My Experience with 6 Degrees YVR: Are you Home?

Mon, 15 May 2017

Alyn Engelhardt
Former International Intern, SFU Public Square

To be honest, I had never thought about the question, “do I feel at home?” and what it means to me before I started my internship with SFU Public Square. Before arriving in Canada, I lived in the same neighborhood for my whole life, so it was not necessary to think about this simple little question. Everything changed after leaving my home in Germany for 3 months to do an internship in Vancouver.

As an international intern for SFU Public Square I got an incredible opportunity to be part of organizing 6 Degrees Vancouver. 6 Degrees is an initiative concerning citizenship and inclusion in Canada. The aim of the event is to discuss about what is going on in the world and encourage people to make it a better place.

I arrived in March 2017 and the event was coming up quickly on April 24th, so I helped the team in the final phase. We organized 6 Degrees Vancouver in partnership with the Institute for Canadian Citizenship, SFU International and Vancity. At the beginning it was a calm atmosphere, but every day the event got closer and with it came the stress. This has actually never been a problem for the SFU Public Square team, which does really define the word “team-work” in a way I would have never imagined it.

6 Degrees Vancouver is the first big event I have ever supported, so I was really thrilled about my tasks: I was part of several planning meetings and my main tasks focused on the logistical parts for the event, for example speakers bio, organizing chairs and banners, and helping to plan the reception. On the event day we still had a lot to do. I missed the first part of the event, but I was still able to attend the second part and enjoyed the show.

It has been a great experience to see how everybody did a professional job and stayed calm, especially when there were unexpected changes. So I learnt to be more flexible and to think quickly on my feet.

The way to the goal was long, but in the end we managed a successful event. From my point of view the event went smoothly and I had a great time. All partners were able to learn from each other and everybody was grateful for working together as one big team.

As a result of this event I am able to explain now what home means to me: Home is a place where you are welcomed. Home can be a place, a person, an animal or just a small item. My definition of home depends on the people who surround me. I am glad to have a wonderful family and lovely friends back in Germany who kept in touch with me the whole time during my stay in Vancouver and I met a lot of new friends in Canada who made my trip become amazing and unforgettable, so that it felt a little like being home.