Diversity and Intercultural Services

Diversity Ambassadors share their experiences on campus

May 8, 2017 • Written by

Every year, the Diversity and Intercultural Services at Red River College opens up three Diversity Ambassador positions to immigrant and international students to share their experiences, promote diversity on campus, provide peer-support and assist Diversity and Intercultural Services to organize events and activities. Kyna Wu, Kanupriya Sidhu and Hasanpreet Singh are concluding a year of amazing work as Diversity Ambassadors and would like to share from their experience throughout the year.

Hi everyone, my name is HUIYU (KYNA) WU and I come from China HeBei. I came to Winnipeg in 26th Dec, 2014 which was a really cold season. First orientation day, I attended LINKS seminar at EDC campus. At that time, I met a diversity ambassador who was also from China. I was really inspired by his talk and fun experience. So, I applied for the diversity ambassador last year and lucky I got picked. Same as every ambassador will do, I joined LINKS seminar as well and shared my first-year college experience to new international students and immigrant students. I felt a lack of confidence at that time because I never spoke in front of so many people by using English. This made me feel embarrassed. I could feel that my face turned red quickly during this period of time. But after I attended several events through diversity department, I felt much better about public speaking. Also, through this 8 months, I met a lot of new people and became friends with some of them now. I am taking hotel and restaurant management at Red River College. My goal is to become more open minded to different cultures and different personalities. In hospitality industry, we are going to deal with people who have different personalities, come from different countries, and speak different languages. Making people feel welcome, equal, and treating them with respect is extremely important. I really appreciate every single moment that diversity ambassador position brought to me. Thankfully our college has this program that I can join in. It brought me a lot of fun as well.


Hello, I’m Kanupriya Sidhu, an international student studying Business Administration at Red River College. I landed here in Winnipeg on the beautiful day of Christmas when this place was covered with the thick blanket of ice. As I was new to this place everything felt different from where I had come (India), the ambience of this place felt cold. As I started going to college, things felt better and I made some amazing friends. With each passing day, I started liking this place more. I felt more homely in Winnipeg as I started understanding people around me. I could now understand what the people of this place thought was right and wrong, their culture, language, and values and I am still in the process of learning it.

When all this was happening around me, what helped me to cope with this change was the warmth of the Diversity and Intercultural Service team. They made me feel that what I was facing was normal and that they were there to support me in every possible way. The friendly and cheerful members of Diversity and Intercultural Services created a protective and positive aura around me. Five months later, I got the chance to be a part of this wonderful team. I chose to be a Diversity Ambassador because I had always wanted to help students like me, who were looking for a home away from home.

As a Diversity Ambassador it was my responsibility to promote diversity on campus, provide peer-support and share my experiences so that students feel that they were not alone. I participated in many activities which helped me develop skills like: leadership, networking, communication, taking initiative, problem-solving, intercultural understanding and time management. Being a Diversity Ambassador is an all-inclusive experience in itself. It was a learning episode along with a lot of fun. I will always be very thankful to the Diversity and Intercultural Services for giving me the opportunity to learn more about the people around me and also for helping me contribute to the community.



So guys. Get comfortable wherever you are sitting. Yup this is Hasanpreet Singh and I am going to tell you about my journey as a Diversity Ambassador. Here I am writing this blog after just finishing with the season 1 of “Thirteen reasons: why” of Netflix originals. Yes the beginning lines are taken from the same series. After watching it, you just get a feeling what loneliness can do to a person. People always need someone else who can help them and they can share their feelings, happiness or sorrows with. Just relieves a lot of stress and burden from their shoulders. This psychology of mankind was what led me to be interested in becoming a diversity ambassador. To be the ‘other person’ whenever someone needs you. I kind of had my own selfish interest too. Even I was new to this place and was looking for a friend I could trust. This opportunity helped me to make a lot of great connections. I got better at my communication skills, problem solving skills and time management skills. After this opportunity I started opening up. Meeting different people all the time helped me to develop different skills and gain an experience worth a lifetime. To have started this journey from an interview and ending it at an appreciation party felt great. Thanks to Gabriela, Lauren, Norlan, Bradley, Kanupriya, Kyna and to all those who were a part of this phase of my life. It is hard to summarize the whole journey in some simple sentences. But one thing I know for sure. It was so awesome.

