Did you know that every summer in cities around the world, the McGill Alumni Association holds Send-Offs for incoming McGill students? They are a great way for the “newbies” to meet other freshmen from their area, before leaving for Montreal. In 2011, for example, the MAA hosted over 2100 people at Send-Offs in 45 cities across North America, Europe, the Middle East and Asia.
In relaxed settings like cafés, restaurants and the homes of local volunteers, our Send-Offs guests (including parents of new students) hear invaluable first-hand accounts of university life from current students and alumni, parents, and university officials.
Arts student Laviva Mazhar volunteered to organize this summer’s Send-Off in Dhaka and sends us this account.
Pulling off a successful summer send off in Dhaka, Bangladesh had to be and was indeed one of the most challenging, yet rewarding, things I have ever done. From looking for a venue that would be free of cost to making sure that each and every guest left the event feeling excited and well informed (not to mention with a satisfied appetite!), it was quite a feat to achieve for a host!
To begin with, I must admit that I was in a bit of toddler-ish frenzy when I received a parcel full of goodies from McGill Alumni Association instructed to be used and handed out to the guests at the Send Off.
On the day of the Send-Off I was expecting around forty-five guests, including six volunteers. The event started off with two delightfully motivational speeches by the Chairperson and Principal of Cambrian School and College, an educational institute in Dhaka that provided us with the venue for the Send-Off. One of the volunteers and Ithen conducted a presentation about McGill University and the city of Montreal.
After the presentation, the parents dispersed and mingled with one another. The two parent volunteers were a source of inspiration to all the newcomers. During this time the new students played an ice breaking game, which helped them loosen up and eventually to get to know each other better.
Next on schedule was the highly anticipated raffle draw with four McGill T-shirts up for grabs for four lucky students! Yummy refreshments were then served and the new students joined in the chat as they enjoyed the food.
The students did have questions stored for us, the volunteers, as well. Common ones were questions regarding the choice of courses, visa matters, work permits and whether it was a requirement to learn French for regular use. The parent volunteers were, again, a great addition to the event, as they provided the parents of the new students with the “parent perspective” of sending their children for higher studies far from home.
The event wrapped up with every new student feeling more excited, the parents feeling more confident, the volunteers feeling humble and as for me – the host – a feeling of great accomplishment! This was me, trying my best, to help new students make the right decisions about their future.”
Faculty of Management, Joint Honors in Economics & Finance