Holidaying in Peg City

Exams are finally done and the new semester hasn’t quite started yet, here are things you can do around Winnipeg on a student budget.

One of the things many Winnipeggers tell newcomers is to enjoy a skate or a walk at the Forks. The Forks and surrounding area are transformed with the soft snow December often brings into what those of us coming from warmer climates would call a winter wonderland. I saw evergreen trees dusted with white powder twinkling with multicolored lights. Rosy cheeked kids tried to teach me to skate at the Pavilion (I didn’t even attempt trying the world’s longest skating trail on the river).
The best advice I got while learning to skate was to wear two pairs of socks inside skates. It makes things much more comfortable and kept my feet from cramping.
If you’d rather go skating inside an arena, many offer free public skating during the day and sometimes during the evenings. Visit here to find out what’s the arena closest to you and when they offer public skating.
Winnipeg is home to some amazing Christmas lights displays.
Many homes and businesses go to a lot of effort to put the Merry into Merry Christmas. A few includes City Hall, Arbos Garden Centre on St Anne’s, and Provencher in St. Boniface. There’s even a tour available at the Forks on Dec. 21, between 6:30 and 9:30.
One of my favorite things I did last year was to enjoy a hot chocolate at Prairie 360 on top of the Fort Garry downtown on a snowy evening and getting to see the Winnipeg skyline (including a lit up Golden Boy at the Manitoba Legislature building).

One piece of advice that I learned the hard way – if you need to do food shopping, do it on the 23rd or early on the 24th. Nearly all the places I usually go for food in the downtown area are closed on the 25th and close early around 4-6 pm on the 24th. Restaurants are also usually closed on Christmas Day.

If you are like me and you are rather tired of looking at a computer screen and would rather spend time in nature, Fort Whyte Centre is a gem hidden on McCreary Road. It offers seasonal rentals, such as snowshoes, bonfires, and nordic walking. If you are lucky you might get to see a deer.

The city also offers snowshoes and cross-country skiing trails. Most of them will open now that we’ve had a large snowfall. More info can be found here.

Lastly, it’s not about what you do but who you do it with! It’s all about the new connections and friends that you must have started to make.

Happy Holidays!

Saman Siddiqui

UWPACE Public Relations, Marketing and Strategic Communications

2015 Graduation class

My first day of student life: Eye-Catching Diversity

It was my first day at University of Winnipeg, September, 2015, HR Pace Program and I entered the class. There were our friendly training office staff who welcomed warmly as each student entered. It was almost the time for the orientation program and I observed the fact that students are from different parts of the world. During the orientation, the responsible training staff talked about the program and its objectives asked us to introduce ourselves. It was very interesting the structure of our class was totally diversified and it seemed to me very demanding. I felt a great degree of happiness being a member of such a diversified class. The orientation program was informative and we got familiar with the university Pace Program staff, the objectives of HR program and the university facilities. During the orientation program, while I was listening to the speakers I thought about diversity and how it can help a student understand and feel another human being with different nationality, language, culture and therefore transform into a more effective HR person. I want to share my viewpoints in this field as I think it will help face diversity positively and attract its opportunities.
I brought in my mind that a diverse group in specific and a diverse organization in general is one that values the difference in people. It is one that recognizes the fact that people with different backgrounds, skills, attitudes and experiences bring fresh ideas and perceptions. They look at the same topic from different viewpoints and so present different solutions for the same problem. Diverse organizations value and take into consideration these differences to make a dynamic and proactive atmosphere in which new ideas and concepts are celebrated and therefore knowledge is created again and again. The advocates of diversity believe that it enhances the pace of development and brings in different notions and ideas. They assume the encouragement of diversity benefits individuals, communities, societies and the world.
Diversity helps people face and experience different things outside of what they are normally accustomed to. In fact it is the nature of human being to consider his or her viewpoint as the only way of thinking, and diversity helps breakthrough these subjective obstacles and learn more from totally different viewpoints. But there are some important issues that should be taken into consideration about diversity. Studies prove that the lack of cohesion between diversified groups is due to lack of trust, stereotyping, and the preference of people to interact with their own nation and therefore same language, culture and so forth. So these issues should be taken into consideration and a member of a diversified group should try to practice effective listening, tolerance of differences and paying attention to the fact that there is a huge learning opportunity in a diversified group. We can grow by diversity if we encourage people to think outside their boundaries and learn something new about a culture they may not be familiar with.
I thought about the possible obstacles against the opportunities created by diversity and it reminded me of the fact that people usually are terrified of non-familiar things which is hidden in diversity. Therefore people are not as willing to talk openly about certain things because they think members of other nations or cultures cannot relate to them or would not understand or cannot be trusted, so the problem is withdrawal and isolation. Sometimes a person may start to feel we cannot be close and work or learn together because we are different. The results would be mistrust, poor communication, and huge distance among people. I think we can learn better and create a better place in our world if we try to look at diversity as a great opportunity for creating, recreating, sharing and applying knowledge; that is knowledge which can be shared through effective communication, trust, goodwill and aspiration to develop and help others develop. Diversity is a hidden treasure that should be discovered and respected: I respect and embrace you diversity as an opportunity to learn from others!