For more information on the Diversity Ambassadors Program, contact Gabriela Ludusan, Mentorship Program Coordinator at gludusan@rrc.ca or visit https://blogs.rrc.ca/diversity/celebrate/ambassadors/

Featured menu items: Coffee, Cookies and Career Tips

April 10, 2017 • Written by

The RRC Student Support Services team is here to assist you in your transition from College to career!

Stop by Room P107 – Exchange District Campus for coffee and cookies, and ask us questions related to your job search.

RRC Career Cafe
April 11, 2017, 11:00 am – 1:00 pm
P107 – Exchange District Campus

Each serving of cookie and coffee comes with tips of your choice including resumes, cover letters, interviews, managing interview anxiety, self-care in the workplace, student work permits, communicating your needs in the workplace, excelling in the workplace, and English at work!

We also will have a professional photographer on site to provide you with a free professional headshot, perfect for your LinkedIn profile!

We look forward to seeing you there!


2017 Peace Award recipient sharing his experience in Canada

March 13, 2017 • Written by

Red River College recognizes and honours the tremendous potential of students who come from various backgrounds. In order to celebrate stories of courage, strength and determination, Diversity and Intercultural Services has implemented the Peace Award, presented annually to current students in full-time academic programs who entered Canada as refugees or refugee claimants. To be eligible for the award, applicants must submit a 1,000-word essay that discusses their adjustment and experience in living and learning in Canada, why they decided to take their current program at RRC and how the Peace Award will help them succeed in reaching their career and life goals. This year’s recipient of a $1,000 Peace Award is Wasim Alkabani.

The Peace Award recognizes Wasim for his strength and determination and for demonstrating perseverance in reaching his educational goals while adapting to a new life in Canada. Wasim arrived in Canada from Syria through the Student Refugee Program and, although he’s not new to travelling and settling in new cities has never been an easy step for him, seeing his name on the big signs with WUSC and RRC logos and 15 people waiting and cheering for him at the airport was overwhelming: “Suddenly the feeling of uncertainty was replaced with intimacy as I was introducing myself to all those lovely people.”

Wasim had graduated from Damascus University with a BA in Finance in 2009, and accounting was one of the key courses each year of the program so it only made sense for him to continue in the Applied Accounting Program at the Exchange District Campus: “I started attending all my classes and I was very enthusiastic about my program as it was something I’m interested in. I was amazed by the teaching techniques and the courses taught at my college and how it’s designed to reflect on the work environment and to get students ready to be a part of the Canadian business community. Approaching our instructors who are always willing to support in everything is something I first experienced here and it has been a big help for me through my studies.”

Wasim made lots of friends while studying at Red River College and staff and classmates helped him experience new activities and events in Winnipeg: “I had the chance to explore the city and visit different parts of it. I enjoyed Santa’s parade which displayed an amazing tradition and celebration of the city. I had a blast trying skating for the first time in my life at the Forks and which in return made me set plans to try other Canadian sports such as hokey, ice fishing and skiing… I was invited to many houses and joined different celebrations that reflected the true values of diversity and mutual respect that Canada stands for.”

In terms of planning and future goals, Wasim would like to continue specializing in his chosen field: Accounting while also supporting his family in Syria who are still experiencing conflict and donate part of his Award to Children’s Wish foundation: “to help draw a smile on a child’s face.”

“I look back to where I was six months ago”, Wasim reflects, “in an area with the biggest ongoing conflicts where I needed to struggle for the simplest rights to have a decent living. And I look to where I stand now, and I feel proud that I made it to this great country and that I have the privilege of living by the honorable values of the Canadian culture and be an active member in the society.”

We congratulate Wasim for his outstanding self-reflection and for sharing his experience and success story with the College community so that we can all celebrate Diversity and potential.

For more info on the Peace Award, please contact Gabriela Ludusan, Mentorship Program Coordinator at gludusan@rrc.ca or 204-632-3847.

Wasim being welcomed at the airport by RRC staff and students.

Wasim skating

Wasim and his first skating adventure!




Learning the Canadian Way: RRC Students Skate the River Trail Together

February 10, 2017 • Written by

Hospitality and Tourism student volunteers and Intercultural Mentorship partners learning to skate at the Forks.

