#DiscoverDagoretti: RTA Community Engagement in Kenya (Part 3 of 3)

By Jessica Burtt, Undergraduate student at the RTA School of Media, Faculty of Communication and Design

Last February I had the amazing opportunity to travel to Kenya for the RTA International Development class. Our trip was in partnership with Amref Health Africa, an organization that has developed multiple initiatives in Kenya, Tanzania and Ethiopia, to improve the health of people living in Africa through community empowerment and better health systems. During our trip we visited two projects, spending time with the local people to develop content for Amref’s social media, in hopes that it would increase awareness and encourage others to donate or volunteer their time.

For the second half of our trip we spent time in Dagoretti, a slum just outside of Nairobi, at the Dagoretti Child in Need Development Centre. For this initiative we wanted to highlight the students enrolled at the centre, which would in turn highlight all that the centre and Amref have done for the students and community.

I personally got to work with Rose, an 8-year-old student in the art class. When I first met Rose I felt drawn to her because of her sweet demeanour and curiosity. Rose initially approached me and some of my classmates and started telling us about her favourite flowers. This friendship quickly developed into dance parties 24/7. When I first got to filming Rose’s feature, she was a natural! As one of the younger kids, we had to give her a bit of direction, but otherwise she was awesome (and loved watching the footage of herself!)

 

All of the students, role models and faculty at the centre were incredibly welcoming and excited to help us produce these videos. In turn, I hope that the videos will bring more visibility to the important work Amref is doing with children like Rose and communities in Eastern Africa.

Overall, I learned so much, not only about field video production but also about the culture and community members. I had an unforgettable experience thanks to Ryerson and Amref, and I can’t wait to go back and visit my friends at the Amref Kenya office and the Dagoretti Centre

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See #DiscoverDagoretti: RTA Community Engagement in Kenya (Part 1 of 3) and (Part 2 of 3) for more on this project!

To learn more about Ryerson’s partnership with Amref Health Africa, see “Kenya welcomes students for immersive education experience” in Ryerson Today

Adventures in Deutschland

By Alexis Bonilla, Undergraduate Student in Child and Youth Care, Faculty of Community Services

Ever since I was in high school, I always dreamt about studying abroad. As I came closer to finishing my undergrad, however, the dream started to fade…Until last October, when I learned about the opportunity to study abroad for 3 months with the Ontario Universities International (OUI) program. I quickly applied for it and started to plan my 4 month trip to the University of Trier in Germany.

As my departure date approached, however, my nerves set in. It hit me that I was going to be alone with no friends or family and that I didn’t even know how to cook! I’m pretty sure I talked myself out of going 20-100 times. Thankfully I have such a supportive group of family and friends that kept encouraging me and telling me that I would be alright.

When May 2nd 2017 arrived, I was ready to go. Customs and immigration went smoothly, and when I arrived in Germany, everything seemed to be okay. This was until I had to get my 2 pieces of luggage and carry them around myself in the rain. At this point in time, reality hit- I was miles away by myself and I DIDN’T SPEAK GERMAN!” I finally found the bus stop and made my way to Trier…

Trier is a really small town, so clearly it is very different from Toronto. The campus was cute and super easy to navigate. My first two weeks were rough… actually, I won’t sugar coat it, they sucked. I would come home after class and lay in bed. I missed my family and friends and I missed hearing a language I could actually understand. I couldn’t even order a pizza because of the language barrier.

During this time, I called my mom sobbing but she knocked some sense into me. It was a life changing conversation. Suddenly, I became this super courageous woman and wanted to plan my first solo trip. Afraid out of my mind, knowing that I would be a woman travelling ALONE, I booked a trip to Switzerland and just went for it.

Zurich, Switzerland

Afterwards, I came back to Trier with a whole new mind-set. I realized I was living the dream I always wanted. I became a social butterfly and immersed myself in the German culture. Although the language barrier still existed, I made it work. I made friends from all paths of life and made sure to interact with my professors. They were helpful and did everything to assist me with my academics.

Since I only had three courses, I had most of my days off. I planned many trips and ended up seeing 14 different countries and 26 different cities – all alone – but of course making friends along the way.

My experience really enlightened me, not only in loving myself and realizing that it’s okay to be alone, but also in observing the difference between children and youth in Canada and Germany. I was able to learn the difference in policies, programs and parenting, and the ways children and youth live differently in both places.

Budapest, Hungary 

Studying abroad was a life changing experience and I’m very grateful to all those who helped me along the way, particularly to my friends in Germany who became my second family.

Lisbon, Portugal

One piece of advice I will offer and take away is to love yourself and do what makes YOU happy. Live for yourself, not for the expectations of others.

Prost!

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For more information about OUI exchange opportunities with Ryerson International visit our new website!
For tips and tricks on financial planning for exchange see our blog post!

Celebrating the 10th Anniversary of the TRSM + RMIT Study Tour in Toronto

Every year since 2007, the Ted Rogers School of Management (TRSM) has hosted Australian students from RMIT University for a two week study tour. This summer, TRSM and RMIT celebrated the 10th anniversary of the tour, which also coincided with Canada 150!

The tour consisted of lectures, cultural visits, industry site tours, and presentations. Sandra Findlay, an RMIT master’s student in Business Administration reflected on her trip to Toronto:

“This was a once in a lifetime experience. The Ryerson study tour provided me with a unique opportunity to appreciate and evaluate relationships between global and Canadian businesses. The short term course allowed me to research a range of business topics to enhance my degree. Visiting businesses such as the Spirit of York Distillery and the Steam Whistle Brewery, as well as city green spaces including  the Evergreen Brick Works were experiences I never would have organized on my own.

