By: Oxana Borkovkina
Three done, two more to go! Today is December 12, meaning that we are about half-way through final exams period. No matter where you are on campus, you see students studying: library, classrooms, cafeteria… Laurier library not just has extended hours for exams, now it is open 24 hours. I personally never stayed in the library all night long, but there must be demand if university decided to keep it open.
To help students to get through exams Laurier offers many services. I want to tell you about one initiative for international students that I am proud to be a part of. Last year Laurier International started a project called First Language Tutoring. Students come to Laurier from all over the world and obviously not all of them are native English speakers. Since learning new material in English may be challenging, Laurier International pairs up students speaking same language so that upper year student can explain difficult concept and help in better understanding the course. Oh, how I wish this service existed when I was taking my Canadian Business Law course! This semester I had one student to tutor, a first year from Russia. We would meet once or twice a week and go over material she had difficulties with. We also had a review session the day before the final exam and she even brought her non-Russian speakers along as they wanted a few tips for the exam.
Next thing I want to mention is targeted to all Laurier students, not just international. This week university hosted “Hug a puppy” event. I have heard about other universities having puppy rooms during exams, but it was the first time when I attended one at Laurier. I am a huge dog lover and it was great to take a study break and go play with puppies to release exam stress. On the picture you can see me with Amy, a dachshund who seemed not to mind posing for a picture.
By Xue Wu
It’s midterm season. The season where everyone stays extra hours on campus, battling for a quiet spot to study, and where the line at Starbucks seems endless. But hey! It’s actually ok, because in these times of pressure and stress, there is something amazing about this community, that makes us come together. In my 3 years here, every time midterms or finals come on the way, I can be sure that I will have the help from my fellow classmates. We are this big family, where we really like to help each other, whether is by exchanging notes, doing group study sessions, or even surprising each other with a treat! Not only that, but Laurier also offers a lot of support and activities to combat the stress, through the different clubs.
Whenever I feel like taking a break and getting some air, I can just join these activities or give myself a treat. All of these activities are organized by the different clubs around campus, these can vary from free yoga sessions, free chocolate and board games, free dancing, to even having a puppy room where anyone can go and release their stress by petting one! Others are dedicated more on helping students that need extra academic support for their midterms, like SOS (Students Offering Support) sessions, where upper year students go through the material for the course explaining it and answering questions. There are also the clubs that are completely dedicated to keep students safe and comfortable 24/7. Clubs like Foot Patrol, where they are dedicated to help you if you don’t want to walk home all by yourself after a long day of studying, so someone in Foot Patrol will walk with you.
These are only a few examples of all the services Laurier offers throughout the year to any student. The best part of this, is that, all of these clubs are managed by other fellow students, which makes this community so special! I rarely see something like this in other universities, and that is one of many reasons why I am so proud to be a Golden Hawk! It’s just a great feeling knowing we have got these services available to us, so we can just, as the title say, “Keep Calm & Take Advantage of Laurier’s Services”
To see some of the services Laurier offers it’s students for yourself, click here.
I am taking a break from my journey to talk about October 31st. Halloween. This tradition is celebrated in many western countries and was brought to North America around two centuries ago. Areas all around Canada light up with excitement at the very mention of Halloween and Laurier is no different, after all, why would we miss out on all the fun?
Have you ever wanted to transform into Superman, or maybe Wonder Woman? This celebration gives you the freedom to. It’s the season for little ghosts and goblins to take to the streets, scaring one another silly. It is the time of the year where children dress up as their favourite characters and go from house to house ‘trick-or-treating’.
Halloween is the only time where those magical words are used. Children go up to different houses in the neighbourhood and ask the question, “Trick or treat?” The “trick” part of it is a threat to play a trick on the person if no treat is given. Don’t worry though; nowadays children don’t play pranks…as long as you always have candy on hand!!
It is a lot of fun to see so many different kinds of costumes that you can wear and discovering areas decorated like haunted houses or spooky walkways. People love telling frightening stories, scary movies are shown in the movie theaters and pumpkins are skillfully (or not so skillfully) carved into jack-o’-lanterns. The best part no doubt, is at the end of the day when many kids sit in a circle and count the different varieties of chocolates and candy they managed to stock up on… possibly already having eaten way too many sugary treats just before bedtime.
But you know what? I had never experienced the fun and excitement of Halloween before, so this year I decided that I should go out there like any good pirate would and explore Waterloo during Halloween. It was even better because it extends throughout the weekend, so a whole weekend of fun and fright.
While out and about on the streets around Laurier, I saw amazing creatures. There was a person with a horse for a head, a zombie, a witch and even a pharaoh mummy. On the less terrifying side, there was a Pikachu, a knight and lots of Disney princesses! I spent rest of the night out with a few friends and got to meet and talk to a lot of people from Laurier and the University of Waterloo! That being said, I may not have hauled nearly as much candy as my 6 year old niece, but I have met so many awesome people this past weekend here and had such a great time.
So here is my challenge to you all: Try to go out of your comfort zone to experience new things. Have a lot of adventures and do different activities. This way you can look back on that time and say you spent it well.
That is all from me for now; I am going back aboard my ship to visit different lands.