Add Vitality to Your Life at University

Managerial and Financial Leadership Diploma Program Pilot Batch 2014-2015
Managerial and Financial Leadership Diploma Program Batch 2014-2015

Right now, you might be feeling a bit exhausted with endless school projects and assignments to complete. Add to that the pressure of ensuing deadlines to meet, every course, every day! Considering that you have just started your program, you might feel like there is too much on your plate already. Amidst this, you deserve a pat on the back for making it this far and surpassing all challenges. Congratulations!

As your exciting journey here at PACE has now began, I’d like to share one piece of advice to keep your cool despite the pressure of increasing workloads:  HAVE FUN WHILE LEARNING! What I mean is be involved with various activities PACE holds that don’t require getting an “A+” or a “Pass.” This way, you won’t feel like university life is all about studying, working on assignments, and writing exams. Because sometimes, SCHOOL is more COOL if you close your notebooks even for a moment and join various extra-curricular activities.


GET A LIFE WITH STUDENT LIFE

The University of Winnipeg – PACE, in coordination with the Student Life Committee, has prepared several events throughout the year that you can be part of:

Halloween
Halloween Costume Contest

Thanksgiving Potluck ­– A traditional Canadian feast where students and instructors can share together a multitude of dishes to their stomach’s content. This is like going to an international buffet – less the costly bill, and add the camaraderie while having lunch together in one large room.
By the way, where’s my turkey?

Halloween Costume Contest –Have  your spookiest  and craziest costumes ready because PACE will host a Halloween Costume Contest very soon! Students will ramp like models with their Halloween attires; the winner gets a trick-or-treat prize! Plus, you get to eat some weird-looking yet tasty Halloween dishes! My personal favourite was the biscuits shaped like a human finger. Hmmm…sounds yummy.


Cultural Night –
Celebrate diversity through U of W PACE Annual Cultural Evening this winter. Students from different countries showcase their talents in singing, dancing, and instruments. I was privileged to co-host part of last year’s Cultural Evening, which holds the biggest audience attendance to date! Check out this article about the event. Cultural Evening

Global Holiday Party – The newest event the Student Life Committee has set up to commemorate various holiday traditions all around the world. Coming this December, students dress up in their traditional holiday attires and feast with Christmas-inspired delicacies. ‘Tis the season to be jolly as students say farewell to 2015 with food, fun, and posts on Facebook.

YEARN FOR LEARNING

Aside from these must-awaited happenings, the Student Life Committee has initiated some networking events to enhance the professional skills of students. The top student favourites are:

Resumania – Around 8 to 12 industry leaders from your field are invited to sit one-on-one with you and give expert feedback to help improve your résumé for future job hunting. Moreover, this is a supResumaniaerb opportunity to expand your professional network, so better start updating your LinkedIn profile if you haven’t done so!

