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The Other Side of Bangladesh

Bangladesh is a developing country located in South Asia. With a population of over 160 million people, it is one of the most densely populated nations in the world.

For many, some of the first words  when hearing ‘Bangladesh’ are- ‘where is that?’, ‘is that a city?’, ‘poverty’. For me, there’s only one that comes to mind – HOME.

My country is home to the pioneer of Microfinance (an economic model that is uplifting millions out of poverty), Dr. Muhammad Yunus;Bangladesh is the Royal Bengal Tiger’s home, it also has the longest sea beach in the world. These are only few of the amazing things about Bangladesh.

The following photos show one side of Bangladesh, the side that associates the country with poverty, inequality:

Source: The New York Times ( The picture shows few people in a cold, winter morning transporting crops.
Source: The picture shows women working in the tea gardens of Bangladesh

The following pictures show the other side, a lesser known side of Bangladesh:

A country where every religion is respected (Khagrachori) (1)
A country where every religion is respected- Tausif Ejaz, UBCO Graduate School of Engineering , picture taken in Khagrachori, Bangladesh
Ahsan Manjil Through The Pinnacle (Old Dhaka)
Ahsan Manjil, seat of the Nawab Family of Dhaka- Tausif Ejaz, UBCO Graduate School of Engineering, picture taken in Old Dhaka, Bangladesh


We are more than labels

Guest post by: Jorge Garcia, BSC

In the last couple of decades, our society has made great progress when it comes to racial discrimination, and although we still have a long way to go, we can slowly see improvements with each new generation. However, there is another side to this issue that is often ignored or minimized. It is what we call “White Privilege”.

In short, white privilege can be considered to be the other side of racism. It is that immense list of everyday conflicts that some people have the privilege of ignoring simply because they are “white”. It is the privilege of being considered an individual and not just another member of a specific group or race. It is the privilege of being a voice, and not just a stereotype or a set of labels.

“We Are More Than Labels” is a series of portraits that intend to expose some of the invisible labels that people are given simply because of their color. It is an exploration of both the prejudices that people of color have to go through, and in the counterpart, the lack of these labels on white people; which result in the privilege of not being judged based on their skin color, the privilege of doubt, and the privilege of trust.

We Are More Than Labels_1 We Are More Than Labels_2 We Are More Than Labels_3 We Are More Than Labels_4

The Other Side

The Other Side Project was started by Mirabelle Arodi, a student here at UBC, who is currently on exchange at McGill University.
The project focuses on the concept of home, from a more individual lens and contrast it with mass media representation of countries.

The Project contrasts these images by placing both images side by side, with a student’s photo of home and an image from a major news outlet that is representative of home. The project is an attempt to counter stereotypes of different parts of the world and share the true image that actual citizens experience daily and call home.



On exchange, but didn’t even leave the country

Written by Mirabelle Arodi, 4th Year Biochemistry Major

” I’m going on exchange,”

” Oh cool! Where?”

” Montreal!”

” Oh…”

Even before they said it, I knew what was coming next: ” But that’s not really exchange. It’s still Canada,”

This is a conversation I’d had countless times— with friends, acquaintances, eavesdroppers– in the months before the fall semester. It always began with excitement, which immediately changed to either confusion or disinterest, once I told them that I would be going to McGill University for the fall semester. The fact that I wasn’t crossing borders on my journey abroad somehow seemed less impressive.

As an international student, coming to Canada for university was in itself ‘going abroad’.  It is an experience I have enjoyed so far, and what has been most enriching for me are the different people, cultures and ways of thinking that I have encountered in Kelowna. I have learned just as much, if not more, outside the classroom as I have inside lecture halls. One of the things I learned outside class, is that the province of British Columbia alone is twice the size of my home country, Kenya. To say that this new knowledge-bomb blew my mind would be an understatement. Sure, looking at maps (and the fact that a flight from Toronto to Kelowna is as long as a flight from Kenya to South Africa— nearly half the length of the African continent), I knew that Canada was a big country. Putting it in relation to Kenya, however, is what made me really understand just how big. And it got me thinking–if I can have such a wealth of experience and diversity in Kelowna, how much more must there be in the rest of Canada? I would love to explore all of Canada. But as I have already established (and probably beaten to death), Canada. Is. Big. I can’t explore it all at once. But I can start somewhere. It was a foregone conclusion when I looked a the Go Global partners schools, that my destination for exchange would be within Canada— and Montreal, Quebec, it was!

