Cultural Competency and Culture Shock Workshop at Making Noise @ Humber

By: Megan Fitzgerald
As a student at Humber College, I knew that there was a great acceptance of international students in my school community. However, I never really put much thought into this, or the process that is involved. This workshop demonstrated the relevance and the benefits of accepting other cultures that come to Canada and the importance of embracing them in a school community, as well as the general population. It was presented by the International Students Office at Humber. They provide support to international students coming to Humber, as well as students looking to study internationally. They have offices at both North and Lakeshore campuses.
For a few weeks prior to this presentation, we placement students had been working with the Urban Alliance facilitators in creating a Humber Life game that circled around the resources available at Humber and how to help students find their way. All the students who attended the workshop were given specific student profiles and they were to decide which resources they would need to be successful. It was interesting to see the difficulties that the students had in finding their proper resources. I feel like this activity was effective in shedding light on various resources that are available that the students may not have been aware of. It also demonstrated how crucial it is that better communication of resources be provided to the students, as many students did not even realize that Humber is blessed with so many services that can help them succeed.
When dealing with culture shock, I have learned through this workshop that cross cultural communication plays a huge role. There are many examples out there of things that may mean one thing to us, but means something completely different in another culture. Any message that is sent goes from the sender, through a series of their own filters, and is received by the other person through their own filter. Many times things can get lost in translation, but if there is more cultural understanding, the initial shock can be alleviated. The people who travel internationally offer so much potential that often gets over looked. There is a positive economic impact as well as greater cultural diversity that enhances a community.
What I learned in this workshop can help me in the future by influencing me to be more open minded about the cultural differences in society. I have a better understanding of what it means to be coming from another part of the world, and the psychological, academic, and physical challenges that can come along with it. I am in a program where I have the opportunity to help people in these situations, so having a better understanding of what it means can assist me in doing so.
For future development, I feel that there should be a better presentation of resources around Humber. There are so many services that my school has to offer, that are often not taken advantage of, simply because no one knows they are there. I encourage students at Humber to completely look into what the school has to offer to help build your college experience and guide you along. No one should have to struggle alone.

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