How (Not) to Greet Your Boss

June 10, 2014 • Written by


“Hi, boss,” said Roberto (not his real name), a recent immigrant, on his first day of work in Canada.

“Don’t call me ‘boss’,” was the reply. “My name is Jim.”

Do you think Roberto has created a good first impression at work? Maybe not. A seemingly simple social exchange has led to a misunderstanding and possibly hurt feelings. But as someone who was raised in South-Asia, it was natural for Roberto to want to show deference to his superior in their first interaction. In fact, studies show that in the Philippines, where Roberto is from, hierarchy is more important than almost anywhere else in the world! Yet as a Canadian, it was natural for Jim to want to be addressed as an equal. Hierarchy is not valued as highly here.

For individuals like Roberto, understanding Canadian cultural values is an important part of integrating into the Canadian workplace. And there are many other cultural orientations, in addition to hierarchy vs. equality, which are studied by academics in the field of inter-cultural communication: time vs. relationship, individualism vs. collectivism and directness vs. indirectness to name a few.

Complicating matters further is the reality that the Canadian workplace is multicultural, so recent immigrants to this country need to understand the cultural values not only of their coworkers who were born and raised in Canada, but also of those born elsewhere, like themselves.

Providing guidance in navigating these rough waters was one of the major goals of a course in Canadian Communication recently offered by the Language Training Centre to a group of internationally-educated engineers in a pilot Bridge to Civil Technologies program. A motley crew of students of various nationalities (Chinese, Colombian, El Salvadoran, Filipino, Iranian, South Korean and Vietnamese) developed their awareness of Canadian cultural orientations through the completion of a variety of communication tasks. Needless to say, with such a diverse crew, it was not always smooth sailing. Nevertheless, with practice, they gained the knowledge and skills necessary for their work-term placement and successful integration into the Canadian multi-cultural workplace.

Roberto now understands why in the Canadian workplace we typically address each other by our first names and avoid deferential titles like “boss” and “sir”.

Submitted by Stuart Schwartz, EAL Instructor, RRC’s Language Training Centre

Check out the LTC microsite!

Red River College Libraries will live stream #TEDxManitoba

June 5, 2014 • Written by

tedx-logo-headerTEDxManitoba is a locally organized conference in its fourth year.

In the spirit of ideas worth spreading, TEDx is a program of local, self-organized events that bring people together to share a TED-like experience. At a TEDx event, TEDTalks video and live speakers combine to spark deep discussion and connection in a small group. These local, self-organized events are branded TEDx, where x = independently organized TED event.

When: June 12, 2014  (Speakers scheduled 9:00AM – 4:30 PM)
Where: Tom Hendry Warehouse Theatre, 140 Rupert Avenue

For individuals interested in attending, tickets are no longer available, however, on June 12th you may still connect to watch the live stream on the web site.

The Red River College Library will be live streaming TEDx Manitoba at both the Notre Dame and the Exchange District Campus Library locations.  Come on down and enjoy a few TED talks with us!

List of Speakers

Hosted by emcees, Aisha and Ismaila Alfa, TEDxManitoba 2014 will be a day full of big ideas, passionate stories, life reflections, insights and expertise.

The 2014 TEDxManitoba speakers include: (subject to change)

  • Ali Ashtari, PhD: Head of Research at Invenia and Canadian immigrant
  • Brian Bowman: Partner with Winnipeg’s Pitblado Law
  • Angela Cassie: Director, Communications and External Relations at the Canadian Museum for Human Rights
  • Pay Chen: Toronto-based radio and television host, producer and writer
  • David Gingera: Founder and President of urban agriculture venture CitiGrow
  • Althea Guiboche: Winnipeg single parent, poet and author battling homelessness and poverty
  • Joe Kalturynk: Founding director of RAW:Gallery of Architecture and Design and Founding partner and designer of RAW:almond 2013/14
  • Jo MacDonald: Winnipeg educator
  • Andrew John Milne: Winnipeg artist technologist
  • Leif Norman: Full time commercial and event photographer
  • Sandi Reimer: Administrative professional for the Province of Manitoba and inspirational runner
  • David Samborski: Engineer and writer
  • Nick Skytland: Houston-based open innovation, data and technology consultant
  • Chris Summerville: CEO of the Schizophrenia Society and Executive Director of the Manitoba Schizophrenia Society
  • Ted Geddert: Builder of well-designed and architecturally inspiring prefab houses

Stay connected for additional TEDxManitoba information

“Talking to Immigrants is So Hard!”

