In celebration of International Education Week (#IEW2015), the 2015 Student Center Photo Contest is now open! Vote NOW!
The following ten finalists have been chosen and the photo with the most votes will be selected and awarded 250CAD on November 25, 2015. Good luck to all finalists!!
1) Read through the photos and captions below
2) Vote for the photo that best captures the international experience here!
3) Tell your friends!
Ashish Kumar, Red River College: This photo was taken at the ManyFest 2015, Winnipeg, Manitoba. I’m from Bangalore, India currently studying at International Business at Red River College. My first few days in Winnipeg were quite difficult: I was suffering from homesickness because it was my first time leaving behind my family and friends. The school year was yet to start and I was struggling so much that I began to plan how I would return home early. I did some soul searching, eventually built some courage and decided to give this a shot. Now I totally don’t regret the decision I took that day. Canada offers a unique experience to meet and mingle with people from ever nook and corner of the world. Winnipeg is one of the most happening places with activities and events all throughout the year. I’m so looking forward to the winter, proud to be a Winnipegger.
Maria Carolina Neves de Souza, University of Prince Edward Island: It is my first time in another country and everything for me is new. This photo shows how I am meeting people from different countries and how women are conquering their space in the world through education – improving through studies to achieve a good job in the future. In 2 months here, I have learned many things about Korea, United States of America, Japan, China, Chile and Iran, in addition to Canada, and I can teach others many things about my home country – Brazil. This learning experience has increased my knowledge, improved my personality and has helped me to understand different points of view in society. This cultural and scientific exchange will certainly contribute to my prospects and aspirations. I have no doubt that I will apply everything that I learn here at my home university, in my family and all the places that I find myself in Brazil. People will confirm the importance of this exchange when my attitude proves that I am a better person in this world.
Aimee Werth, Mount Royal University: This summer, I studied in Mexico at the University of Guanajuato for a month. It was a transformative experience in more ways than one. I now understand the hardship of what it is like to be surrounded by a language that is not your own. It has given me insight into what new immigrants to Canada must feel. As much as they may have a good grasp on the language (which I did) and be working their butts off to better their skills (which I was), it does not change the fact that it takes time to become fully fluent. Though they may be able to get by at the grocery store and in specific social situations, where it is quiet and easy for them to hear, how overwhelming it must be for them to be thrown into other loud situations and have to rely on their shaky English or French skills. Even around the dinner table at my homestay, a fairly quiet setting, I struggled. As much as I wanted to contribute to the conversation, I couldn’t because the others were speaking too fast and it would take me to long to form a proper response. I believe this knowledge is invaluable to me not only as a Canadian, who lives in a wonderfully multicultural country, but as a student who hopes to one day teach English as a second language. It has given me more empathy for others learning English and will hopefully make me a better teacher.
Lu Gan, Simon Fraser University: My new life in Vancouver is so amazing! As an international student in Canada, I have a chance to meet people from all over the world and connect with them both in classes and off-campus. Vancouver is a stage that lets each of the city’s diverse cultures shine. This photo was taken in the Spring Festival Gala held by the BCIT Confucius Institute. I had never imagined that I would enjoy an awesome evening with people in a place far away from my home country with all the traditional elements of a Spring Festival in China. I was so happy to see that two very different cultures were able to interact so well together. The kindness and respect people here show to each other makes me feel at home. I will definitely cherish this unique experience and look forward to more fantastic events in the future.
Michelle Quaye, Western University: I participated in an exchange to England, where I studied at King’s College London. This international learning experience created so many lasting friendships and memories for me. While learning in an entirely new environment was challenging, it was also a transformative experience. This picture was taken in Florence, Italy, during the Easter study break when students prepare for exams. During this break, I was able to study in many locations, including a café next to this breathtaking view of Ponte Santa Trinata. One of my courses on Modern Greek literature explored the life of the Romantic era poet Andreas Kalvos, and what inspired him to write. Interestingly, Kalvos spent much of his life abroad, but would always return to Florence, the literary and artistic centre at the time. While studying for my exam for this course, I did not have to imagine what Kalvos’ life in Florence would have looked like; it was right in front of me! The exchange experience brought my education to life in a new way, through beautiful European scenery and opportunities to learn and grow that I will never forget.