At Red River College, students tend to stick together both inside and outside the classroom. Having fellow students to lean on for support took on a whole new meaning on Saturday, January 28th when Red River College’s group of immigrant and international students joined Student Integration Coordinator, Lauren Konrad, for a lesson on how to lace up the Canadian way.

Over 60 international and immigrant students attended the outdoor event. For most, this first- time skating experience was also the first time standing on a frozen river trail; an entirely new concept of outdoor fun. Students held each other up as they took their first glides. According to Business Administration Student, Thiago Vitral, “this was my first opportunity to use the skates I purchased once I moved to Canada. We don’t get to skate like this in Brazil”.


Canadian Connection volunteers giving a helping hand.

Following the outdoor skating time on the trails and rink, students shared some hot chocolate and donuts at The Forks  Commons while having the opportunity to talk with other students and make new friendships.

The event  is offered each year through Diversity and Intercultural Service’s Canadian Connection Program. The event was supported by a group of student volunteers from the Hospitality and Tourism Management Program.  Current students from this program partner with the Canadian Connection Program to gain hands on field experience through the variety of activities offered throughout the academic year.


Diversity and Intercultural Services welcomes you to a new academic term at Red River College!

January 5, 2017 • Written by

Celebrate DiversityDiversity and Intercultural Services assists immigrant and international students to be successful in their integration into the local culture, the Canadian College environment and the Canadian workplace culture. Diversity and Intercultural Services supports all students in developing their intercultural competence necessary in today’s global work environment. Diversity and Intercultural Services provides all students and employees with educational opportunities and resources to enhance their understanding and respect for gender and sexual diversity.

Student Integration Services

All Immigrant and international students can access the Student Integration Services for cultural or settlement supports that will facilitate your integration to the College environment and the local community. Student Integration Coordinators work with you to find solutions, offer advocacy and build support plans to help meet your integration needs.

Notre Dame Campus and Stevenson Campus Contact: Norlan Page, Student Integration Coordinator at 204-631-3309 or email nopage@rrc.ca.

Exchange District Campus and Regional Campuses Contact: Lauren Konrad, Student Integration Coordinator at 204-631-3345 or email lkonrad@rrc.ca.

Language Training Centre Contact: Jillian Hoogland, Student Integration Coordinator at 204- 945-6151 (ext. 6318) or email jhoogland@rrc.ca.

Canadian Connection Program and College-Wide Diversity Events

Join us for on and off campus opportunities to experience cultural, social and recreational activities, engage in College life, and connect with the Winnipeg community. You can also attend College-wide opportunities to build connections and understanding across cultures.

For more information, please contact Lauren Konrad, Student Integration Coordinator at 204-631-3345 or lkonrad@rrc.ca.

Student Refugee Program

This program sponsors a student in refugee camp to come to Canada to pursue post-secondary education at the College and share this experience of going from Camp to Campus with the College community. A Local Committee supports the student in this journey to settle in Manitoba and study at the College while at the same time promotes on-campus opportunities for global citizenship for all staff and students. Register to be part of the Local Committee at http://blogs.rrc.ca/diversity/celebrate/student-refugee-program/

For more information, please contact Lauren Konrad, Student Integration Coordinator at 204-631-3345 or lkonrad@rrc.ca.

Intercultural Mentorship Program

You can also volunteer with the Intercultural Mentorship Program, a Local and Global partnership that pairs immigrant and international students with a Canadian-raised student or staff for friendship, practice of communication skills and intercultural exchange. Students from all academic programs can apply. The commitment is 10 hours of time. For immigrant and international students, this is a great way to understand Canadian culture while sharing some of their experiences with a Canadian-raised student. For Canadian-raised students, this is a great opportunity to learn more about the world outside Canada and develop their leadership skills. Two awards of $500 each are presented annually to two partnerships in the program that take their commitment to great heights and truly exemplify the spirit of mentorship. Register at https://blogs.rrc.ca/diversity/imp/.

For more information, please contact Gabriela Ludusan, Mentorship Program Coordinator at 204-632-3847 or gludusan@rrc.ca.