Conversation Circle – An exciting way to meet and greet industry professionals specific to your program. Listen to their interesting stories and grab the chance to interview them during the question and answer portion. You’ll get practical tips on successfully integrating into the Canadian workplace culture, among other topics on career development.

Toastmasters – If you’re looking for a place to practice your upcoming class presentations or wanting to improve your public speaking skills, we now have a Toastmasters club in PACE! Founded last June 2015, PACE Champions Toastmasters is a club composed of current students and recent graduates who share a common goal – to become competent communicators and leaders through the Toastmasters Education Program. To know more, visit the Toastmasters website.

PACE Champions Toastmasters Club Members

CELEBRATE WITH CLASSMATES

Paintball
It’s paintball time!

One of the most valuable lessons I learned when taking the Managerial and Financial Leadership Diploma program was about celebrating small victories. Credits go to our Leadership Development instructor, Judy Mathieson, who introduced this concept to us. Whenever our class survived an exam week (normally after the Accounting finals), we plan together and try activities where we can rejuvenate our drained up brain cells. We played golf, battled in teams through paintball, ate at a buffet restaurant, and threw a few house parties. On the last day of our program, we culminated it by camping for three days at Grand Beach. There’s no better way to relieve the stresses of school life by enjoying time together with friends you’ve made along the way. 

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MAKE LEARNING FUN!

You might be contemplating how many more midterms you still have to go through before finishing your program. Although I’ll tell you from experience, it’ll be over before you realize it. That’s why, I encourage you to attend or more so volunteer at various activities the Student Life Committee has organized. Not only that they’ll give you a relaxing break from your courses, they’ll also help you increase your professional network, impart new aspects of learning, and instill the bond you’re forging with your classmates.

Finally, I’d like to sum up my thoughts from the words of Steve Jobs: “Stay Hungry, Stay Foolish.” Never lose that craving for learning, but let your life sometimes ride its crazy tides.

If you are interested in getting involved, please contact PACE Student Life Coordinator, Mekala Wickramasinghe at me.wickramasinghe@uwinnipeg.ca to find out more details on how to be part of the Student Life events and activities.

Inside Story: How to Have a Positive Class Chemistry

Written by Marilyn Camaclang,  PRMSC Class of 2014

WELCOME TO WINNIPEG!

Winter Get-up

Sorry for being a spoiler! Some of you arrived here in Winnipeg during this fall season experiencing its splendid colours and breeze. This is just to prepare you for the crazy winter weather that’ll sweep the city soon!

But what I’d really like to say is “Congratulations on your daring decision to move recently!” I was just like you two years ago. That mixed feelings of excitement and fear for new people, places, and phenomena that you brought yourselves into, I’ve been there!

While Winnipeg is a city of never ending snow, it’s also the city of opportunities. You can start shoveling, rather uncovering yours here at PACE!

Indeed, opportunities knock with my new credentials from PACE. I recently got two job offers, one from the provincial government and another from a crown corporation. With my background in social services, I decided to gain real-life experience in marketing and communications through completing my internship in this department at the University of Winnipeg. I haven’t had enough time yet to contemplate on my whole-year PACE experience. Thinking about what makes ours a great class is a good starting point.

A PERFECT CLASS CHEMISTRY FINDS NO ROOM

If you’re looking for a perfect class chemistry, you can’t find it here. Simply because you don’t have time. You’re in a very intensive program where sleepless nights are normal even for those who thought that they’ve perfected their time management skills already.

Everyone entered the program for a specific purpose. In my case, I wanted to be integrated into the Canadian system quickly. In your coming here for varying reasons, your ultimate measure of success is whether you’ve achieved that purpose or not. Having a great class, that bunch of special people whom you’ll share the ups and downs of this program with and whom you can call your family and friends, is only a bonus! I’m very grateful for accomplishing both during the year with my beloved classmates!

ENSURING A POSITIVE CLASS CHEMISTRY

Who doesn’t want a positive chemistry? We strive to have this in all human relationships. If we fail to, some choose the easiest way out, TO QUIT! Although I’ve thoughts of this sort during the program, I’d never advice this. My goal is to encourage you as much as possible while giving you a clear picture, including the good and the ugly, of what it’s like in the program.

