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Building a Balanced and Enriching Life in Winnipeg

Mon. Oct. 23, 2023

First off, a hearty welcome to everyone in the new academic year, new city, new country.

My name is Mawulom. I am new graduate student at The University of Winnipeg. I'm a nature lover, I enjoy travelling and exploring new places. I've been living in Winnipeg for two months. Over this period, I've made some amazing discoveries and connections.

All graduate students are here for the primary goal of getting a degree. But remember, education is not limited to the classsroom. Wouldn't it be a shame to live in Paris and never taste a croissant, learn a bit of French, or see the Eiffel Tower? As much as our academic and professional goals are of priority, engaging with the local communicty is also a useful and fun form of education.

From networking, practicing or learning a skill, supporting a worthy cause, learning about Canadian culture, making friends, improving language skills, staying fit, or just having fun, getting involved in the community comes with many perks and is an awesome experience. Here are five simple ways grad students can get this well-rounded education while in Winnipeg and Canada.

  1. Volunteer: There are lots of opportunities on campus and in different parts of the city to volunteer. From charity organization to civic spaces, you can find volunteering opportunities that are a one-time occasion, a regular event, or a virtual one. Grad students have a lot of life experience and skills under their belts, and what is a better way to share and give back than to volunteer?

    You can find volunteer opportunities posted by The University of Winnipeg, The University of Winnipeg Students' Association (UWSA), and those by local Manitoban groups at Volunteer Manitoba. Some organizations provide references for their volunteers, which can help you build your resume and professional network.

  2. Student groups: There are a lot of student groups for different purposes and people. You can affiliate yourself with at least one and participate in their events. Studies show that adults have a hard time making new friends. In my opinion, spending quality time with people with similar interests and background would be an antidote for homesickness, boredom, stress, and lack of motivation. The UWSA Student Groups has a current list of student groups and relevant information.

  3. Free local events: Grad students may tend to be older, but not necessarily richer, than undergraduate students, so the word "free" is still a pleasing sound to the ear. If you are looking for fun activities like skating lessons, movies, or music festivals, you can check Winnipeg for Free. If you are interested in in-person or online networking, career fairs, celebrations, or courses, you may want to check EventBrite's Winnipeg Free Events page.

  4. Sports: Engage in your favorite sport or take up a new one. Everyone needs exercise and University of Winnipeg's Bill Wedlake Fitness Centre is open to all students. You can also signup for Recreation Services' Intramural Sports. Winnipeg is bike friendly, so you can go for ride on the bike paths. In the winter, you can try ice skating at a Rec Centre or the Forks, which includes the Arctic Glacier Winter Park and the Nestaweya River Trail. You can take up ice hockey by following games and cheering for your favorite teams, for starters. Who know, you may be a natural and ready to break a leg (no pun intended) in no time.

  5. See Winnipeg, feel Manitoba, experience Canada: Winnipeg has a couple of notable museums, historic neighbourhoods and getaway spots for relaxation or adventure. You can visit Tourism Winnipeg to order a visitor's guide and an attraction pass.

  6. Public Libraries: The city of Winnipeg has a number of public libraries in different locations. The largest is the Millenium Public Library, located downtown at 251 Donald Street — about 1 kilometre from UWinnipeg's main campus. This library hosts a number of free events, from tax clinics, movies, English conversation circles, book launches, career series, talks, children's storytime, etc. It's also a great place to study and meet new people — the other day I came across folks who were there to play chess. There are also a number of other neighbourhood libraries, visit Winnipeg Public Library for information about locations, hours, and events.

I hope you find these suggestions helpful. If not, I hope you find these quotes captivating. Best wishes on your new chapter, and enjoy life in the Peg!

  • Volunteers don’t get paid, not because they’re worthless, but because they’re priceless.
    - Sherry Anderson
  • The world is the true classroom.
    – Jack Hanna
  • It is a mistake to think time is going. Time is not going. Time is here until the world ends. It is you that is going. You don’t waste time. Time is infinite. You waste yourself. You are finite. It is you that grows old and die. Time doesn’t. So, make better use of yourself before you expire.
    - source unknown

Grad Studies Blog Contributor Mawulom is a Master of Arts candidate in Applied Economics.