Step Out of Your Box Program

This program is designed to give students the opportunity to explore and develop an understanding of the many dimensions of diversity that make us unique individuals and also to connect students with others in a meaningful way that builds skills and develops awareness and understanding of the diverse world we live in. Four awards of $500 each are presented annually to four projects submitted by students who spend time exploring a dimension of diversity different from their own and produce a leave-behind project that promote the dimension of diversity the student has chosen and/or benefitting the organization the student was volunteering for. Register at https://blogs.rrc.ca/diversity/soyb-registration/.

For more information, please contact Gabriela Ludusan, Mentorship Program Coordinator at 204-632-3847 or gludusan@rrc.ca.

New Roots Program

Attention Language Training Centre students! This program offers workshops, social activities and special events to assist immigrant and international students in English language programs build a social network in Canada, engage with the local community and access resources and information helpful for settlement in Winnipeg.

For more information, please contact Jillian Hoogland, Student Integration Coordinator at 204- 945-6151 (ext. 6318) or jhoogland@rrc.ca.

Intercultural Training Program

The Intercultural Training Program assists all students to develop cross-cultural awareness to study and work effectively in today’s global environment. This program also assists immigrant and international students to develop the cultural awareness needed to study and work successfully in the Canadian college and workplace environment. To learn more about intercultural skills and Canadian culture, visit www.rrc.ca/interculturaltraining.

For more information, please contact Bradley West, Diversity Initiatives Coordinator at 204-632-2016 or bcwest@rrc.ca.

LGBTT* Initiative (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Two-Spirit)

The LGBTT* Initiative at Red River College fosters the development of a safe environment on our campuses so everyone has the chance to work, learn and access services in an inclusive and welcoming manner. Click the following link https://blogs.rrc.ca/diversity/wp-content/uploads/2016/09/UnderstandingLGBTTRights.pdf to learn more about LGBTT* Rights in Canada. For more information about our services, educational publications or links to community organizations and resources, you can visit www.rrc.ca/LGBTTInitiative. For the list of Allies at Red River College, visit http://blogs.rrc.ca/diversity/lgbtt/ally-project/.

NEW this year, Gender and Sexual Diversity Awareness Training Course! This course was designed from a transformational learning perspective with the goal of increasing awareness of gender and sexual diversity, and features six 50 minutes online modules, with accompanying resources and activities.

For more information or to register to the course, please contact Bradley West, Diversity Initiatives Coordinator at 204-632-2016 or bcwest@rrc.ca.

Visit our offices! We are looking forward to meeting you!



  • Lauren Konrad, Student Integration Coordinator: 204-631-3345 lkonrad@rrc.ca
  • Gabriela Ludusan, Mentorship Program Coordinator: 204-632-3847 gludusan@rrc.ca
  • Bradley West, Diversity Initiatives Coordinator: 204-632-2016 bcwest@rrc.ca


  • Jillian Hoogland, Student Integration Coordinator: 204-945-6151 (ext. 6318)  jhoogland@rrc.ca

Have a great academic term!

Building community at Red River College. Start one-on-one

December 19, 2016 • Written by
Mentor partners Prathamesh and Barrett after a bike ride around the city and taking a rest at the Red River Floodway.

Mentor partners Prathamesh and Barrett after a bike ride around the city and taking a rest at the Red River Floodway.

Communities grow stronger when people do a variety of simple things together that give them chances to connect with others, build trust and get involved in doing things together. Volunteering with the Intercultural Mentorship Program offers opportunities to students and staff to engage with others outside the classroom, on your free time, in a positive and fun way that encourages reflection and dialogue and enhances interpersonal and communication skills.

Sarthak is a Technology Management student who came to Canada from India in August 2016 and wanted to make more friends and get to know the new environment from the perspective of a local person. His mentor partner Kateryn is a Business Admin student who lived in Canada all her life. Growing up with a lot of people from the same culture, she joined the Intercultural Mentorship Program to see how other cultures are different and similar and learn about someone else’s background.

