Archive for September 2014

Step Up Your Game (A Guide on Breaking the Ice)

Photo courtesy of: The Gouger

First of all, the author wants to establish that this guide will not promise a hundred percent success result and that she will not be held responsible for the consequences of your action. Anonymeh also wants to acknowledge that this guideline might not work for everyone although it has been proven and tested to be effective... for her. So good luck and may the odds be always in your favour.

Hello everyone! Lately, I’ve realised that one factor as to why us, teenage immigrants, are rather desolated when we first get here is that, we don’t have friends. (Nice one, Sherlock)

What I’m trying to say is, when youth immigrants migrate to a new place, most of them do not know anyone in that place besides their family. And that’s why I’m going to give you tips on how to make friends or at least how to approach people! YAY! (Not to be too self-serving, but these tips will be extra useful now that another school year has just started!)

 Making friends is not as easy as it seems. Maybe it is for others, but for us who literally just moved into a foreign place, it is a bit challenging. If you have just moved here, you may not know how to approach people (perhaps because of a culture difference that you need to be aware of), you may feel shy, or just feel inexplicably nervous. Nevertheless, I am going to list some tips that will, hopefully, help you break the ice!

1. Bring 10 kilos of gum

  • Effectivesness: 6/10
  • Cons: You got to spend to buy gums
I know all of you have heard the gum technique, sometimes they work, and sometimes you’ll end up offending the other person “What you saying man? I have a bad breath?” (but hey, you got to take risks!) On a serious note, I think this is a nice way to get to know people especially during class. When the class is boring, a gum is like suddenly the best thing you could have in your life. Alas, bring that gum and show how generous you are with your classmates.


2. Wear a cool shirt

  • Effectiveness: 7/10
  • Cons: It’s hard to find a cool shirt
Has a stranger ever told you, “hey, cool shirt!”? A schoolmate once told me that and little did he know, that was one of my first conversations during the first week of high school! I wore a “cool” Marvel Avengers glow in the dark shirt and someone complimented it and I did the same to them not knowing that he’s wearing a plain coloured shirt (ooopsie). Nevertheless, when someone tells you “nice shirt”, compliment them back and continue to talk them until they get fed from you! Works like a charm! Seriously, it all starts with just a few words.

3. Say ‘bless you’ to someone who sneezed

  • Effectiveness: 5/10
  • Cons: It’s awkward
People like people who are nice to them. Apparently, it’s a thing to say “bless you” to someone who sneezed and it shows that you care about them! In return, they might smile back and say thank you and perhaps even start a conversation upon noticing that you are new to the place!

4. Borrow a pencil

  • Effectiveness: 8/10
  • Cons: You’re not really making a good name for yourself if you show up on the first day of class with no pencil or pen
I heard that there’s a psychological trick that you can get someone to like you by borrowing a pencil from them. Maybe this is because it induces a feeling that they (the lenders) are doing something good for someone and now you (the borrower) somehow owe something to them. Nevertheless, borrowing a pencil can be a great friendship starter. You can give it back to them the next day and pretend you forgot to bring one again then voila! Conversation! And they most likely will remember you.

5. Wear a smile

  • Effectiveness: 10/10
  • Cons: Your cheek bones might get tired
What does, basically, anyone tell you when you go to an unknown place and are supposed to make friends? SMILE! Yes, you have to smile. It’s the international sign for “Hello, I am friendly”. Always wear a smile when you execute one of my advices from above. Or just do it all the time! It’s scientifically proven to be good for your health!


6. Just start the conversation

  • Effectiveness: 10/10
  • Cons: NO CONS!
Sometimes you just don’t realise that the other party might be the one who is shy. I myself am someone who doesn’t like to be the one to initiate a conversation. So you just have to have the guts and say hello. Ask them their names or classes – who knows, you might be in the same class!

So that’s it mate! I wish the odds to be always in your favour and keep that cheeks smiling. If everything else fails just contact me and I’ll be your dear friend.


- Anonymeh
 “This is Patrick”
        - Patrick Star, Spongebob

Conquering Conventions

Modern 21st century students have an advantage over their parents from the 1980s. Unlike our folks, we have access to much more advanced forms of technology such as the internet, personal computers, smartphones and digital communication.

Unfortunately, most of us, especially our parents, are left to wonder about the effects of technology to our generation. Internet addiction, for example, could be the effect of unmanaged internet use. Instead of discussing about the negatives, why don’t we list down the positives?


Phone Homework

As of 2014, almost every teenager has an indispensable resource called a phone. These gadgets are equipped with cameras that can be used for retaining memories through photos. The texts on a page of a textbook can also be considered as memories once they are read, absorbed, and understood.

