Sunday, March 21, 2010

My Way to the College in the Winter

(Pictures taken by me)

Believe me, there were days I thought I was going to freeze. It was not an enjoyable walk in the winter having to be in the classroom at 8:30 a.m.

Winter is very beautiful, indeed! Even more beautiful when you are inside your living room by a fireplace (with your boyfriend), having a glass of ice wine, and looking the snow falling through the window. How beautiful it is! But have you tried long walks when it is minus 12 or more? It is not fun for me.

Just a few days before spring came to stay...I started to hear birds singing. The snow is gone now, and my way to the College has become an enjoyable walk. Actually, a bird watching adventure. I have stopped few times, in the middle of my way going to the College, to observe the different colourful birds on the trees' branches, singing a variety of tones. How beautiful it is the spring from inside or outside my living room now.

My Classmates

First row - Nicola. Second row - Danielle and Brett. Third row- Sharon.

To facilitate your learning experience, it is important to have a good environment in your classroom. Having classmates you can count on, in case you miss a class, or need any help, is fundamental to your academic experience and success.

Also, having a good sense of humour, it helps you to cope with your regular stress in getting many assignments done. My classmate Brett has such a good sense of humour. Thank you Brett, for making me laugh.

Second row- (left to right) Alanna, Ashley and Danielle.
Third row- (left to right) Ruby, Fátima and Sharon.

Monday, March 15, 2010

Power Writing - How to improve your writing skills?

Surfing the web this week, I found out a website that can help us (students and professionals) to improve our writing skills. The website written by Daphne Gray-Grant, the Publication Coach, has many interesting articles. You can also get free articles on how to improve your writing skills, and sign-up for a weekly free newsletter on that subject. I posted one of her newsletter's samples below about "wordiness", and that is a topic that I certainly have problems with. What about you?

 Here is a sample of Daphne Gray-Grant's free writing newsletter, Power Writing.

Super fast tips to help you write faster, better
TIP: Increase your writing speed with the find & replace key
There are some bad writing habits we all slip into from time to time. One is wordiness. If you tend to be wordy, here’s a fast way to fix the problem:

Use your “find & replace” key [hit Control + F in MS Word], then type in “tion” in the “find” box and search through your document. Each time you find a word that ends in “tion” (for example: observation, translation, allocation), try to eliminate it. Why?

There are three big problems with “tion” words:
1. They are usually long - three to four syllables. Readers tend to stumble on long words.
2. They usually don’t create a picture in the reader’s mind. (If I write “dog” you are likely to see a dog in your mind’s eye. If I write “allocation” you will see nothing). Good writing is all about pictures.
3. You usually form these words by taking a perfectly good verb (eg: observe) and adding “tion” to turn it into a noun (“observation.”) To make a sentence, you THEN have to add ANOTHER verb - usually a boring one like “is” or “made” (eg: “He made an observation.”) This makes your writing dull and wordy.

The best way to eliminate the “tion” word is to turn the noun back into its original verb: She observed the problem; he translated the document.
This week as you’re writing: watch for words ending in “tion” and try to eliminate them.

An advice by Daphne Gray-Grant. Check her site The Publication Coach

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Free Online Writing Courses

I was surprised to find out that there are at least 10 universities that offer free writing courses online, so I thought about sharing that article with you. I hope this hint helps you to improve your writing skills as well as mine. I am also suggesting you this website because it has videos on resume writing guidelines, tips for writing a cover letter, creative and technical writing. Check the link below about this great finding:

10 Universities Offering Free Writing Courses Online

Saturday, March 13, 2010

Mayor David Miller's speech at Niagara College

Picture: Mayor David Miller and Fátima Lopes, and Desk Publishing Teacher Paul Dayboll at the back.

I have to confess that I am a little bit skeptical about certain politicians' practices. There is a limited number of politicians that I would consider in "My Party of Trustworthy Human Beings". On March 11, 2010, on Thursday, the public relations graduate students were invited by the journalism students (who organized the event) to attend a speech with Toronto's Mayor David Miller. I had neither the idea how the Mayor looked like nor how his political views or practices were. When I entered the room (15 minutes before the scheduled time for the speech at 11:00 a.m), I did not know that the Mayor David Miller was already inside the room waiting for the students to come in. Mr. Miller was standing at the door talking to our Desk Publishing teacher Paul Dayboll.

I am usually a polite person, and I always say "hello" to people in the College (students, faculty, cleaning staff, security guards, etc). However, I was so concerned about not being late for the speech that I entered the room, and did not say "hello" to whomever was at the door. After I sat down, I realized that there was a man, at the door, dressed in a professional suit. He was following all the dress codes, my friends Mallory Peters and Danielle Purslow, fashion consultants, advise in their blogs. From far away, I noticed that the man was wearing a pink tie. I thought that man was the Mayor's security guard, but to my surprise that man was actually the Mayor David Miller, himself, standing at the door. How distracted can I be?

Anyway, the speech was very interesting; I learned many things about the Mayor's initiatives, political views, his family, and even his involvement with the C40 Cities - Climate Leadership Group (some Brazilian cities are also participating). After his speech, I had an informal lunch with him, my classmates and the journalism students.

Not only we do have many assignments to do every month at Niagara College, but also we have the chance to enjoy a good speech or a good lunch (once in a while). How busy a year it has been after all these VIP's visits: Prime Minister Stephen Harper, in October 2009; His Royal Highness, The Prince of Wales: Prince Charles, in November 2009, and now Mayor David Miller, in March 2010.

Mrs. Geddie (our English teacher) might have the pictures with the Prince of Wales and the Prime Minister, but I only have the pictures with Mayor David Miller that I posted here. I think after having learned about Mayor David Miller's political initiatives, I can say that I will allow him to join "My Party of Trustworthy Human Beings."   By the way, don't get me wrong: I liked the Major's pink tie a lot!

