crying) but hey, we made it, and we found a restaurant with 2€ bottles of wine so…

Like, a lot of pictures. Like, too many pictures. People will love to see what you’re up to, and it’s always nice to look back on your time at monumental places, but the best photos are the ones where nothing special is going on, but they spark a memory that brings you back to that moment and you can close your eyes and feel like you’re back there.


One of the good friends we made in Aberdeen was the guy who sold us our cell phones. We just started chatting about our exchange and he took us on several tours of the city and to some of his favourite places/restaurants/bars/etc. It’s also fun when you find other tourists from Canada and you have a little moment of “EH!” and then carry on. You never know who you’re going to meet!

Monday, February 2, 2015

Humber Goes Global: Diane Keefe

This post contains selections from the blog posts of Diana Keefe, a Humber faculty member from the School of Hospitality,Recreation and Tourism (HRT) who is in currently in Strasbourg, France leading HRT's 4th Semester in Europe program.

When in Europe…..
It is hard to believe we have been in Strasbourg for over a week now! Our arrival into Frankfurt on January 5th seems like a month ago. We hit the ground running and I am loving every minute of it.

Upon arrival at the Chateau Pourtales we were greeted by the friendly staff of the Chateau and Annika, our CEPA co-ordinator and newest member of our European family.

Our first week started off with getting to know the Chateau Pourtales which is truly like living in a fairytale castle! The Chateau boasts nearly three centuries of history and is a warm and enchanting place to hang our hats for 7 weeks during our Humber Study Abroad program. How lucky are we to be part of this adventure. I cannot wait to share new experiences with a wonderful group of like minded students, eager to get out there and explore!

Chateau Pourtales, Strasbourg, France / Humber Study Abroad 2015
Chateau Pourtales, Strasbourg, France
Maison Lissner ~ C’est bon!
Our first introduction to sample fine French wine was courtesy of Bruno Schlogel of Maison Lissner. Bruno’s family has been making wine for many generations and he is truly passionate about his craft. I enjoy a good glass of wine and am now beginning to understand a lot more about how it gets from the vine to the bottle! It was interesting to learn about the varying colours (appearance), smell (nose), taste (palate) and the best foods to match with the different wines!

WE ARE….on a road trip touring the Alsatian route des vins!
Alsatian “Route des vins”
Our first week ended with a fabulous tour of the Alsatian wine route "a historic land and noble wines". This tour winds its way from north to south for more than 170km along the eastern foothills of the Vosges. We visited lovely quaint villages along the way such as Ribeauville, lunch in Riquewihr, wine sampling at Cave Vinicole Jean Geiler in Ingersheim and then on to the quaint town of Colmar! We also sampled some Alsatian Cake Kougelhopf with our wine!

WE ARE…….sampling various cheeses at La Cloche a Fromage in Strasbourg! What a great afternoon. You could smell the cheese as we rounded the corner of the quaint cobbled street in Strasbourg. We were given a great overview the process of making the cheese we sampled which was paired with a lovely glass of white wine!

As we head into our 3rd week (yikes) I still have to pinch myself every morning! The ambiance at the Chateau makes you feel like a princess!

What a day we had on Friday! Baden Baden is great great! The students had to prepare and execute a walking tour as part of one of their assignments and they did a fab job. Afterwards we toured the Baden Baden Casino and I have to say it was truly jaw dropping! Absolutely stunning decor & fascinating history. I expected to see Sean Connery or Daniel Craig with a martini playing the tables (and/or women)! We had a tour of the casino and then one of the croupiers provided us with a demo of French roulette. Then onto the Black Forest with lunch and site inspection at the gorgeous 5* Relais & Chateaux Hotel Traube Tonbach. I am going back to spend some time at this place….I’m speechless which is hard for me :-)

WE ARE….having a great time at the Baden Baden Casino…morning tour of the casino is highly recommended. We had the place to ourselves…want to gamble….come back later and try your luck!

Strolling the ‘Park’ Avenue….
Went for a long Sunday afternoon stroll and found some furry French cows and two WW2 bunkers. There is a large park surrounding the Chateau filled with hiking, biking and walking trails. Many bonjours bonjours along the way!

World War II bunkers
World War II bunkers
"Just grazing and lazing on a Sunday afternoon!"
WE ARE……having a class in the Grand Salon today! C’est bon! What an experience to teach and learn in a room like this….love the Study Abroad program!
Susan & Rudi - perhaps the new Humber classroom design?
"We are……having a class in the Grand Salon today! C’est bon!.."
WE ARE…..visiting Strasbourg Cathedral. What a beautiful site. Built between 1176-1439 this is well worth a visit. The Astronomical clock is a site to see and be sure to time it when the figurines come to life!
Outside Strasbourg Cathedral
The Astronomical clock
Follow more of Diana's Study Abroad blog posts here.