Maude Blanchet-Léger, Collège de Bois-de-Boulogne : This photo was taken on the shore of Gibara sea with a group of Cuban students. Even with the language barrier we discovered that we share the same music, that we have the same artistic references and that we all laugh at the same jokes. Living one week in this town full of artistic talent, we created friendly ties that will last forever and we got to know a dignified and resourceful group of people. Thanks to this unforgettable course at Academia El Alba and the numerous visits to exhibits, we all have acquired a new and deep knowledge. Returning to Canada, it is easy to realize that we are privileged: what is normal for us would be exceptional for our Cuban classmates. This realization came to be through each souvenir we were able to share with them: exhibit catalogues, maple syrup or deodorant for example, and to see the growing smiles on our friends’ faces. This enriching time abroad allowed us to unite to achieve projects and create lasting bonds thanks to art and the discovery of this culture – all of this without limit or borders.
Fateemah Z. Dauhoo, Simon Fraser University: I took this picture while celebrating a friend’s convocation. The happiness that was beaming from him that day stayed with me. After a long thought, I realized that if in the end, what we are working so hard on is a piece of paper, we might as well make the journey worth the pain and sacrifices. I have two years ahead of me, and after this experience I am convinced that I will seize each and every extra-curricular activity that opens to me, because nothing will shape my university experience and my personality more than getting out there.
Jennifer Zhang, Western University: This summer, I was fortunate to volunteer with Education for Better Living (EBLI), an organization in Mwanza, Tanzania that empowers adolescents and young mothers with educational programs. In Tanzania, girls are expelled from secondary school if they become pregnant, and are unable to complete formal schooling. EBLI runs several programs to teach young mothers employable skills, including a computer literacy program, where the mothers learn about Word processing, Internet use, email, and more. In this photo, my colleague hangs out with some of the young mothers after their computer class. She shows them photographs from Canada on her laptop, demonstrating how computers can be a tool to connect people from around the world. As a medical student, my experience in Tanzania (which involved a clinical elective in addition to volunteering with EBLI) opened my eyes to how social determinants of health such as education and gender affect people in a country so different from ours.
Shelby Jamieson, Dalhousie University: This photo was taken at Nakaseke District, Uganda at a local farm. If you had asked me about this photo, or even anything about this country just five months ago, I would have come up empty. Four months ago, I set foot on African soil for the first time. Ready or not, I started working my first professional internship with an NGO in Kampala through the Canadian Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Scholarship Program. The overarching goal of the program was to improve food security in the region—a perfect fit for my degree in Agriculture. What I learned throughout my time in Uganda could fill a large book. However, one thing that stuck with me is the importance of agriculture for the economy. In Uganda, maize has become the main source of food security. To experience maize production firsthand, I travelled upcountry to interview smallholder farmers about the production challenges faced in the maize sub-sector. Among those farmers was Mr. Kirabira, a community role model and local success story. Despite his challenges, he was glowing in pride. I will never forget the passion he radiated when he showed me his crops that day—I thought, “This is what it looks like when a career and passion come together.”
Selin Denise Acar, Western University: I spent four of the best, eye-opening, life-changing months of my life while studying in Singapore. From day one I experienced new firsts: being in Asia and finding my way in a new country all on my own. Singapore seemed like a surreal place; an advanced city-country, futuristic architecture, abundant greenery, populated by Singaporeans and people from all over the world. I sometimes encountered language barriers, and difficulty adjusting to the different curriculum-style and Singaporean-student crowd behavior (they held a different air than my peers back home). But meeting new Singaporeans and international friends made the life in Singapore an incredible experience. Living and connecting with my roommate from China, a country across the earth from my own, made the world feel a lot smaller. I also visited six countries during my exchange. Everywhere I went I was eager to try different foods, learn the customs, and see places I only previously imagined. I also visited my mother’s home village in the Philippines where I learned to appreciate my roots, my education and pride in my family. I never expected this experience to have such a significant impact on my life and if I could, I would do it all again.