The question is, which is better? To take 3 photos of the 3 pages for your biology homework, or to bring home a 400 page-Biology textbook?  
The answer is obvious. A smartphone can do wonders if used appropriately. As for notes, I’ll enlighten you on that one later.

Google the word

The average student mainly uses Google to find out if a workforce strike will affect school, or for Wikipedia links. Meanwhile, on the wider spectrum, we use Google for references in grammar and words.
Think about a word that outweighs ‘sad’ yet retains the meaning of sadness. Forlorn, dismal, morose, and the confusing ‘melancholy’ are just a small fraction of the synonyms I’ve found. This is actually very useful advice, implement this to your English homework routine if it’s not yet a habit of yours.
So you’re probably wondering about bringing a laptop to class? No! As your vocabulary and writing style (more on this later) evolves, you will rely less on technology, but being a bookworm does not mean you have to abandon it. So if you’re with a teacher who abhors all forms of technology from the 21st century, explain the benefit of smartphone dictionaries/thesauruses for the long run.

All around charmer

So you’re too smart and you think that having a supermodel body is not necessary. Or you think that Aphrodite can’t be seen as intelligent, as she is too beautiful for smarts. Well, lucky for you, the fair compromise would be to listen to lectures while exercising.
But I don’t have Japanese-sensei with me whenever I go for a jog - of course! In most circumstances you won’t, but you do have, again, a smartphone! Whenever you think that you can listen to music while exercising, consider listening to a tutorial, lecture, lesson, etc. An example could be just listening to French lessons while running on the treadmill.
The advantage here is just way too good to be true, but the method is feasible. Healthy, cultured, charming~. You could soon be like Leonardo Da Vinci, a polymath, after some time from double benefits. Two rewards in one time. Thank you, to whoever makes lectures and the like!

I can listen, why subtitles?

HD TV, HD video, subtitles and CC/DS. Well, you may not like this one because subtitles are distractive. However, the mild distraction does have an unconscious advantage. Watching a Korean drama with English/Korean subtitles won’t make you fluent in Korean or English.
Subtitles at best, could be a supplement to language learning. Also, it can provide tacit knowledge in natural-sounding native communication.
Simply watch films with subtitles, even if you already have a good grasp with the English language. ESL people eventually become, or already are, great at English, but they could have a quaint accent if they speak. But why not just observe native speakers at a park or school? Because, technology will, for this generation, just be a supplement to our education, but extensive hands-on experience with a supplement is the key for the language barrier.

Note taking is outdated

But asking questions and discussions are not. This is especially true if you’re currently in high school. In a class of 30, it is most likely that everyone will have different intellectual abilities. You could be in the “upper” group, while the teacher caters to those from the average. You lose, unless if you study ahead.
Take a copy of the teacher’s notes for reference. Study from a different source, perhaps a book or a study on the internet. Retain useful information and integrate what you’ve learned from school and from the different source together. Expanding your knowledge on a single topic can snowball into deep, complete understanding, and sometimes even uncommon information.

Tactical Reading

The strategy is to read, relate and retain knowledge from books to support experienced knowledge. However, the twist is to take 4 different categories of books from your local library. Young adult fiction, non-fiction studies, objective non-fiction, and a genre which piques your interests.
Young adult fiction is self-explanatory; typical books that fall under this genre include Hunger Games, Harry Potter, Mortal Instruments and a whole lot more.
Non-fiction could look dry and intimidating with their “big” words, but they involve a plethora of theoretical and practical knowledge. Although textbook-type books often come to mind when thinking about non-fiction, it is a lot bigger genre than that. Non-fiction also includes biographies and autobiographies of prominent figures. Try reading the biographies or, if you’re lucky, the autobiographies of the people that inspire you!
Lastly, get something else, consider it the dessert of your 4 course [book] dinner. Anything that will make you a more interesting person, as well as increasing your overall insight about anything you’re curious to know about. Could be languages, modern technology, musical instruments, movies, anything at all that will have you something to talk about while in school or at a dinner party.


Specialize in One Topic

Earlier I mentioned that you should expound on some studies. Unfortunately, specializing is taking it to a whole different level.
Have you heard proverbs about every person having some kind of talent?
That is true, each person has innate abilities just being inhibited for reason I am not known of. Until they have cultivated their abilities, they will remain a “loser.” So if you know enough about yourself, I’d recommend you to refine your most prominent talent.
This could be musical, academic, physical, social, technological, lingual and even creative success. This is also how child prodigies are made, they specialize in one field.