They met on campus for coffee and conversation, at Stella’s for lunch, visited the Forks and went for a walk at Assiniboine Park together and discussed lots of topics that are relevant to them and that allowed them to appreciate each other’s perspectives. One of the conversations Kathryn fondly remembers is about school: “The way I, a local partner, look at school is just so much different from the way Sarthak looks at things. He is a little older than me and went to university in India, so his experience is a lot different than mine. It was interesting to discuss the differences in both the teaching ways and our mental learning habits.” Sarthak also enjoyed exploring his partner’s culture, the differences in perspectives and how those differences are related to culture: “The important point is even though we are different we share same human values which I came across during my conversation with my cultural partner on varying topics.”

106 students and staff at Red River College have successfully completed the Intercultural Mentorship Program in the Fall Term. Lots of insightful intercultural conversation was generated on topics such as personal interests and hobbies, education and student life, settlement experiences, politics, communication styles, LGBTT* culture in different cultures etc. Partners explored Winnipeg together, tried out new traditional foods, visited the Human Rights Museum, attended Jets’ community practice, concerts at Winnipeg Symphony Orchestra, the corn maze, Halloween or Christmas related activities, fishing, biking and many other activities that helped create a bond, as well as enhanced participants’ interpersonal, intercultural communication and leadership skills.

Who doesn’t like living and learning in a community that is welcoming and inclusive? Seeking opportunities to positively engage with others is a wonderful way to start building community! Sign up to be a Mentor in the Intercultural Mentorship Program! Applications for the Winter term accepted until January 18, 2017. Visit www.rrc.ca/imp to read or and to apply!



Feeling at Home for the Holidays – Season’s Greetings from the Student Refugee Program

December 15, 2016 • Written by

SRP students, Wasim Alkabani and Yves Ngendahimana, baking Holiday treats for the Red River College Local Committee (WUSC).

A little bit of snow has not stopped Applied Accounting student, Wasim Alkabani, from settling into his new Canadian life at Red River College. Wasim arrived in August 2016 from Lebanon to study at the College. He arrived with a sponsorship award through the College’s Student Refugee Program and WUSC (World University Services of Canada). Each year the College oversees the selection and sponsorship of one refugee student.

Since his arrival in the fall, Wasim is overwhelmed by feelings of gratitude for the support and friendship offered to him by the College’s local committee, his instructors, classmates and community members. Whether it’s technical support, learning to ride the bus, getting geared up for winter or learning how to bake, the student group has been supporting Wasim every step of the way while he adjusts to life in Manitoba. According to Alkabani, “the committee has taken great initiative to make sure I have all I need and I am surrounded by good people. This has made me feel very at home. This experience has been very exciting for me. I really appreciate the diversity on campus and meeting people from around the world in my classes. I like that I have access to many student supports. This has made my transition much more comfortable and I have learned a lot during my short time here.”

Although the support is strong, there are always challenging moments when you become a new resident in Canada. For Wasim, being far away from family can be difficult. However, there is no shortage of keeping in touch. “I am always talking to my family. I make video calls to my family in the evening from my room in residence. I send lots of pictures of the new things I am trying, the Exchange District Campus and the places I visit in the city.”

For Alkabani, the Applied Accounting program has kept him busy with studies and projects. As a former Finance and Administration Coordinator for the British Council in Syria, he finds his program to be a great tool for developing his current skill set and broadening his knowledge. According to Wasim, “group work is a new concept for me. I like the hands-on learning and many resources available for me to use. Having access to computers and a library really help me out. I love that I can study anywhere at anytime I like.”

Wasim has formed a friendship with former SRP student and RRC grad, Yves Ngendahimana. Yves arrived through the Student Refugee Program in August 2015 from Malawi and has been a mentor to Wasim since his arrival. Having now moved into industry, it’s a treat to come back to campus. “I really miss my community at the College. I miss seeing everyone every day. Wasim is very lucky to be at Red River College “says Ngendahimana. Yves, who is currently employed with Scotiabank, intends to continue studies in the College’s Business Administration program in 2017. “It will feel so good to be back. RRC is like home.”

The two plan to travel to Montreal in January to participate in the WUSC International Forum. The gathering will be a reunification of WUSC sponsored students from around the country. With a focus on international development, the conference will aim to inform students and their local committees on current development issues, and the role post-secondary can play by engaging in WUSC membership and global citizenship programming.

