It’s September, and there are once again a lot of students here in Waterloo. Some of them are first years that are moving out of their parents’ house for the first time. Others are older students that are moving to a new place. And then there are people like me, who have been living in the same space for multiple years. But when I think about it, my home is not just where I sleep.
I consider my friends’ apartment, where we have played a lot of fun and frustrating games together, as my home.
What about the library, where I went to for really long group study sessions that sometimes extended into the early morning? That feels like home to me.
I would also call the nearby coffee shop, where I’ve spent hours upon hours with friends talking about our lives and every kind of random topic, my home.
The office space at the back of the International Recruitment and Admission office where I hang out with some of the best people that I have ever met in my life? Yeah, that’s home.
This is my fourth and final year of undergraduate study, so I may be a little sentimental. But these past few years have given me some of the greatest, worst, and most memorable moments. After I graduate, it doesn’t matter if I move to another city, another province, or even another country. I will always, always remember the people that made me believe three words – Laurier is home.
“Houses come and go, but a home is where you make your life… A home is where people love you” – Michael “Burnie” Burns
For the past three weeks, I got the opportunity, along with 31 other students, of travelling to South Africa as part of the International Business concentration. During the first week, my class and I visited Johannesburg where we conducted a variety of company visits including Deloitte, McCain’s, ABSA Bank, the Canadian Embassy, IBM, a gold mine and Ford to name a few. During that week, we also got the pleasure of visiting the Pilansburg safari and lion park where we were able to interact with the animals as well as watch them in their natural environment. The highlight from that day was definitely petting a lion cub and feeding a giraffe! We were even able to get up close with a zebra, hyena, elephant, lion, cheetah, and rhinoceros.
In the second week, we ventured to Cape Town where we had a bunch of other company visits lined up including Mass Mart, SAB Miller, Two a Day, and Backsberg Winery. We also had the opportunity to climb Table Mountain and go shark diving! Additionally, we got to climb up to Cape Point where the different sceneries were absolutely breathtaking and where we were also allowed to buy souvenirs and explore around the area. Later in the day, we visited the penguin sanctuary where we were able to see them in their natural environment. Lastly, we were able to visit a school where we donated materials for the children and had the opportunity of interacting with them. It was truly a once in a lifetime chance!
All in all, the trip really opened my eyes in terms of the different cultures and ways of doing business that exist. It was a well-balanced adventure that incorporated doing business in South Africa and exploring the country as well. Our entire class was able to document the trip by making many memories that will last a lifetime!
“Give a man a fish and you feed him for a day. Teach a man to fish and you feed him for a lifetime.” Following this line of thinking, professors from Wilfrid Laurier University will help train the next generations of academics and scientists from Haiti.
Steve Sider is an associate professor form Laurier’s Faculty of Education and an adjunct professor at the Institut des sciences, des technologies et des études avancées d’Haïti (ISTEAH). Sider is currently mentoring a PHD student in Haiti named Thelus Wilson.
Wilson’s story is a remarkable one. Alongside maintaining his education, he also runs a school for underprivileged students in Haiti. To establish this school, he left his stable job and mortgaged his house. Now, he runs the school, and at the same time, is furthering his own education. This remarkable story shows us the impeccable resilience and fortitude of the Haitian public to develop their country through education.
Sider claims that this model of educating Haitians like Wilson will undoubtedly contribute to the educational growth of others in Haiti. Sider is among the many Canadian professors and academics who teach at ISTEAH. Some travel to Haiti and conduct classes in person, while others conduct classes using video- conferencing.
Since fall of 2013, sixty- one students have enrolled into ISTEAH classes for masters and/ or doctorate programs. Sider has done Laurier proud and has embodied our motto- Inspiring Lives. However, the more beautiful part of this model of education is that the development of Haiti will be done by Haitians alone. When the day comes that Haiti stands on its feet again, the people can proudly claim responsibility for the rise of their country.
