Category: courses (Page 2 of 3)

My practicum experience: Real life learning

ircom house

Greetings! My name is Louisa Hofer. I am in my fourth and final year of a social science major.

 I decided to do my practicum during the school year as a part of my overall semester, rather than doing an intensive practicum during the summer like many of my friends and fellow students have done. The people I worked with spoke to me along with my readings, professors, and other conversation partners. This helped me learn in a way that I might not have otherwise and in a way that I really needed at the time.

My practicum took place last semester at the Immigrant and Refugee Community Organization of Manitoba, or IRCOM, as it is more commonly known. IRCOM, is a lot of things. It’s a safe and affordable transitional housing complex for newcomers. It is also home to a multitude of transitional aid programs for both IRCOM residents and members of the West End and West Alexander communities. These programs include English classes, finance classes, job connection services, countless youth and children’s programs, and much more.

IRCOM is a also group of staff available for questions; many of them who had been newcomers themselves and participated in the very IRCOM programs that they now help run. These staff members also do a lot advocacy work—they attend conferences, panels, and write to politicians regarding relevant policies. IRCOM is a lot of things to a lot people.

https://pilulesfrance.com/gastrointestinal/acheter-rabeprazole/
"The City" with Prof. Chris Huebner

“The City” with Prof. Chris Huebner

While involved at IRCOM, I was also taking a course called: “The City: Theological and Philosophical perspectives” with Prof. Chris Huebner. It’s one of those courses that haunts everything…the kind that seeps into a ridiculous amount of your thought. We read Plato, Augustine’s City of God, Foucault, and more all while watching
the HBO show The Wire, which uncovers the broken lives of people in Baltimore, MD. In a violent revealing it showed us the corrupt and messed up policies and market forces that seem to screw these citizens over in ways akin to the mischievous terror of the gods in a Greek tragedy.

thewireThe Wire does this in both a shocking and brilliant fashion. It showed the utter failure of bureaucracy, and caused me to question my faith in humanity’s ability to organize ourselves. If that wasn’t enough, there were other events happening that were certainly not inconsequential, not the least of which was a significant election and the profound mass migration of refugees.

From that heavy and heady space that challenged and lamented the big picture, I would go to IRCOM and assist in little things. On any given week I would do some office work, some filing, or build some IKEA furniture. It was an odd juxtaposition to be assisting in the mundane functions of a non-profit organization with all of those thoughts going on in the background. I approached this place expecting to see people that were troubled and perplexed, but I saw a lot of “just living”—people just going about their day.

My time tutoring in IRCOM’s homework program definitely my favourite task. This program was started by IRCOM kids themselves a few years back and has expanded into quite the endeavour. There are around 60-70 kids all doing their homework (or sometimes not doing their homework) with 5-10 tutors every night.

It is quite the beautiful chaos to see kids from different linguistic, cultural, and religious groups in the same room coming together almost every day. From what these kids have said, this learning community has provided a significant boost in facing an unfamiliar educational system.

MBInfographiconRefugeesMBInfographiconRefugeesI had been with people who were going about their business, navigating life and forming a little learning community, but this night was a small glimpse into how these lives have so often been cast into controversy and into a narrative of danger, or of crisis and charity. It was a glimpse into how the way they were being narrated and the outcome of the U.S. election would severely effect people who would be trying to make a similar journey that they had.

There has been a lot to be said for what is going on here, of the protests and the marches attended by these folks, but also the quiet resistance lived-out in the form of everyday life that dwells beyond the labels of danger, of crisis, and charity that people always seem to ascribe.

I’m not sure how this mess will turn out, but it has been an honour to be with these people who just keep doing their thing.

Louisa Hofer is a fourth year student in social science

MCC Student Seminar Ottawa

16864477_158321838009479_5644719291756880739_nOver reading week, I had the opportunity to attend the Mennonite Central Committee (MCC) student seminar in Ottawa. There were 30 students who attended from across Canada, including four from CMU and two more from Menno Simons College. The theme was Gender, Peace, and Conflict: Exploring the Intersection. We looked at how government organizations, non-profits, and individuals interact with this theme in their work. 

One of the benefits of being in Ottawa was that we were located right in the heart of Canada’s government. We sat in on question period in the House of Commons and had a tour of the parliament buildings. We also heard from MP Hélène Laverdière and Senator Mobina Jaffer, who have been involved in the implementation of the UN Security Council’s declaration on Women, Peace and Security.

Before attending this seminar, I had little knowledge of Canada’s National Action plan or the many different committees which make up our government system to encourage action. There were times when I felt disillusioned with the government and frustrated with what seemed to be emptyPastedGraphic-1 actions and not enough financial contribution to women’s projects. But I was inspired by hearing these two passionate women who are advocating for policy change.

In addition to hearing about the role of government and policy, we heard from non-profits and grassroots organizations about the importance of women’s groups. We spoke with people from KAIROS, Oxfam, the Nobel Women’s Initiative, and international workers from MCC. It was fascinating to hear how gender is influencing the peace process in Colombia, the importance of including women in peace processes, and how the Nobel Women’s Initiative is calling our “feminist prime minister” to invest in women’s grassroots groups.

The seminar looked at the importance of including a gender lens in conflict analysis, emphasizing that one cannot simply “add women and stir.” Between 1992 and 2011, 9% of negogoal-16-conflict-400-entiators in peace talks were women, despite the fact that a peace process in far more likely to succeed when women are included. It has left me wondering why it is so challenging to adopt an approach that includes women, both locally and internationally.

What stood out the most was having the opportunity to talk with other students whose stories and life experiences are different from my own. These students pushed me to think in new ways and ask different questions. I am grateful for the time we spent learning together.

For more information, visit Canada’s National Action Plan and the MCC Ottawa Advocacy Office.

Laura

A great time to study communications

Ever since the first humans managed to grunt at each other to say, “Hey, this berry will kill you but this one won’t,” we have been communicating. Today, we let each other know about berries that kill and other less lifesaving but more interesting things through so many more mediums than were available to our grunting ancestors. It’s a great time to be alive, but (and I’m biased because I’m a comm. major) it’s an even better time to study communications.

Read More

The CMU Farm

When asked about how students can become involved with the CMU Farm that resides on north campus Kenton Lobe, Instructor of International Development Studies (IDS), came up with endless opportunities.

Read More

Gaining on-the-job training through a practicum

I’ve said this many times before, but CMU’s emphasis on experiential learning is one of the reasons I love this school. I can be confident that following my graduation, I will leave CMU will valuable skills that will prepare me for the working world. Not only does the university accomplish this through the blend of practical and theoretical thinking in the classroom, but also through the required practicum placements.

Read More

Page 2 of 3

Powered by WordPress & Theme by Anders Norén