Ensuring a positive class chemistry will go a long way in keeping you in your senses all throughout the year. Here’s how:

Be open. Most of our classmates came into the program with wealth of experience. They’re on to their first to third degrees or aspiring to move up after a number of years in their careers. As well, half of the class came from different continents. It’d be great listening to their unique stories and understanding their diverse perspectives. Being open to their ideas and their ways of doing will contribute to your professional as well as personal growth and development.

Urvashi
Meet Urvashi, who’s completed her 4th post degree with us after her Bachelors and Masters in Commerce and MBA in Marketing

Be patient. Another step towards a positive class chemistry is being patient particularly when waiting for your classmates to be in the same page with you. Apart from not having English as a first language, the industry where they thrive on maybe different from yours. You should also be mindful of their learning curves and their ability to adapt to their new environment. Moreover, they maybe entangled with other out-of-school responsibilities and commitments just like you. Always endeavour to give as much leeway as possible when you decide to work together as a group.

Breno & Ladies
My classmates coming from different professional backgrounds

Be available. This is an area where I had the most difficulty. With two part-time jobs for weekday-evenings and for weekends, I ended up sneaking-out my break times for doing future assignments. I didn’t have much time with my classmates for personal chats and if given an option, I did group projects on my own. Halfway through the program, in February 2015, I let go of my jobs and devoted all my waking (and sleeping hours) to the program. That’s when I realized the time I lost in knowing my classmates more.

My advice to you then is to spend some time with your classmates. Strike some personal conversations, if you feel it’s the right time. Go out and relax together. It’ll be very refreshing to breathe some out-of-school air in between. In addition, be vulnerable to ask help when you need it and be willing to extend a hand when you have the capacity to. Availability also comes with willingness to divert from our regular school life patterns.

Dec 2014
During our December 2014 Christmas break

Furthermore, being available for school-related activities will reap many benefits. Whether you’re new to the city or not, this is a venue for expanding your networks and your horizon beyond the classroom setting. Some are arranged by PACE and still others are through a third party. Attend those that’ll fit-in with your goals and with your schedules. PACE has a committee taking care of student life events. Your first event will kick off in October 9th, your Thanksgiving Potluck. This will highlight your traditional clothes and recipes from your home countries. Student Life events is where you’ll meet students from other classes and the staff. Your first steps to learning about big group chemistry start here.

MAINTAINING A POSITIVE CLASS CHEMISTRY

Let’s face it, we can’t evade downward slopes along the way. As all relationships, our one year in school was replete with struggles, with others and ourselves. Here’s some ideas on maintaining a positive class chemistry, if not avoiding all obstacles:

Have a class agreement. It may not be as explicit as engraving it on stone or the like but having a brief conversation on what are expected of the class will help guide you throughout the year (e.g. respect one another, help each other, etc.).

Be aware and sensitive. Knowing your classmates’ personality types and work styles will bring out the best in your class. It’ll also help you mitigate conflicts that may arise from lack of a fit.

Make the most of every opportunity. Grab any chances of strengthening your group dynamics like in-class group exercises and your group projects. Also, flag those class topics that will surely drive success to your future team efforts. Examples are Tuckman’s Five-Stage Theory of Group Development in your Organizational Behaviour class and the Five Dysfunctions of a Team in Essential Skills for Managers. Remember that PACE is here to equip you for the real world of work out there.

Have a BIG HEART. Be ready to have a big space to contain new friends and extra spaces for those who will test your limits. Also, find those who will be there to give you listening ears when you’re stressing out to the highest level (mind you, this is normal!). Those who see through your beauty as well as your flaws. Those who have the courage and ability to check and correct and who will turn you into a better and stronger person in the end.

Me, Nivin, & Mia
My PR buddies, Mia (left) and Nivin (middle)

MAY YOU MAKE IT TO THE NEXT SHORE

Boat

I remember one class presentation about an analogy of a boat applicable to any groups or organizations. It’s your responsibility as a class to continue moving forward, come high or hell waters! If you don’t have the time or willingness to look after your classmates, then your share is simply not to be the one who’s going to sink it.