What I liked most about the staff at TRSM was their passion for a diversity of topics relevant to learning. They motivated me to want to work to make a difference for people across many different cultures.”

Evergreen Brickworks

“Visiting and studying in Toronto to experience different teaching styles and ways of learning provided me with an international perspective on my studies and professional knowledge. It allowed me to gain insight into the practical challenges of working in global companies, to increase my professional networks, and to gain confidence in having the conversations that matter in business.”

Spirit of York Distillery, a place of innovation and education

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Jessica Michael, an RMIT master’s student in Information Management also reflected on the study tour:

“The opportunity to live on the Ryerson campus provided me with perspective into life as a North American college student that many of us had only dreamt of! The insight of the TRSM staff gave a truly global view to topics. The pairing of lectures with relevant field trips allowed us to see many of the practical implementations of the theories explored in class.

The friendly and welcoming nature of everyone we met allowed us to celebrate events such as Pride and Canada 150 as locals. The facilities of Ryerson University, and the unique positioning of the campus in downtown Toronto, meant we could experience the city in a way most Australian visitors never have the opportunity to.”

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Visit #australia  for more on global learning opportunities linked to our partner universities in Australia! 

Scarborough to Sweden – A semester abroad

By Varunan Muthiah, Undergraduate student in Business Technology Management, Ted Rogers School of Management

I remember seeing the posters for the Ryerson exchange program my first week of university. I thought it would be a great experience but didn’t think it would ever happen. Little did I know two years later I’d be on a plane to Sweden for 6 months. I didn’t know much about Sweden when applying but I knew it would be a place that would take me out of my comfort zone. This was going to be the first time I was away from family this long and living on my own. I was excited but also nervous. I had heard great things from a student who went there last year but I was still worried. I didn’t know anyone there and didn’t know if they’d have as many food options compared to Toronto. I knew it would be tough but I was determined to make the most of this experience.

The Jonkoping International Business School had set up a lot of events to show us around the city and events to meet a lot of the other exchange students. There were people from all over the world attending this university so I met a lot of people within the first week.

The university had made the first two weeks really exciting. I realized the majority of the exchange students were living in the same student accommodation as me. This meant I was less than a minute away from all my friends. It made going out super simple and everyone went out together. We had lots of parties and there was a student run club that everyone would go to every Wednesday. By the end of the first month everyone had already become friends and we were planning trips together.

The university also offered great trips to Finland and Norway. These trips were once in a lifetime opportunities. In Norway, I got to climb a glacier, kayak in an almost completely frozen lake and climb a small mountain.

Norway is one the most beautiful countries I’ve ever been to and I recommend everyone to go. During the trip to Finland I go to see the Northern lights, ride a reindeer pulled sleigh, go dogsledding, and even tried ice fishing. The experiences were unbelievable but it’s the people who I went with that made these trips so great.

When travelling with friends, you become close with people very quickly. Being in Europe meant flying to another country was super cheap. I flew roundtrip to Italy for $60. Denmark was also very close and I was able to take a train there and back for around $100. I’d suggest using the hopper app, or sky scanner where you can find flights as cheap as 10 euros roundtrip.

Travelling with your new friends is a big part of being on exchange. I suggest you take the opportunity to travel but you won’t always get the chance to meet people from all over the world. I recommend making a good group of friends before setting out on travels. Making international friends means even when you travel after the exchange you have people who will be your personal tour guides in their countries. I’ve been wanting to go back to Europe and travel more but I know it will pale in comparison to the times I had studying abroad.

Doing this exchange was the best decision I’ve ever made and I hope everyone can take advantage of this great opportunity.

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For more information on RI exchange opportunities visit our new website!
For tips and tricks on financial planning for exchange see our blog post!

#DiscoverDagoretti: RTA Community Engagement in Kenya (Part 2 of 3)

By Hannah White, Undergraduate student at the RTA School of Media, Faculty of Communication and Design

This past October, all RTA students received an e-mail about “RTA in Kenya” explaining that RTA would be offering an International Development course that winter, and as part of the course, the students would travel to Kenya and work alongside AMREF Health Africa, a medical relief not-for profit organization.  Students would create content for AMREF Canada while overseas.  

Going to Kenya had been a dream of mine since the 5th grade, and this seemed like the perfect opportunity to mix my interests and my education!

As a class, we decided we were going to do two separate projects for AMREF, one for each week of our trip. The first project we worked on was an Alternative Rites of Passage Documentary, shot two hours outside of Nairobi, in Magadi. We spent the second week at The Dagoretti Drop in Centre, right in Nairobi. This drop in center offered multiple activities for the children in the neighbourhood, ranging from arts to sports. It was here that each Ryerson student was responsible for creating their own 30 second video, that focused on a student and a skill that was offered at the center. This assignment included both filming and editing the video – #DiscoverDagoretti

My particular video is about a young boy named Henry. Henry is a natural athlete, who could always be found on the field playing football with all of his friends. Henry credits the development of much of his football skills to playing with the older boys at the center.

To hear more of Henry’s story, check out the video below!

Be sure to watch the other stories from Dagoretti as well, as each kid has their own unique one to share!

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See #DiscoverDagoretti: RTA Community Engagement in Kenya (Part 1 of 3) and (Part 3 of 3) for more on this project!

To learn more about Ryerson’s partnership with Amref Health Africa, see “Kenya welcomes students for immersive education experience” in Ryerson Today