June 5, 2014 • Written by


I got the flu this winter, like everyone else in Winnipeg, and I needed a letter from my doctor, like everyone else at RRC. As I sat in the waiting room, trying not to suck in any other viruses, a newcomer was trying to communicate with the nurse at the desk. She asked him about private insurance. He said, “Manitoba Health card?” She said no, and repeated what she had said before. My inner EAL (English as an Additional Language) instructor welled up, but I held myself back from going up to help the poor guy. It’s not my job to save every immigrant struggling on the street, and besides I wasn’t feeling well. But I was surprised that a health care professional, in an office where many immigrants were accessing service, was not able to modify her speech to make it easier for the patients she works with. Often a conversation like this can be managed successfully if the English speaker uses a few tools. Here are some ideas:

  • Face the person you are talking to.
  • Speak slowly and clearly; don’t mumble. There’s no need to yell, hearing is not the issue.
  • Repeat what you said a couple of times.
  • If this is not working, rephrase what you’ve said. Use simple words, and be aware of slang and idioms you might be using.
  • Check for understanding. If your listener looks confused, try some body language or show them what you’re talking about if you can.

Hopefully these tips will help you feel more comfortable in such a situation. Remember that someone who is confused is probably frustrated and embarrassed, so a smile and relaxed attitude from you will help you both relax. Good luck!

Submitted by Janice Ching, Intensive EAL Instructor, Language Training Centre

Check out our microsite!

The HAWK Camp: Highlighting Aboriginal Culture and Education

June 4, 2014 • Written by

10727194134_49e0ec43a3_bThe 2014 HAWK Camp (Hands on Activity Week for Kids) is an Aboriginal cultural camp hosted at the Notre Dame Campus for one week each summer. The 2014 camp will run the week of July 7-11, 2014.

We host 16 kids aged 12-14; this group started with us last year as part of a cohort where we bring the same kids back for three consecutive summers, highlighting different academic programs each year.

We will track the kids’ post-secondary paths to determine if this model impacts their choices to enrol at Red River College. We also want to ensure the camp advances their confidence and self-esteem as strong Aboriginal youth, by offering traditional teachings through the morning sessions and highlighting academic programs in the afternoon sessions.

We have chosen four programs to highlight this year: Dental Assisting, Animal Health Technology, Photography and Plumbing.

We feel it’s important to showcase the week by having a photographer present to take candid shots of all activities. We then provide a compilation of what was covered in our annual HAWK Camp Magazine.

Click here to view the 2013 HAWK Camp Magazine.

There is still an opportunity for Aboriginal RRC students to become a “Team Leader” for a week. If you’re interested, please contact Lisa Carriere, HAWK Camp Coordinator, at

A hundred volunteers represented the College at the Pride Parade this year!

June 3, 2014 • Written by

Pride Parade - GroupOn Sunday, June 1st, Pride Winnipeg hit the streets for the 27th annual Pride Parade, and about 100 volunteers from Red River College (RRC) joined this year’s parade!

Pride ParadeFaculty, staff, students, friends and family members marched in the 2014 Pride Winnipeg Parade as a means of showing support for the local LGBTT* community and celebrating diversity.

The College’s presence in the parade marked the third time RRC has taken part in Pride Winnipeg festivities.
Read More →

Upcoming Culinary Workshops

May 14, 2014 • Written by

Food is the universal connection to our health, our well-being and even our happiness.

Our chefs are ready to share their skills and knowledge with you – in state-of-the-art kitchens in the beautiful Paterson GlobalFoods Institute at Red River College. All of our workshops are hands-on, where you develop your skills under the direction of our experienced chefs.

 Culinary Skills  Knife Skills & Soup Making  September 30
 Appetizers  October 7
 Cooking for One  October 28
 Culinary Adventure Series  Spanish Cuisine  October 3
 Thai Cuisine  October 17
 East Indian Cuisine  November 7
 Louisiana/Cajun Cuisine  November 21
 Italian Cuisine  December 5
Baking & Lifestyle Gluten Free Living & Cooking October 4
Pies & Pastry November 15
Vegetarian November 25
Holiday Cookies & Squares November 29December 6

Registration begins in June and classes fill up fast!


CE 2014-2015 Food Images (2) (2)


Railway Conductor Program – Information Sessions

May 14, 2014 • Written by

Learn more about the Railway Conductor program and career in the rail industry. RRC is hosting an Information Session taking place on the Notre dame Campus, Winnipeg MB.

Meet instructors, get your questions answered, and learn about entrance requirements.


  • May 15, 22 and 29, 2014
  • June 5, 12, 19 and 26, 2014
  • July 3, 10, 17, 24 and 31, 2014


  • 7:00 p.m. – 8:30 p.m.


  • Unit 9 – 1500 Regent Avenue West

Next Intakes: September, January and May

Read more about the Railway Conductor Program.

Download the Railway Conductor Info Sheet.

Watch the Global’s Manitoba Focus’s feature on our Railway Conductor Program.


