In 2005, I was infected with the travel bug, when I participated in the Hellenic Studies Field School in Greece. Prior to leaving for Greece, I was a little nervous and at the same time excited to jump into a completely new experience. I had absolutely no clue what to bring with me; the people in the SFU International office were so kind and guided me through the process. Here I was, a week before leaving for Greece, busily preparing and organizing everything when out of nowhere I was hit by a car and in the hospital. Despite suffering severe whiplash, I was determined to go on my exchange. Traveling to Greece was probably the best decision I have ever made because it was the best experience of my life.
I traveled to Greece for over three months for the Hellenic Studies Field School. I still remember the beaches, food, architecture and the amazing friendships I built. Not only was Greece a great adventure; I learned so many useful skills from that trip. I learned to speak another language. I gained experience interacting and accepting a culture which different from ours. Both skills I have been able to highlight on my resume. I also discovered my ability to take care of myself in a completely different country and setting.
While we were studying in the village of Poros we were shocked to discover that the local kids had never experienced a soccer tournament. Our Field School successfully organized Poros’s first soccer tournament. With over fifteen teams registered, the tournament turned out to be an amazing day. This small gesture made me realize that even as a field school we had made a huge difference in the lives of those children.
Experience with the SFU Greece Field School made me want to get more involved within the SFU community. Getting involved has opened up many opportunities for me. Last semester while I was in the Student Development office for the Lead program, I noticed a poster advertising the Education without Borders Conference. Right away, I saw another opportunity, and I was able to go to Abu Dhabi and Dubai for this conference.
I attended workshops performed by world leaders, made friends from all around the globe, and I was able to meet my current idol Mohammed Yunus who had won the 2006 Nobel Peace Prize for attempting to end poverty in Bangladesh. I was able to meet the Shek, Placido Domingo, Nelson Mandella’s grandson and even the owner of webCT. The conference not only opened my eyes to global problems but also taught me the importance of networking and provided direction for my future career search. Networking is very important as it helps with meeting the people who will guide you to the right career path. Given my involvement and the fact that many faculty and department heads knew me, I conducted research and found a grant, which provided me with a financial support to attend the Education without Borders conference.
Another group, very dear to my heart, that provided the opportunity to travel is the SFU Girls Giddha Team. The dance team has allowed me to embrace my own ethnic background within my birth country, Canada. After being together for less then two years, SFU Girls Giddha is number one in North America. We have won two first-place titles, three second-place titles and have taken Simon Fraser University’s name into to the world charts. It was not easy; we fought, cried and attended practice at 5:00 am. There were times where I thought we were going to kill each other but at the end of the day, each one of those girls loves the other. We traveled as a team to San Francisco, San Jose, Fresno and even Hollywood where we worked together and won those titles.
The girls in my dance team have taught me how to work and achieve within a team. These are skills, which are truly necessary in the job market. I have learned various skills and gained memories, which will last me a lifetime.