Polymath, a dead term

In basic definition, a polymath is a person who covers a wide range of expertise. Or simply, someone who is multi-talented enough in many fields. A modern polymath could be someone who can cook like a chef, write like an author, paint like an artist, understand like a psychologist while keeping a healthy social, intellectual and physical composure.
Wouldn’t you love it if you were an engineer who has an attractively healthy body, artistic talent, broad knowledge including languages, and social tact? I would, and you would too if you were given the option to choose over a polymath engineer or an average, regressing, waning middle-aged guy.
Luckily, you probably have access to a smartphone, the internet and a computer which make being a polymath a lot easier.
So for the sake of simplicity, you, young student, should integrate technology to your education the “right” way. Unlike most of your colleagues and classmates, you can actually begin investing time on yourself for your polymath standards. Just remember to use technology and improve at the same rate it does. You don’t want to be like your friend’s grandmother who has not caught up with modern technology. I would like to remind you to supplement your life with technology, and culture yourself for modern, evolving society because everyone wants to have good future, but we want to have the best futures.


- Angelo


Transit Etiquette

Photo courtesy of: Brent Granby

Most, if not all, of us youth here in Vancouver take transit as a mode of transportation. It also applies for the non-youth like moms with strollers or kids, senior citizens, and so on. Although transit here in Vancouver is accessible, it comes with a price. There are many unethical people (examples are: people who take more space than necessary, groups who talk SUPER loud, and so on) who make transit not so good. This blog entry is to remind us youth (who would probably use transit to school or work) and hopefully others too, about the proper behavior in the bus or train.

·       If there is limited number of seats, don’t take more than one seat. There are many of people who would want to sit, but are probably shy to ask for one.

·       Even if there are a lot of seats, don’t put your feet up the seat. It makes the seat dirty. And what if an attractive person wants to sit beside you and you have your feet up? You lose the chance, bro (or sis).
·       Give your seat to those needing of one. If you see an elderly person or a mom with kids or disabled person coming in, be courteous and offer your seat to them. They probably need it more than you do. Plus, doesn’t it feel good to help someone in need? Offer your seat!

·       If you’re in a group or on the phone, don’t talk too loudly. Be reminded that there are people around you who are living their day. You probably don’t intend to bother them, but you do if you talk louder than your indoor voice.

·       If you have your earphones on and want to listen to songs, don’t blast your music. When you have loud music playing on your ears and everyone can hear, it can get quite disturbing. Also, it’s probably better for your ears to have a cap to volume anyway. If you don’t have headphones, don’t listen to your music through speakers. Would you not last a 15-minute ride without listening to music? Come on!

·       If it’s raining, don’t put your umbrella on a seat. It makes the seat wet, and unusable. You wouldn’t want to sit on a wet seat, right?

·       Since most of us here are youth and take transit to school (or work), we carry our backpacks. If you’re in the train or bus and it gets crowded, remove your backpack. We tend to not notice that our packs bump onto other people when we move. So if it gets cramped, remove your pack and either carry it, or put it on the floor. Don’t be a hindrance or a bother to other people!

The seven things listed above are only guidelines or reminders to keep transit ethical and fun. There may be more that I didn’t mention, but these are the most noted bothers. Make sure to observe these things, and make the people around you happy. I hope you have a fun time going back to school!

- Jose
Tuesday, 9 September 2014
Posted by VANITY Blog

What's Up, Vancouver? (September 2014)

Photo courtesy of: Scooter Lowrimore

Still open Friday to Sunday until September 21, 2014

2014 Vancouver Fringe Festival
September 4-14, 2014

Youth Volunteer Recruitment Day at South Vancouver Neighbourhood House
September 4, 2014

Arts in the Park (Richmond) 2014
September 7, 2014

The Long, Long Table: A Community Affair
September 9, 2014

The Color Run Vancouver
September 13, 2014

Wesbrook Village Festival 2014
September 20, 2014

The Amazing Y: Cross-City Scavenger Hunt
September 20, 2014

RiverFest 2014
September 21-27, 2014

MetamorFest 2014
September 27, 2014

The Art Of Leadership Conference
September 30, 2014
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Vancouver Immigrant Youth (VANITY) Blog is an online space made for youth, by youth. Here, you will find stories and experiences written by youth immigrants who once felt how challenging it was to be a newcomer in Vancouver. If you are a newcomer in Vancouver (or anywhere in Canada), we hope to give you all the resources you need to feel comfortable in this country. We hope to give you tips and advices on how we adjusted to our lives here as youth immigrants. Through this site, we want to empower you to bring out your full potential.





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