The Benefits of Stepping Out of Your Comfort Zone

May 14, 2014 • Written by


Red River College provides many opportunities for students to develop leadership skills, expand their horizons, and learn to see life from a different prospective.  The Diversity and Immigrant Student Support department is proud to have an award called Step Out of Your Box Diversity, and every year three students are recognized for stretching themselves, stepping out of their comfort zone, challenging themselves, making a difference in the community and in the life of someone else.

The benefits of stepping out of your box are numerous. Being willing to give up familiarity of the known and embrace the discomfort that comes from being outside your comfort zone is increasingly crucial to students’ success in work and life. Read More →

Group Fitness Programs

May 10, 2014 • Written by

by Cole Skinner, Athletics and Recreation Coordinator

With exams currently taking place, and the rush to get summer jobs, this is often a busy and stressful time for Red River College Students. Rebels Athletics and Recreation Services has a great way to relieve stress, get fit for summer, and be at your best for exams and job interviews! RRC Athletics and Recreation Services offers Group Fitness Programs suited to all interests and fitness levels. Our highly trained and enthusiastic instructors will lead you through a fun and challenging workout suited to you. Use these classes to get a leg up on your personal fitness goals, with summer right around the corner, why not get active and have fun in the process. We offer a wide variety of classes that can help relieve stress, and improve your personal wellness.

Registered Programs For 2014 Spring Term

Yoga with Amanda on Mondays from 4:15 to 5:15.

Rapid Revolution Spin with Lesley on Tuesdays from 11:05 to 11:50 and Thursdays from 11:05 to 11:50.

Dynamic Core with Leslie on Tuesdays from 12:05 to 12:50 and Thursdays from 12:05 to 12:50.

Cardio Complete with Ming on Tuesdays from 4:00 to 4:45

Boot Camps with Karly on Fridays from 11:05 to 11:50

Stott Pilates with Karly on Fridays from 12:05 to 12:50

Regular classes will start April 28th and run until June 27th.

Drop in cards for 4 or 8 classes per term can also be purchased. An unlimited Full Fitness Pass can also be purchased, allowing to attend as many classes as you want.


To register for a class download the attached form, fill it out and take it to the Student Service Centre to make a payment. 2014 Spring Fitness Classes Registration Form

Take it outside

May 5, 2014 • Written by

During this final exam week, one of our BA peer tutors hit the gym with a partner to lift some weights. A couple of things caught my attention:

  • how inspiring it was to see a student’s goal was to help their peer reach their goal
  • how important it is take time away from our text books and study guides and online forums to just move.

This isn’t a blog about how to take a much needed break from studying – though I absolutely promote a balanced lifestyle. Rather this is a blog about using another dimension of studying – synthesizing info.


Roline Nguyen & Charanjit Singh, ASC peer tutors

Put an airbrushed check-mark to the sentences which you could’ve authored:

  • An answer to a question I’ve been working with comes to me while walking on a trail.
  • While kicking a soccer ball with a friend, I set up 4 major points for a paper I’m writing.
  • As I jog, I recite answers to questions I anticipate will be on my final exam.
  • I find a creative way to work well with my peers on our project while meandering on my bike.

The Winnipeg Free Press hosts a column about “Our Winnipeg, my favourite place.” A recent publication featured the Winnipeg Symphony Orchestra’s resident conductor, Julian Pellicano. Pellicano does much of his thinking on the paths of the Assiniboine Forest – modeling his work practice after legendary composers who finish a working session with a vigorous walk. After spending hours studying orchestral music, this Winnipegger eloquently describes why he does what he does, “I take a walk and let it all sink in; to see how much I remember of what I just worked on….part of my process takes place on the trails of Assiniboine Forest” Pellicano concludes his interview with the following invite: “if we happen to run into each other on the trails, don’t hesitate to ask what I’m working on.”

Going back to the “is this you checklist,” there is a growing body of evidence that suggest s we think and learn better when we walk, swim or do another form of exercise. When we exercise, we increase blood flow and blood pressure. Our brain is just one recipient of this increased blood flow and more blood = more energy and oxygen. Since cognitive processes such as problem-solving require maximum brain power, the healthier we make our brain, the better it’ll function! So, not only does our body perform better with increased movement, but our brain joins in on this performance-enhanced experience. How much activity should we do?

A Harvard study found that taking 2 ½ hours a week (distributed in a way that suits you best). This translates to approximately 20 minutes/day. Going back to the gym, it seems like these BA students catapulted right from an involved Entrepreneurial project straight into the throws of finals. Yet, by taking the time to intentionally work on building muscle, they unintentionally were building one of their most important muscles.

Referenced from:

Submitted by Dayna Graham, Adult Learning Facilitator & Academic Coach, Academic Success Centre