You’re about to embark on a challenging but rewarding PACE experience. I can assure you that starting off with being open, patient, and available and applying some of my suggestions above will help you make it, BECAUSE MY CLASS AND I DID!

PRMSC

All the best to your 2015 PACE program!

P.S. Message me on Facebook if anyone needs mentoring. I have books for sale as well!

Getting Ready for the big move ?!

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by pinterest

I hope you are all really excited for your big move to Canada! It may be bit nerve-racking to leave family and friends (and weekend hangouts) behind, but we are busy preparing for the start of your program and are excited to get your arrival information.

You are not alone! In 2012, Canadian Immigration and Citizenship issued 100,000 study permits and this trend continues to grow. Every year, thousands of international students begin their new life in Canada and add to the growing globalization of our population.

In the coming weeks, you will arrive here in Manitoba. Here are some tips and essential information on how to prepare for the trip and for your first months in Canada.

  • Packing is not everyone’s forte and it’s definitely not mine for sure. Read the post, Packing for Canada for some smart tips. PS: Don’t forget to bring at least one of your traditional wear. We have a big cultural celebration at PACE in January.
  • Did you know that UWinnipeg International Student Services offers free airport pick-up service? If you have not already booked this service, please be sure to complete the Airport pick up application right away.
  • Health Insurance – You can deal with this in the first week in Winnipeg
  • Buying a new phone – Compare rates and plans before you purchase
  • Banking – Scotia, CIBC, RBC, and TD Canada Trust are popular with the international students. Research before you sign up for the plan and be sure to inquire about student banking fees to get the best service plan. All these banks will a downtown branch, which can be found on this map.
  • RentingUWinnipeg Housing, Kijiji, and Rent Canada are sources with information of rental properties. Please be prepared for a guarantor clause with some rental agencies, which requires that you have someone (a relative or friend) here in the city who will guarantee the financial obligations of your rental agreement.
  • Temporary stay in the first week – You can check in to Holiday In, Alt Hotel or Delta Hotel in Winnipeg, or find a economical stay at airbnb site.
  • Groceries – A sure-fire way to reduce your living expenses is to avoid eating out whenever possible. Try to cook healthy affordable meals and this should help you cut some expenses. You may hate your own cooking in the beginning, but gradually, this may change as you master some recipes. Who knows, you may even begin to invite your new friends to dinner. Safeway, Superstore, Dino’s East and West Indian Food are some names you can Google for your grocery needs.
  • Electronics – There may be some student deals in August, September. Check out Staples, Best Buy or The Source for laptops, TV, video games and all.
  • Housewares and furniture – Winnipeg has Ikea, Walmart, Jysk and other affordable stores to stock your new apartment with the essentials to make it a home Gently-used housewares, furnishings and electronics can also be found on Kijiji.
  • Exploring Winnipeg – Start collecting memories since the day one. So you can share with your family and friends back home. They are waiting to hear all the fun you have. Since most of you will be here before the end of August, you will have some time to enjoy the city. Make sure to check out these sites for upcoming events in Winnipeg during that time.

We are looking forward to see you soon!

“Life begins at the end of your comfort zone” – Neale Donald Walsh.

I look forward to meeting you all!

Mekala Wickramasinghe,

PACE Student Life Coordinator

August before Autumn – Hurry and enjoy!

summer-on-the-prairie
photo credit: cbc.ca

It’s the August before Autumn! Summer is almost over, so I need to get out and do something. If this thought came to your mind this past weekend, you are not alone! There is me, and I’m sure there are a few more out there.

Winnipeg has the shortest summer, yet it’s beautiful, eventful and sunny as any tropical land can get. As well, the culture, music, food and people are all the great things Winnipeg has to offer. And if you don’t get to experience, you are going to miss out for sure!

FOLKLORAMA- August 02- 15: every globetrotter’s dream!

