Odette international student Lubna Abdul Amin
Odette international student Lubna Abdul Amin with team-mates (l – r) Ellen Nyarko, Tina Hwang and Sarim Ehtesham

International student finds home-away-from-home with SIFE Windsor

On Wednesday, May 13th the Odette School of Business, SIFE Windsor team, was ranked among the top 5 teams in Canada at the 2010 ACE National Exposition in Calgary, Alberta where 16 of the 41 members of SIFE Windsor competed against 43 university and college teams, from every province in Canada. I was part of the SIFE Windsor team – Lubna Abdul Amin, 3rd year BComm – and I would like to share my account of this exciting journey.

As an international student coming from Syria, meeting more than 50 of Canada’s top CEOs, was only a dream, until I joined SIFE Windsor. Not only did I get the opportunity to meet them, I experienced presenting in front of them along side my three team-mates. “All the work we have put in throughout the year comes down to those 24 minutes you are up on that stage presenting” were the words of our SIFE Windsor’s president, Aaron Mailloux. Those words did not only motivate us but also proved to us that it did not matter where we are from, which country we belong to, for those 24 minutes of crowning glory, we were all the same, true SIFE-rs. It was just the four of us up on that stage, presenting SIFE Windsor’s projects and what we as a team strived to achieve all year.

The 2010 national competition involved three gruelling rounds of competition. For the very first time in SIFE Windsor’s history, we had made it through all three rounds. What an empowering feeling it was being called up on the stage for a final presentation to compete against the top 4 universities and colleges for the National Champions title.

This experience has been completely enriching. It builds your confidence about your ability to express yourself in a language that is different from your mother tongue. It makes you realize that a person can only do so much, but a team can do miracles. You meet people from so many diverse backgrounds that you no longer feel like a foreigner.

At SIFE Windsor, I met people that I not only call friends, but my family as well. Being away from home can put one down and finding that group of people to make you feel like home was easy at SIFE Windsor. All those endless hours we spent at the SIFE office, perfecting and preparing the presentation and the refusal to sleep due to our determination to win at the national exposition not only paid off, it also brought us all together knowing that we had the same passion and the same goal; to represent OUR university in Calgary.

The international experience is increasingly important in today's global business environment. Being an international student, I felt a sense of accomplishment and value-added to my team and my new home, Windsor.