MEENA BOLLA

My experience at the Centre for Indo Canadian Studies has been wonderful. I was first introduced to CICS in winter of 2014 when I needed to be placed for a practicum for my Social Services Diploma program. Before I began, I was unsure of what CICS was but I was looking forward to utilizing my Punjabi and learning about my culture in my practicum workplace.

My supervisors, Satwinder Bains and Sharanjit Sandhra, have been an absolute thrill to work with from the start. They welcomed me and guided me throughout my learning process as a first-time practicum student and made me feel at home right away.

When I first began, my major task was to assist with the launch of the exhibition “Challenge and Denial: Komagata Maru 100 Years Later” and to create a touring program. For the first 150 hours, I worked at the centre and did a variety of things for the exhibition. I created a brochure, promotional video and panels for the site at the Gur Sikh Temple. We started a Tour and Try program for students to explore the exhibition as a field trip and I worked on everything from creating student booklets to coming up with creative activities. I was given the freedom to construct the Komagata Tour however I liked for students ranging from grades 1-10 and I seized the opportunity to get as creative as I could. I created a passport activity for students and many trivia questions in their booklet to challenge them.

When my 200 hours for my practicum at CICS come to an end, I will continue to come back as a volunteer because of my exceptional experience here. I look forward to building my skills and further challenging myself as a volunteer. My experience at CICS as a practicum student was far more than I first envisioned it to be. I didn’t expect to be given the opportunity to be in total charge of the Komagata Maru Tour program. I was able to take the initiative and work independently as well as in a team with Satwinder, Sharanjit and Rajnish. Having been a student at UFV for just 2 years, I’ve gained a lot more skills than I ever thought I could within a short timeframe. I’ve learned all the processes that go into creating a community event, such as the Komagata Maru Exhibition, as well as the challenges and skills required to create a successful touring program.

As a Sikh and an Indo-Canadian, I am incredibly proud to have been a part of the Komagata Maru project at CICS. I have learned so much about the history of South Asian pioneers and their experiences as immigrants. Undoubtedly, the Centre for Indo Canadian studies has been an absolute pleasure to be placed at for my practicum and I look forward to continuing my volunteering here in the future.