The following blog post was written by Kelty Christensen, Learner Engagement Officer at the Centre for Excellence in Immigrant and Intercultural Advancement.
At the Intercultural Centre, learners have shared that they want to engage in conversations that matter. Small talk can be fun but meaningful conversations are empowering.
To facilitate this request, the Intercultural Centre launched the IC Conversation Café, and we hosted our first café on February 7, 2018. The IC Conversation Café brings together Bow Valley College learners who are interested in exploring different ideas and discussing topics that matter. The goals of the café are for learners across the College to make connections with one another and to share and learn from different perspectives. At the café, learners are introduced to a number of agreements that help to support the process, including open-mindedness, acceptance, curiosity, discovery, sincerity, and brevity.
Our first conversation topic was “Finding balance amidst the demands of school, work, and personal life.” Twenty-three learners gathered together, shared ideas, listened to a variety of viewpoints, found common ground, and left feeling inspired. Learners enjoyed sharing their experiences about balance, and they noted that finding balance looks different for each individual.
Everyone has 24 hours each day. Be purposeful in how you choose to fill it.
Learners who participated in the event commented that the IC Conversation Café provided a sense of connectedness and a feeling of community. Learners shared a common feeling of being overwhelmed by not having enough time in the day. The demands of school combined with the financial stress of having to work were voiced as a source of imbalance for learners.
A comment made by one participant was, “Everyone has 24 hours each day. Be purposeful in how you choose to fill it.” Another learner shared that she has learned about balance in her life by first getting to know herself and understanding what is truly important to her.
Learners also talked about identifying an activity that was important to them. They talked about making time for these types of activities, even if it was only for a short period of time. Some learners talked about being part of a faith tradition, others talked about how gardening or spending time with family helps them to feel balanced. Ideas around time management were a part of the discussion, and learners talked about different strategies that help them to manage their busy lives as students.
The IC Conversation Café creates a welcoming space for learners, providing an opportunity to speak, listen, and discover with their peers.
The next IC Conversation Cafe will be held on March 6, 2018. For more information please contact firstname.lastname@example.org