Every winter semester in March, Laurier puts on a March Break Open House where prospective students come in to learn more about the campus and programs. During this time, all the clubs and student services on campus set up booths to promote their association or the value that they add to the campus. I remember coming to Laurier on this specific day four years ago, and noticing the spirit and community feel instantly. It was so incredibly welcoming with all of the different students cheering and promoting the school that I knew instantly that I definitely was going to apply here.
When I walked up to the different booths, the students were always ready to engage me in conversation and would passionately explain their club to me. I was able to learn a lot not only about the different clubs (150+) that I could potentially be a part of but the different services that would be offered to me if I became a student at Laurier. I was able to get different contacts from students and faculty and email them when I got home about questions that came up and found that they were always willing to answer it and would pass it off to someone who knew the answer to the question if they didn’t.
March Break Open House was a tremendous success for me personally and I would highly recommend attending it if you have the opportunity to do so!
In January, the Laurier ambassadors ventured to Laurier Brantford to have a look at the campus. Just by visiting for the day, we were all able to see how similar it was to our Waterloo campus in terms of the atmosphere and friendliness. We first toured the area and saw the different locations and were able to relate them to the different locations in Waterloo. Although the Brantford campus is more spread out in terms of the buildings, the amount of students that go there is much smaller and it gives it quite a cozy feel. The residences that we visited were extremely nice and well-kept with different layouts compared to the Waterloo campus. The biggest difference that we noted was the two story apartment style residence compared to the single story apartment style residences at the Waterloo campus along with the amount of people in each apartment.
We were all surprised to hear that when it was established, they started off with 39 students and have grown to over 3,000 students today. This increase in the number of students has now been anticipated for and the renovation of the YMCA Athletic Facility is currently being done. The excitement about this new facility can be seen every time it is brought up with any of the Brantford students and with the community that will share these facilities. Similar to the 24 lounge on the Waterloo campus, the Brantford campus has a Student Centre with 24/7 access to students so that they have a place to study or hang out with friends. Another interesting fact about the Brantford campus is that there is no “actual” campus. Historical landmarks like the theater and bank have been converted into school buildings and classrooms. The main campus Centre is specifically designed to be as environmentally friendly as possible by using less material in the construction of the building as would be normally required and having systems that recycle rain water for use in the building.
Although it is a different campus located in a different city, Laurier Brantford does have many of the same activities as the Waterloo campus. An example of this is their version of Orientation Week for incoming first year students where they have a cheer off at the heart of Brantford. However, they also have many unique aspects to their student community including the mandatory four classes known as the Brantford Foundations that all students attending that specific campus must take.
To sum it up, although the Brantford campus is in a different city altogether, the Laurier spirit is present. It still feels like home.
The Winter holidays are over now, and already, some students in Laurier are busy planning their next trip. Over the summer of 2014, a select group of Laurier’s students from both Waterloo and Brantford campuses will embark on a two month trip to Ghana. The aim of the trip will be to work with major NGO’s (non- governmental organizations) to engage in humanitarian work to improve the lives of citizens of Ghana. Students will engage in projects ranging from improving human rights to child education and development, to name a few. Students will work for a range of prestigious NGO’s that are active in Ghana such as IN Network- Ghana and Commission on Human Rights and Administrative Justice
Before the trip, the participants will receive training and enroll in a mandatory study course. Upon returning to Canada, students will also deal in publicity and speak and advertise their experiences to other Laurier students. This will undoubtedly inspire other students to do their part to make the world a better place. This is the third time that Laurier’s students will be embarking on humanitarian trips to other countries to do their part to make the world a better place.
Laurier’s motto is ‘Inspiring Lives.’ At Laurier, we take this motto seriously. Motivated and committed students take our motto and put it into action, elevating our name worldwide and making the university proud!