In Alkabani’s own words, “I would like to thank everyone who is part of my journey. I wish everyone at RRC a great Holiday Season and look forward to returning to my program in the winter term.”

Learn more about WUSC’s Student Refugee Program, or make a donation to RRC’s  Student Refugee Program Award.

To join RRC’s local SRP Committee, contact Lauren Konrad at 204.631.3345.

The Roblin Centre will be closed on October 11

October 7, 2016 • Written by

sorrywereclosedRed River College’s Roblin Centre will be closed on Tuesday, October 11 in order to allow for necessary work to the water main adjacent to the campus.

During that time the water will be shut-off and for the health and safety reasons classes will be cancelled and the campus will be closed to the general public.

Regular operations are expected to resume on Wednesday, October 12.

Red River College has been advised that this outage will not affect the adjacent RRC properties located in the Exchange District.

Classes, programs, and services offered at the Massey Building and the Paterson GlobalFoods Institute will carry-on as scheduled.

Diversity and Intercultural Services Celebrates Volunteerism on Campus

May 3, 2016 • Written by

The RRC WUSC Local Committee (Student Refugee Program). Photo Credit: Digital Media Design Student, Prathamesh Madia.

On Wednesday, April 13th, members of the Diversity and Intercultural Services Department gathered to celebrate volunteerism on Campus at the Annual Volunteer Appreciation Mixer. As part of the national recognition week, the department dedicated the evening to acknowledging student and staff volunteer efforts throughout the year.

Over 100 student and staff members attended the event. Volunteers were greeted with a pink flower as a small token of appreciation. The formal part of the evening highlighted outstanding volunteers and various departmental award recipients.

In the Intercultural Mentorship Program there was lots to celebrate. Over 300 participants successfully completed the Program this year having made a world of difference: in their partner’s life and on campus contributing to a more diverse, welcoming and inclusive environment.

Three Awards were offered this year to 3 partnerships representative of the “mentorship spirit”: Elizabeth Glaseman and Candy Pham demonstrated a willingness to learn, a sense of adventure, and an ability to have fun that have opened them up to new experiences while sharing from their own; Leonardo Celis Borrero and Benjamin McDonald have truly stepped out of their comfort zones and enhanced their intercultural understanding in a way that transformed their lives and helped them become more comfortable with themselves and each other; Paulo Arruda and Gemma Gibb have shown a lot of genuine interest in the other person and respect towards the partnership with an attitude of exploration and discussion, a love for learning and spirit of mutual support.

In addition, four Step Out Of Your Box Awards were presented to students who have explored dimensions of diversity different from their own and produced leave-behind projects to promote diversity or benefitting their organization. Hospitality and Tourism Management students Yuan Chen and Shanshan Long have volunteered with IRCOM and consciously and constantly challenged stereotypes around issues facing the refugee community in Winnipeg. Through their work they have manifested creativity in new and unique circumstances and have contributed to building a more diverse community. Another HTM student, Star Wang, has emerged as an outstanding planner, writer and public speaker and, upon volunteering with The Great Wall Project has contributed to bringing diversity to the forefront of Winnipeg culture and arts arena. Finally, Jacqueline Dormer of the Educational Assistant Program has made a difference into the lives of Manitoba living with disabilities through her work at St Amant. She has learnt that “we are all different and we cannot be defined by our differences” and has surely left a mark on all those she has worked with.

To continue, in an effort to support refugee students and to invite to self-reflection, exploration and goal-setting that facilitate settlement and integration, the Diversity and Intercultural Services at Red River College is presenting and annual Peace Award to current students in full-time academic programs who enter Canada as refugees or refugee claimants. This year’s $1,000 Peace Award recognizes Yves Ngendahimana for his strength and determination and for demonstrating perseverance in reaching his educational goals while overcoming challenges and adapting to a new life in Canada. Coming from a personal understanding of political conflicts and the role biased and corrupt businesses play in economic downfall, Yves is committed to using the knowledge and skills he acquired in RRC’s Applied Accounting Program to start a business revolution in Africa and the world at large. He takes it one step at a time and plans to use the award to pay for his tuition for his next step which is doing Business Administration with a major in Marketing.

A small reception followed which included light refreshments and Brazilian music by Marco Castillo.