Whether you are a globetrotter, or someone who dreams about travel, or simply want to have a great time, Folklorama gives you a chance to see it all in one city. From Brazilian capoeira dancers, soul-soothing Japanese music, energetic african drums, to fun filled afterparties with music, dance and everything summer festival needs, it’s all just in Winnipeg. You even get to send a prayer note all the way to Jerusalem through the Israeli pavilion, or learn some cuban tango, have a beer or two in german style, tap dance your way home and wake up your neighbours. So all I got to say is, don’t miss this fantastic cultural celebrations. Check out the Folklorama Pavilion Guide for pavilion information.

Folklorama 2015
Photo credit: Folklorama

HANG OUT AT ASSINIBOINE PARK: FREE OUTDOOR MOVIES/BALLET & JAZZ:

Free movies @ Assiniboine Park:

Early Feature (7 pm)                   Late Feature (9:15 pm)
August 7 | Big Hero 6                 August 7 | Theory of Everything
August 14 | Finding Nemo         August 14 | Tomorrowland
August 21 | Cinderella               August 21 | Avengers: Age of Ultron
August 28 | Home                     August 28 | Hunger Games: Mocking Jay Part 1
Free Ballet Canada’s Royal Winnipeg Ballet concert  @ Assiniboine Park

July 29 – 31 | 7:00 pm to 9:30 pm daily

Click here for more fun summer events at the Assiniboine Park

assiniboine park
Photo credit: Assiniboine park
Tip: Bring a good comfy blanket, snacks, water and oh, and mosquito spray (you might need this)!
FREE OUTDOOR MOVIE EXPERIENCE IN DOWNTOWN:
If not in mood for Assibinoine park, the down town will offer you the same theatre experience. We love our movies, but only summer can offer the outdoor movie experience.
Memorial Park
Photo credit: cbc.ca
 Memorial Park movies will show The Avengers, Furious 7 and more ! Hint: Keep an eye for the food trucks. For those who are new to Drive-In movies, check out what down will offer you this summer. Hint: Sci Fi
EXPLORE THE LEGISLATURE:
From July 01 until Labour Day Week end in September, every hour Legislative Building offers tours inside the building. Anyone who’s interested in knowing the history of the Legislature and Manitoba and (the golden boy of course! ) Check out more details at: Legislative Building Tours
MB Leg Cover Photo.tif
Photo credit: Manitoba Museum
You don’t alway need to spend dollars to have fun. To check out more events, just click the items below.

Have a great rest of the summer !!

Holidaying in style!

For our full-time PACE students, holidays began last week and I am certain that they were dreaming of this time for four crazy months of sleepless nights, unheard alarms, and compromised social moments. Regardless of the reason, each one deserves the break.

As I was thinking of sending an email blast wishing everyone a happy holiday, Sam (Shamsher Singh) from Project Management group dropped by my office on Friday. He asked me if I knew of a place he could volunteer over the holidays. Inspiring! I thought.

So here’s to Sam and any of you who are still looking to holiday in style!

Winnipeg Harvest – A Winnipeg food bank that serves families in need. Call up 3-4 friends to join you and set up a time with Harvest to volunteer. They also need many people to deliver holiday hampers so pitch in if you or one of your friends has a car. They need your help

For further information, contact Volunteer Services or call Shara Harke at 204-982-3587

Siloam Mission – A Winnipeg soup kitchen that serves meals and provides shelter to those in need.

For further information, contact their volunteer coordinator.

Big Brothers Big Sisters Winnipeg – Raises money through the sale of Christmas trees.  Check out their tree lot at IKEA on Kenaston Boulevard.

For more information, please visit: http://www.volunteermanitoba.ca/view_volunteer_opportunity_details.php?id=33

& If you are a music lover….->

Juno Awards – It’s  coming to Winnipeg in 2014, and they are looking for volunteers. I thought you may be interested in this.

http://www.creativemanitoba.ca/jobs-opportunities/volunteer-opportunities

Whatever you do on your holidays, don’t forget to treat yourself with a lots of love and joy!

Take care, be safe, and have a wonderful holiday season!!