The end of the fall semester of 2013 was quite a bittersweet one. On the one hand, it was sweet because we were all pretty excited and grateful to have made it to the end of another calendar year. And on the other hand, it was bitter because in the midst of our holiday celebrations, we were reminded of the fact that we would soon have to say our goodbyes to the exchange students here on a temporary basis. These set of exchange students were unique because, unlike many others, they managed to save my semester from several pits of mediocrity and transform it into unimagined heights of merriment. They were able to transcend the barriers caused by the cultural differences they were plagued with; and together, they turned what would normally be a disadvantage into an unexpected advantage.
Naturally, with the onset of a new semester comes a new group of students from around the world. Also naturally, the university always does its best to ensure that every semester, the exchange students have a smooth transition into life in Canada, however temporary it may be. To kick-start the semester, Laurier International organized an orientation program for the newcomers. In the three days that the orientation lasted, the newcomers were given an opportunity to meet other students and survey both the city and the campus. More recently, the department, with the assistance of its peer mentors, organized an “international potluck,” and like most potlucks, there was plenty of food. Unlike most potlucks, however, the food available was representative of dishes from approximately twelve countries. In addition to the vast variety of food, the potluck served as the perfect medium to develop exceptional group dynamics, and perhaps build on friendships that had been sparked during orientation.
Over the winter break, many Laurier International students flew to their respective home countries to celebrate the holidays with their families and friends. However, there were a bunch of international students who chose to spend their holidays in Waterloo as well. These students enjoyed many winter activities that the city has to offer and were even able to venture into different cities in Canada. Personally, I was able to visit home and celebrate with my family and friends.
Laurier opened back on the 6th of January and everyone around campus seems very enthusiastic to be back! This is clear when arriving on campus and seeing the constant and excited chitter chatter around the common areas on campus. Despite the harsh weather in the earlier part of the week, Laurier students fought against the weather to go to classes and to catch up with their friends.
Overall, despite the bleak weather conditions, it’s great to be a Laurier Golden Hawk! I’m looking forward to this semester to share my experiences in my last term here at Laurier!
It is that time of the year when decorations are hung, carols are sung, everyone is joyous – and of course Brantford is amongst these festivities.
Brantford celebrated its 39th annual Santa Claus Parade on November 30th.
The theme this year was “Futuristic Christmas”. The streets were packed with both students and Brantford locals who eagerly cheered as the floats went by.
During the parade, different businesses in Brantford show off their decorated floats to the community and there were free goodies for everyone. I was thoughtful to take a few pictures of this wonderful event/celebration.
Blog by Ere
Diwali, better known as the Festival of Lights, is a Hindu festival which was observed on November 3rd this year. One of the common traditions performed on this interesting day is the lighting of small clay lamps that signify the power of good over evil. The lamps that are lit stay on the entire night and generally those that celebrate this holiday clean their houses in order to welcome Goddess Lakshmi. On Diwali day, many people visit their families and perform rituals together while having a wholesome meal.
This year for Diwali, I had the pleasure of attending Gujarati Cultural Association of the Golden Triangle’s annual Diwali Dinner. The evening was filled with laughter, good food and amazing Indian dance performances. This event was organized through Laurier International and everyone who was interested in attending was asked to meet on campus so that we would be able to commute to RIM Park (the place where it was held) together. Some of us dressed up in traditional clothes while others dressed in formal attire for the occasion. As soon as we got there, we were treated to mouth- watering appetizers and got the opportunity to watch different dance performances by all age groups. These dances ranged from classical to modern day dances and were extremely entertaining for everyone to watch.
We were placed at a table with all those that went with Laurier International and some others who were there to celebrate the day as well. After some of the performances, we were served dinner which included a variety of Indian specialties (dishes and desserts). This delicious dinner left everyone content. After this, there was a chance for everyone else to join in the dancing with some of the most popular Indian music. To wrap the night up, we had the opportunity to take professional pictures with the group if we chose to. All in all, it was a great night!
Until next time,