- Created on Wednesday, 16 October 2013 18:31
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By JASLEEN KAUR KALRA
Making a contribution to social activities is a significant element of a person’s well being, as is the skill to mingle with others. Social networking helps people improve communication skills, foster social interaction and help overcome shyness.
Social activities are the actions of people mingling and coming into contact with each other.
Nattalie Boverhof, a social activity co-ordinator, says it is “anything non-academic that our students could do, whether it is on-campus or off-campus in Niagara or outside of Niagara. Sometimes it can be volunteer work, sometimes it can be fundraising, sometimes it can be parties – anything that has a social aspect is social activity.”
“It is a service we provide primarily for the English as a Second Language (ESL) students because the biggest difference is that the ESL students have classes onto themselves and post-secondary students are mixed with Canadian students. It gives them idea about Canadian culture. Also many of our post-secondary students were once ESL students. So, when they first drive in the country the social activity calendar helps them learn what is in the area until they are comfortable.”
“Social activities are important, and the biggest benefit throughout the activities is that students can use their own language skill in a non-academic environment. To work from textbooks and following the teacher’s instructions is one thing, but to meet and communicate with new friends is something really different, whether it is sort of talking about what do you want to do next, where do you want to go for lunch, or some of the volunteer activities.”
She says the activity is for everyone. Every ESL student pays $280 a semester for social activities and post-secondary students pay Student Administrative Council (SAC) fees, the ESL students do not pay SAC fees.
“Off-campus activities are more popular, and the most popular activity is the Toronto trip. We go to Toronto every other month. Also, we have different themes for showing movies; some of the activities we run two days in a row so that every student has an opportunity to go when they are interested.”
She says recently 150 students joined Trip to Falls, 200 came to Latin Party and 270 students went to Wonderland, while more than 136 students went to Toronto on Oct. 12. Some of the students show up at on-campus movie nights and at the workshop for making scarves. It depends on the schedule as well.
Patricia Cardenas, a former ESL student, from Colombia, has a diploma in Office Administration, and a bachelor’s degree in Hospitality and Business Accounting.
Since June 2013, Cardenas is assisting Boverhof. According to her, social activity is important for every student as it helps to make new friends; students can learn about other cultures and they can also practice their language skills.
“We have different activities, so they can learn about culture in Canada and also improve their language skills because we organize trips to see different places. When a student, for the first time, enters a different country he or she is very shy, so it is important for them to mingle with other students and overcome their shyness.
“When I was an ESL student, I really enjoyed it, and now again any [way] I am connected to the activities. I still enjoy it, and I like helping people, so I like being around them.”
Andrey Rudakov, an ESL student in Level 4, says social activity is a social event aimed at teamwork. It allows people to take part in some joint activities and become more social.
“I like trips to Toronto and trips to Wonderland. Usually, I try to participate in almost all the activities, but some activities I don’t visit anymore. For instance, a Night in the Falls, as I have been there many times. I think it is great that the college offers students such events, and, in my opinion, the main benefits of activity is that we can make new friends.”
Nadiia Snihur, a former ESL student, says social activity is an active interaction with people of different age groups. The activities give chances to find new friends and enlarge the intercultural experience to join fun with studies.
She says with the help of social activities, students break communication barriers and with more enthusiasm, as fun always makes people closer. Having arrived from different countries with totally distinct cultures and traditions, most students have culture shock, and it prevents them from finding new friends.
“I think social activities should be various and try not to be repeated. Every new trip, place or activity gives brand new emotions and feelings that make our memories for an entire life. It also gives a chance to share those emotions with more people and as a result, more people will be willing to take part in them.”
“I am trying to attend as many activities as possible because it’s the best chance to meet my old friends whom I see rarely because of different timetables. I found most of my friends while travelling or performing some group works. In such situations I had a chance to see how similar we are even though thousands of miles were separating us before.
“Most activities helped me to become more open, and I learned that most of the students are extremely polite and well brought up, kind and open to changes even though a bit shy and cautious.”
Zheng Lu, a former ELS student, says social activities help students to make new friends and have fun when they are not at school.
“We can meet people from all over the world; students get good opportunity to learn other culture. The activities provided by the college are good, but would be better to add some new ones though. I used to go on the Toronto trip a lot just to have fun and have good food. I really enjoyed it.”