[That was the response I would have loved to give to all those people that were less impressed with my location choice for exchange. But I reckon it they would not have endured that longwinded justification.]

I probably could not have chosen a place more different from Kelowna. Montreal is on the opposite side of the country, predominantly French speaking, more multicultural, always awake, and has a subway system (which I am not the biggest fan of—such a gloomy place). Coming from the small town Kelowna, I definitely needed time to adjust to my new home for the next four months. I had studied French for over 5 years, so I thought I had the language part covered. What they didn’t teach me in class, however, is the blistering speed at which French speakers talk. Every interaction with a sales associate in a store, the teller at the supermarket, or barista, went the same way. They say something in French, to which I respond ‘pardon?’ with a blank look on my face as I try to process what they just said. They then swiftly repeat what they said in English, just as I had computed the French version. But by then it was too late– I had to carry the rest of conversation in English, all the while thinking, “I understood it the first time, all I needed was some time to process- honestly! Just give me a chance. Je parle Francais!!’ What is seriously impressive is how almost everyone in this city speaks at least two languages, sometimes three or more, and the ease with which they switched back and forth depending on who they are talking to. Two shopkeepers will speak to each other in Arabic, answer a customer’s question in French, and tell another customer his bill sum in English, all in one breath. I want to get to that point too, one day. (#Goals)

Something else that took me aback is how spoiled for choice one is in Montreal. There are countless cafes to study in, variety of cuisines to sample, and a range of clothing stores—from thrift shops to designer boutiques. Maybe this explains why Montrealers are ALWAYS dressed to the nines, whether it’s for class or a night out. Their fashion game is strong! I am yet to see anyone dressed in sweatpants outside of the gym. (But then again, it isn’t exam season yet). Even with so many options though, there are still hidden gems in in this city– like the grocery store where I can buy a week’s worth of produce for under $20, or the cozy little cafe that serves Tanzanian tea in your own personal tea pot.

There seems to be something for everyone in Montreal. Bars that have live jazz bands playing every night, nightclubs that have more of a pop-music sound, water fountain displays and outdoor temporary art installations. My personal favorite is taking walks; to the top of Mont Royal in the morning where I am rewarded with a panoramic view of the whole city, and around the interconnected streets downtown at night, where I am guaranteed to see something out of the ordinary—people salsa dancing on the sidewalk, buskers singing their lungs out, or a colorful graffiti mural so large that I have to look at it from a distance of 10 meters.

As I am writing this, I am exactly halfway through my exchange experience. I am finally settled in and had a taste of Montreal life (croissants and crepes included). But I feel that I have so much more to see and do. For instance, visiting Vieux Port in Old Montreal, shopping at the renowned farmers markets, and of course, indulging in some legendary poutine from La Banquise. I’m pretty sure that’s obligatory when one comes to the birth place of one of Canada’s greatest contributions to the [food] world.

Yes, I am still in Canada, and no, it is not all the same. I believe it is both dangerous and a disservice to assume that Canada is homogenous, and that living in one place means you’ve experienced all there is to Canada— that it warrants looking beyond it’s borders to find something new and exciting

And yes, it does count as going on exchange.




The Hidden Gems of Kelowna!

Are you lusting for some adventure?

Is your stomach grumbling uncontrollably?

Are you just searching for a peaceful setting to study in?

Let us help you out with some of these exceptional opportunities that are just waiting for you!


———-> Hiking hidden gems

Dilworth mountain : Easy; 1 – 3 km
Access from Hwy 97 heading north by turning left on Spall Road; this turns into Glenmore Drive. You will turn right at the lights for Summit Drive, climb the steep hill and turn right on Chilcotin Court, you will see a parking lot on your right hand side. Dilworth mountain can be seen from almost any location in Kelowna and offers some of the best views of the city.

Knox mountain: Easy; 1 – 3 km                                                                           Access from Hwy 97 heading north by turning left on Spall Road; this turns into Glenmore Drive. You will turn right at the lights for Summit Drive, climb the steep hill and turn right on Chilcotin Court, you will see a parking lot on your right hand side. Dilworth mountain can be seen from almost any location in Kelowna and offers some of the best views of the city.