The evening was captured nicely as participants got silly and took part in a fun-filled photo booth. To view the online gallery click here.

Thank you to all volunteers who took part in our programs and services this year. Your contributions truly do make a world of a difference.

Red River Students Experience the Best of Winter in Winnipeg

March 9, 2016 • Written by

Everyone knows that winter in Winnipeg can be a long, cold and sometimes dreary season. It can be especially difficult for someone experiencing the season for the first time. For many international and immigrant students at Red River College, adapting to the weather in Winnipeg can be a real challenge. The days are short, the air is cold, the sidewalks are slippery… Just getting to class everyday can seem like a struggle. However, in Diversity and Intercultural Services, we believe that the best way to get used to Winnipeg winters is to fully immerse yourself in the experience. We encourage students to put on their toques, tie up their skates and get out in the community to enjoy the numerous winter activities that Winnipeg has to offer. In the past two months, students have had the opportunity to participate in numerous activities organized by Diversity and Intercultural Services.  The following are some of the highlights:

Skating at the Forks

skate 4
As part of the Canadian Connections and New Roots Programs, over 100 students had the opportunity to try out their skating skills at The Forks on two different days. As we all know, Winnipeg winter can be unpredictable. The students who went skating on January 30th as part of the Canadian Connections Program were treated to some mild winter weather for their outing. The Language Training Centre students who went skating on February 13th through the New Roots Program were not so lucky! These students experienced a ‘true’ Winnipeg winter day with windchills nearing -35 degrees Celsius! However, the students braved the cold and enjoyed the activity. They especially enjoyed the free hot chocolate and mini-doughnuts provided at the end of the day!

skate 5

Diversity and Intercultural Services would like to thank all of the volunteers who helped to make the skating activities a success. A special thanks to the Diversity Ambassadors and Hospitality and Tourism volunteers.

Festival du Voyageur 

The Canadian Connection Program organized a group outing to one of Winnipeg’s largest outdoor winter festivals. On Saturday, Feb 13th, Student Integration Coordinator, Lauren Konrad along with 52 immigrant and International students bundled up to brave the cold and explore the Festival du Voyageur. Volunteers from the Intercultural Mentorship Program, Diversity Ambassador Program and Hospitality and Tourism Program showed up to take part in the day.festival 1

The Festival celebrates the French-Canadian and Metis heritage in Manitoba. With live music, French/Metis cuisine, arts, crafts and activities, the day is always full of cross-cultural learning and new experiences. Students were largely impressed by the competitive ice sculptures that take shape every year. For many students, visually understanding that pressed snow can become art or used to make maple syrup candy, quickly becomes a unique Canadian lesson.

The -35 degree temperatures did not interrupt a day of outdoor fun. The all-day passes provided gave students the opportunity to see both sides of the festival, as most returned at night to experience the evening line-up of entertainment and festivities.


Winnipeg Jets Community Practice 

jets 2

Thanks to the Manitoba Council for International Education, almost 200 students were able to see the Winnipeg Jets during a community open practice at the MTS Centre. Students were treated to free refreshments and snacks and of course the exciting opportunity to watch the Winnipeg Jets in action!

Here is what a few students from the Intensive English for International Students Program at the Language Training Centre had to say about the experience:

“I felt excited when the players skated very quickly and hit the puck into the net. My heart beat faster when a player held another opponent and stole the puck to score a goal. I really like this game. If I have more money, I will see a real competition.” (Thi My Duyen Nguyen)                                              

“Before the practice, my friend told me that Canadians like to talk about hockey. It’s like talking about the weather. Through the Jets practice, I discovered that this is a fact. I can see that Canadians ardently love hockey! Now, I also love this exciting sport and I want to see a real hockey game.” (Xiang Gao)

“In the future I would like to practice this sport and learn how to use the hockey stick and shoot the puck to make a lot of goals but first I need to buy my equipment and find someone who will show me how to skate.” (Francisco Eduardo Barragan Rodriguez)

“Although only a practice, the players were still very serious. Through watching the Jets practice, I realized it is important to have tough spirit to face everything in our life.” (Bolin Liu)

Although the end of winter is drawing near and the snow is disappearing, the students who participated in these activities are left with memories of their first winters in Winnipeg that will last a lifetime.

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