Nishwa ‘The Raven’ Narsighani
By: Urbashi Das
The month of October is always very festive according to the Hindu calendar. If you’re Indian, it doesn’t matter which part of India you’re from, you’ll have some festival to celebrate during this month. However, the most notable one that Indians all over the world celebrate is, of course Diwali.
On the other hand, in the university world, October also signals the beginning of the midterm season. Thus, welcome to my life during this month. It consists of a lot of sighing, crying, craving to be in India, where every nook and corner of cities will be lit up, families and relatives will be dressing up in their finest clothes and the food! The most delicious food will be cooked by your loved ones for your loved ones accompanied by an overwhelming amount of sweets.
But guess what? Most of my crying and sighing is because I’m stressing and panicking about my midterms and not because I’m missing Diwali. You know why? Because Canada’s amazing and our little town of Waterloo is even better. On the 23rd of October, Indian students from both University of Waterloo and Wilfrid Laurier University came together to celebrate Diwali by bursting fireworks and serving “mithai” (sweets in Hindi) to make sure that no international student was missing home! Not only that, Laurier’s own Laurier BollyHawks Association which is a fun club that celebrates Bollywood (the Hindi Film Industry) is holding an event called, “Jalwa” on the 13th of November. The event is going to be a huge party celebrating Navratri and Diwali and it’s been kept on a date after all the midterms are over so that everyone can just let go of all their stress and dance it out! You have no idea, how badly I’m waiting for it!
There has been a lot said about Laurier and Canada, being an inclusive community. Yet, to actually see it with your own eyes is a different experience altogether. Last year, when I attended the Jalwa event, our beautiful campus looked like one of the small cities in India, with students dressed up in their finest ethnic clothes and walking around campus like it’s their home because it really is their home. And it wasn’t only Indian students, they had brought their friends of different cultures along, dressed them up in our Indian clothes as well! Everyone was celebrating because as long as you’re spreading happiness, it doesn’t matter why you’re doing it, right?
All I’m trying to say is that for an international student, having a fear of experiencing culture shock in a new country is absolutely normal. Here at Laurier though, we try our best to make this your home away from home by welcoming and celebrating your culture instead of shocking you with ours J
Canadian Reading Week
By Cam Luo
This past week after the Canadian Thanksgiving, all Laurier students enjoyed a week off from our busy university schedule – the first ever Fall Reading Week at Laurier! Being in my final year at Laurier, I was lucky enough to try out this Fall term break as well.
In Canada, Reading Week is a break for university students in the middle of the semester. It allows us to have some time off before the tests, midterms and assignments come after the break. Therefore, during the break, students can set up their own schedules to work on the upcoming tests or assignments on their own pace. Other than studying, students may also use the break to relax and re-energize themselves, such as reunite with out-of-town friends or families, have a mini vacation, or even go on a road trip!
Personally, in addition to the reunion with my friends, I was excited to help out with the Make-up Orientation Sessions hosted by Laurier International too. The Make-up Orientation was for the first-year international students who were unable to attend the International Orientation Week in September. Throughout the orientation sessions, all first-year international students got to know about the on-campus resources and facilities that will better help them orient themselves and succeed in their Laurier campus life. At the end of the week, we even went on a wonderful trip to visit Canada’s famous iconic natural wonder – Niagara Falls!!
With all the energy that I have gained back from my break, I look forward to going back to school and starting a new page in my semester!
Inspired. That is what I have been by this school.
I have been inspired by the campus, by the school spirit, but most importantly by the people on campus, whether that be the students, teachers, alumni, or even those working for the school have inspired me in some way.
But first you have to get involved.
Laurier has so much to offer! But again like I said, you have to take advantage of it.
You see some really exciting things happen at Laurier. There are so many clubs, events, student initiatives that it can be overwhelming but at the same time fascinating!
Now, you can’t be part of every club on campus, you can try, but it would be really really I mean really hard! (Seriously I have tried)
So instead join a few clubs like me and be part of the magic that happens at Laurier!
This year I joined The Social Innovation Project, which a newly formed club on campus and it’s already making an impact at our school. Even, one of our own members has now launched his social innovative and entrepreneurial idea and is on the way to starting his own club on campus! Amazing!
You see we all want to provide a better world. That is what Laurier students do.
All the clubs on campus focus on fundraising and helping the community and a good cause. Our clubs have helped fundraised so many funds for charities year after year and we don’t plan on stopping! This year, I also joined the sorority, Alpha Phi, whose members focus their efforts on academics and philanthropic efforts. Can you believe that at our most recent event, “Move your Feet,” we raised over $3000?!
This inspires me to make my own impact and help the world be a better place. Wouldn’t you want to be part of it? I am telling you the opportunities Canada and Laurier give you are endless!
On a final note, I would like to dedicate this blog post to Tarique Plummer, an international student that came from Jamaica to Laurier this year. Tarique, is a first year but he has already done so much in his time here at Laurier that I mistake him for a third year student.
Tarique is taking advantage of these opportunities I have briefly talked about. He is involved in many positions on campus, meeting people, and most importantly he is inspiring lives. He is what a Laurier student looks like. But for those reading this I want to remind you that anyone and everyone can do the same, you just have to go for it!
Remember this: Laurier is a land of opportunities, it’s not just a campus where you go to class, it is a place that will inspire you to go beyond academics and make a difference in the world!
Laurier truly inspires lives.
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!