Christine Wanjiru on her Journey to the Much Lauded Seneca College
From the Ivory Coast in Kenya, to the US, UK, and finally Toronto, Canada, Christine has had quite a journey.
Christine Wanjiru is a 28-year-old international student from Kenya who recently graduated from Seneca College in Toronto, Canada. She graduated with High Honours with a Postgraduate Certificate in Environmental Project Management.
Christine gives us some insight on her academic journey from Africa all the way to Canada...
Studying Around the World
Christine is originally from Kenya but attended primary school in the Ivory Coast, a French-speaking country in North Africa. She began her secondary education at the International School of South Africa, a prestigious boarding school in the country, where she took part in many extracurricular activities. In 2002, however, when civil war broke out in her home country of the Ivory Coast, her family made the decision to migrate to Tunisia and Christine transferred to Brookehouse School, a boarding school in Kenya, where she completed her high school diploma.
Christine went on to complete her Bachelor of Arts degree in Economics in the United States. “Economics was a subject I enjoyed since high school and it provided me with an understanding of the inner workings of the world we live in – from what determines the price of goods and services to why the average standards of living vary so widely between countries,” she explains.
Christine’s sister was living in the US at that time and there was a large Kenyan community in her area, so her transition to the new country went smoother than she expected. After completing her undergraduate degree, she became more interested in sustainable development and environmental conservation, and so she went on to earn her Masters in Environmental Economics from a university in England.
Onwards to Canada
Two of Christine’s sisters had completed university in Canada and had found jobs there – one of whom had even studied at Seneca College. So when Christine told them she wanted to further her awareness of emerging environmental issues and policies, they immediately recommended Seneca College.
The glowing recommendation was given not only because of the sister’s own positive experiences at the university, but because of the way the courses are designed and taught at the institution. The courses are taught by professors who are professionals in their given field and they impart practical, pertinent knowledge to their students. “During the course of the program, students gain valuable industry-related experience by working for companies either as part of a Co-op, an internship or as part of a graded class, under the guidance and direction of a mentor. Not many educational institutions in Kenya even provide such a service,” Christine explains.
Why Environmental Project Management?
Christine earned a Postgraduate certificate in Project Management-Environmental from Seneca College. “I decided to study this course because Kenya is experiencing massive growth, especially in infrastructure. This, in conjunction with the increased awareness of sustainable development and increased adherence to environmental policies, creates a need for qualified project managers that can plan, implement and monitor projects while taking into account environmental risk and conservation. I saw an opportunity to transform the way project management is done in Kenya and was eager to complete the program, gain some experience and go back home to lend my expertise to all these ongoing projects,” she explains.
What to do Around Seneca Campus
Seneca College provides many on-campus amenities to its students; however, it is good to know that downtown Toronto, with all its diverse events and activities, is only a short distance away from campus.
True to her nature, Christine remained very involved in activities both on and off campus. On campus, she volunteered for the International Students Office to coordinate a Diwali Festival and a Christmas Lunch. She also enjoyed a number of trips and excursions organised by the group especially for overseas students, such as playing paintball, attending a maple syrup festival, enjoying Wasaga Beach, and exploring Ripley’s Aquarium. It was through these extra-curricular activities that Christine made a lot of her friends.
“I became a member of the Project Management Institute, which establishes project management standards and certifies project managers, and I was also in the Salsa Club where we would meet once a week on campus to learn salsa and on weekends we would go to Salsa clubs downtown for Socials,” Christine says. It is clear that Seneca College offers its students a wide variety of options to make new friends, learn new skills and nurture old ones.
Busy bee that she is, Christine did not stop there. She also held a part-time work position at Seneca College as a Student Ambassador at the International Office where she facilitated the application process of prospective international students.
If you are looking for practical experience, then Seneca College is the place to go. As the professors are also professionals, students are armed with hands-on learning received directly from experts. “You will get the opportunity to practice what you are being taught and by doing so, you will be building a network at the same time with potential employer,” she explains.
As a college, Seneca has been making a lot of waves recently for its innovative programs and departments. For instance, did you know that the Animation Department is an Oscar-winning department and Seneca’s School of Creative Arts and Animation is ranked among Canada’s top training programs for animation and special effects? Seneca also has the only aviation technology-based degree program in Canada. For anyone with an entrepreneurial spirit, Seneca has a HELIX (Health Entrepreneurship and Lifestyle Innovation Xchange) program where students are invited to explore entrepreneurship as a career option and advance their venture ideas. Through this program, students are coached and mentored and can even receive funding for their business ideas.
Seneca offers practical and immersive learning and puts you in touch with professionals and potential employers in your line of study. “Our professors urged us to register with the Project Management Institute and having done so has opened numerous networking opportunities for me, as I am now constantly in touch with experts in the project management field,” says Christine.
Seneca College has so much to offer international students from around the world! If you are interested in finding out more about Seneca College, visit their undergraduate and postgraduate profile pages on SchoolApply and start your application now!