Toronto's Mayor David Miller and Public Relations' Students at Niagara College

There is no place like this: Ontario!

Our school year is almost finished. Have you thought where you are going for a vacation? Beautiful British Columbia, Newfoundland, Labrador or Ontario? Experience this wonderful country Canada. Have fun!

Find your Spirit in Newfoundland and Labrador!

Beautiful British Columbia

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

How confused can an international student be? What is a Canadian Television Show?

My first weeks of classes, I spent taking the time to know certain cultural details that I was not familiar with. For example, I had another assignment for the Mass Media class: watch a Canadian television show and list all the things that made the show uniquely Canadian. While my classmates already knew what show they were going to watch; I was still trying to figure out which show was Canadian.

When I turn on the T.V., everybody speaks English, so who is American? And who is Canadian? I know how unique Canadians are, but how confusing that was to turn on the T.V and to find out which show was Canadian and which one was made by "Canadians' neighbors". By now you might be curious to know if I completed my assignment. Yes, I did, after finding out that Rick Mercer was a Canadian show I could reaffirm "The Wonderful Canadian Way" of making shows and comedies. How hilarious Rick Mercer is when he explains "The Government of Canada." (Watch the clip in my blog). How great that was to watch when he made fun of a true fact: "Air Canada having pets in the craft."

After watching several Rick Mercer's programs, I realized that there is no way someone can mistake a Canadian show for an American show. Canadians shows talk about real facts, people, companies in a very funny and sarcastic way. They portray serious matters in a very relaxed ambience, and in an amusing manner. And, to make it even more a real Canadian show, Rick Mercer's Program has to make fun of Americans in all aspects. It seems to me that a Canadian show, particularly a Canadian comedy, will not be complete, or funny, without having the comedian picking on such "Famous Neighbors" as the Americans are.

How confused can an international student be? What is a journal?

My first weeks of classes, I spent taking the time to understand not only certain English vocabulary, but also to know certain cultural details that I was not accustomed to. For example, if a teacher asks you to do a journal. What do think that is? First thing came up to my mind was "The Edmonton Journal" and "The Wall Street Journal". Did the teacher want me to create a Journal? Wow! That was a hard assignment for my first week of classes, I thought.

I was taking a Mass Media class, and Linda Camus, my teacher, asked me to do a journal. First, before starting that "famous journal", I had to find out what exactly that was. To my surprise, the assignment was even easier than I thought because I did not need to write a real (Edmonton) Journal. According to , "a journal is a daily record, as of occurrences, experiences, or observations: She kept a journal during her European trip." So, when a teacher asks you to do a journal: don't panic! All he or she wants you to do is to write your observations, experiences or daily records about a topic.

Sunday, March 7, 2010

Carnival in Rio de Janeiro

For the ones who need a break after a long week of studying, studying and studying. Have fun with this clip!

What Colour is your Brand?

What Color in your Brand? Blue, green, yellow, orange, red or purple? According to William Arruda, "Just as companies use colors to express their brand attributes, you can benefit from the power of colors too...The question is not what your favorite color is, but what color expresses your personal branding attributes."

So, what are you waiting for? Watch William Arruda's video clips which I posted here in my blog to help you understand how important personal branding is, and start building your brand today. I have also posted several other links for you to enjoy this interesting topic about personal branding, and how to succeed in your future endeavours.

Thursday, March 4, 2010

MLA Style

Sometimes it is unbelievable to notice how overloaded of work I have been while in the College. To make my life a little easier, I usually look up on the web for help. There are many video clips that can help students understand certain concepts. Here is a step by step video clip that will help you with the MLA's formatting. I hope that helps you as much it helped me. Good luck!
MLA Style Video

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Scholarships for International Students in Canada

Canadian Scholarship Information for
International Students

Dear International Student,
Please, check the link below for information on scholarships in Canada.
Good luck!
Canadian Scholarships

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Learn English Lesson 3: Phrasal Verbs - Get

I know that international students have a hard time with phrasal verbs. Here is a good explanation about the usage of "get" as a phrasal verb.

Learn English Lesson 2: Silent Letters in words

Here are some more tips for you to improve your English:

Learn English Lesson 1: Irregular Verbs

I also decided to post some English language lessons to my international friends (around the world and in Canada) who work so hard to learn English as a Second Language. I hope those lessons are useful.

Brazilian Carnival 2010

Life is more than just studying. International students need to have some fun to cope with many tasks and challenges they face every day. Make sure you take some time to yourself.
Even though international students do not have much time to have fun other than studying, studying, and studying. Watch a video, a movie, listen to some music, and you will feel better, relaxed. I posted some videos here to help you with your English assignments, but also to help you relax and have some fun. If you want to suggest any videos, let me know, I will post them for you.
Have fun watching a sample synopsis of 2010 Brazilian Carnival in Rio de Janeiro.

Time Management

Stress at school is usually tied to time management. The following hints are some strategies for time and stress management compiled by the instructional resource guide for teaching assistants (University of British Columbia, 2006). These strategies are also valuable to be used by international students in their daily lives:

1. Monitor how you use your time - You may be spending time on things that are not priority;

2. Plan your year - Remember that you have responsibilities. Try to complete some tasks earlier, so you won't feel the pressure all at once;

3. Plan the week - Write a "To Do" list and put your priorities first;

4. Plan some "free time" - Working too much can lower your productivity levels, so plan some time where you can do whatever you want;

5. Eliminate distractions - A place like the library can serve this purpose;

6. Improve your concentration - By setting short specific and realistic goals;

7. Overcome procrastination - By focusing on doing a good job versus a perfect job.