Hi, my name is Rivandy Indra Dewantara Misael and I enrol in Postgraduate Certificate program in Event Marketing – entertainments, sports, and arts at Seneca College, located in Toronto, Canada. I joined the program last year, in September 2016, and will soon graduate in October 2017.
The Event Marketing postgraduate program is a very interesting program, where students in this program received an educational experience on a niche industry, which is event. This program has taught me on how companies activate their marketing promotion through an event, how to creatively create an event, and how to prepare the event’s logistics, including creating a marketing plan, budgeting plan, sponsorship plan, promotion through social media, and many more. This program is only a two semesters program, and it also provides students with an optional co-op opportunity at the end of the semester.
Universal has become a major role in this whole experience as a conduit between Canada and Indonesia, and between a student and an institution. Universal has helped me through the visa application process, the school application process, and even as far as advising me in regards to lifestyle differences, school’s programs, study permit, working permit, flight ticket, accommodation, pre-departure briefing, and everything that were necessary, until I was ready to go on board on the plane. As I recall the entire process, if I had not decided to have Universal as my agent, I might have overlooked important information due to the lack of experience and knowledge on the administrative work. Universal is a very professional, experienced, and in my opinion, the best education agent for study abroad in Canada. I highly recommend Universal for their services in helping out students who are interested in studying abroad in Canada.
Since the first day I came to Universal, I was greeted by a lady named Grace, she was my first advisor at universal, but during the time I was unsure with my decision to study abroad in Canada. So after taking some time for further consideration, I went back to the Universal agent for the second time to meet Grace, unfortunately she was not working there anymore. Not long after, I was introduced to a lady named Ratna, and she became my advisor. She had helped me by listing recommendations to several great schools in Canada, one of them being Seneca College. She explained to me about another post-graduate program aside from Master’s Degree program called Postgraduate Certificate program, and I was immediately interested with the program right after she told me about it. As time went by, I decided to take Event Marketing program with optional co-op opportunity at Seneca College as recommended, Ratna advised me to take this co-op opportunity in order to gain some working experience in Canada. Moreover, she helped me out through the entire process of application, from school application to Visa application. In addition to that, she advised me on how to survive living in another country and, since we both happened to be Christians, she prayed for me as well.
The following are a couple of highlights I observed about the lifestyle in Canada, specifically the city of Toronto. Firstly, Toronto is a very diverse city. Because you can spot more than 10 ethnicities living in this city, you do not need to feel intimidated whether or not you come from the western culture. The people here are very respecting of each other’s culture and are very nice people. From my perspective as a student, I found that most of the students work part-time, to not only support themselves, but more so as the students’ culture here; we have to become more independent and we do not rely entirely on our parents’ financial support. The second highlight is about obeying the law, for we have very specific and strict rules around here. For instance, if you caught speeding up and go over the speed limit while you are driving, you will be fined by the police. Some essential things to keep in mind are paying attention to the signs, be discipline and punctual, do not do a jay walk, and do not speak of something that would insult any gender, race, or religion in a public space. Finally, the living cost here is more expensive compare to Indonesia. In addition to that, in the province of Ontario, we have to pay tax (13%) whenever we buy a product, we pay tips at the restaurant (although it is not mandatory, we do it as a token of appreciation for their service), and we cannot simply smoke at any area we want, but we are only allowed to smoke at the designated smoking area.
The most memorable thing that I have experienced was being forced to manage kitchen necessities such as buying and storing vegetables, meat, eggs, bread, milk and all basic needs, and cooking. Since I don’t have a car and have to bus or take a subway everywhere, I need to plan on how much groceries I would have to get and the amount of plastic bags that my hands could hold. Before coming to Toronto, I have never thought about how many vegetables or meats I would need to buy for the week, what I want to cook the day, what I have to cook for tomorrow, and whether or not I have time to cook, and many more. But since the time I arrived here, I suddenly realized that I have to think about it, otherwise I will end up buying food outside, which means spending more money and probably eating the same food again, and again, and again, and again. Personally for me, I love eating Indonesian food very much, but it doesn’t mean that I can’t eat local Canadian food. Though I eat a lot of food from different countries, Indonesian food would still number one in my heart. Whenever I miss Indonesia, I would cook Indonesian food and hangout with Indonesian friends (intentionally, to speak in Bahasa Indonesia, but often we ended up speaking in English anyway). So in order to overcome and manage this kitchen situation, I have come with a solution; which is to plan what I want to cook or eat for the next 2-3 days ahead of time and spare some time to do grocery shopping. With that being said, now I believed I have gained the most important skill that every student need to have in order to survive, if they want to study abroad, which is a functional and efficient kitchen management. This is one of the skill set that for sure students will need, but you will never realize it until you finally experience it!
In conclusion, it is worth to study abroad in Canada to gain new experience, learn different cultures, learn how to survive, and learn to be independent. The experience that you will earn is priceless! You won’t be able to grasp the feeling only by listening from someone’s story, but you have to experience it for yourself. Your experience will be even better when you decide to have Universal as your school agent to help you with all the preparation needed until you are ready to board on the plane. Thank you Universal for helping me with everything, from the day of consultation until the day I arrived in Toronto! And I rate Universal as my agent, I would give them 5 stars out of 5 for their outstanding services.