Glacier Glades: Moderate to Difficult; various distances
Kalamalka Provincial park is located at the north end of Kalamalka lake which is a beautiful lake. There are several walks you can take through bunchgrass meadow, along cliffs and through the Douglas firs overlooking Kal Lake. There are also a few beaches in the area, perfect to dip into on a sunny day.

Mill Creek: Mill Creek Regional Park is 15.3 hectares in the Ellison area, east of the Kelowna Airport. Take Old Vernon Road off Highway 97 N and turn onto Spencer Road, the parking lot is on the right hand side.

Crawford Falls / Canyon Falls Park: Difficult; 1 – 2 km
Crawford Falls is located on Bellevue Creek. It can be reached by the following: Gordon Drive to Dehart Road; Dehart Road to Crawford Road; Crawford road to Westridge Road. Turn on to Canyon Ridge Crescent and finally to Canyon Falls Court, which is a dead end. You will see a Kelowna City Parks trail that you can follow to a beautiful waterfall.To get to the lower falls takes about 20 minutes but is quite difficult. Once there you will see 20 foot falls. If you continue about 10 more minutes you will see the larger falls (40 feet).  *Before you go, be advised that this is a very steep, advanced level hike. Staff are currently working to establish a safer trail to the bottom. Hikers should also be aware that parking is limited in Canyon Falls Court. Cars parked less than 3 metres from driveways will be ticketed and/or towed. There is additional parking on Westridge Drive and Stewart Road West.

Kelowna Mountain (suspension bridges and vineyards):                      Take Chute Lake Rd to Upper Mission Drive, Turn  left on Gillard Forestry Rd at Upper Mission Drive, Turn left at Kettle Valley Stone, Turn right into the Kelowna Mountain gates off of Gillard forestry Rd.

———-> Eating hidden gems

  1.                                                                                Jammery: Breakfast, brunch, and lunch only.
  2.                                                                                           Menchies: Dessert
  3.                                                                                              Bluetail: Japanese / Sushi
  4.                                                                                        Grand 88: Buffet / Western Chinese / Japanese / All you can eat
  5.                                                                                                  Packing house / Tonics / Brans Creek:  $3 wings! (on specific days)
  6.                                                                                                  Latin Fiesta:  Mexican / Salvadorian
  7.                                                                                                         Naked Cafe: Vegan / Vegetarian
  8.                                                                        Pakora Palace: Indian food

Study hidden gems

  1. Pulp fiction

  2. Starbucks                                                                     
  3. Bean Scene                                   
  4. Bliss bakery                                                                                  
  5. Kelowna Library                                                                        
  6. Blenz Coffee                                                     

 – Stella Mozin

Public speaking is possible!

According to recent studies, public speaking is placed #1 for people’s worst fears. Which subsequently beats out skydiving, spiders and even death!

This is how I have gone through the motions….

“The time  subsequently arrives when you get called up on stage and immediately your heart starts racing. You receive a hot flash every three seconds followed by a swift shiver to even the anxiety out.

Once you start the short walk to your worst nightmare you can’t help but feel as if you have chicken legs wiggling about underneath you. Next, you finally make it to the platform and the lights somehow manage to blind you so effortlessly.

Right before you open your mouth to speak, you feel as if you forgot everything you ever wanted to say.  So many eyes are transfixed solely on you. Then, once you have successfully made that leap over the Grand Canyon of nerves, you manage to start speaking flawlessly. You finally feel as if you could conquer anything.

Lastly, when you step down from that platform, you can not even remember what the heck just happened or more so what you just performed. It seems like a foggy dream, and yet it was very real.”

People fear and dislike public speaking for many reasons.

A few examples are…

  • Being self-conscious in front of a large group
  • Fear of being judged
  • Bad experiences
  • Comparing yourself to fellow students

Public speaking can do so much good for you.

A few examples are…

  • Immensely builds up your self confidence
  • Very important for your future career
  • One of the most effective way to get your message across
  • It demonstrates your knowledge

There are so many places you can get involved!

  • Student leader conference
  • Media center / UBCO-TV
  • Model united nations
  • Global Fest
  • Debate Club ( )  
  • Toastmasters ( )
  • Tedx UBCOkanagan talks

– Stella Mozin