We acknowledge that we live and work on the traditional territory of the Neutral, Anishinaabeg and Haudenosaunee peoples. The University of Waterloo is situated on the Haldimand Tract, the land promised to the Six Nations that includes six miles on each side of the Grand River.
Masters of Business, Entrepreneurship, and Technology (MBET) student, Miguel Mejia Diaz, recounts his experience at the European Summer School for Advanced Management (ESSAM) in Denmark this past summer.
Miguel came to MBET as an international student from Mexico City, attended the University of Waterloo, and then represented Canada overseas in Denmark. Because of this, Miguel has a unique perspective on his time spent abroad.
I am a little embarrassed because Amanda Watkins asked for this writing a long time ago; in fact, she wanted our group of MBET10s to send some updates about ESSAM while it was happening, as some kind of transoceanic academic activity live stream.
Our failure to deliver probably helps to understand ESSAM better; ESSAM is the feeling of lacking time. The program lasts for two weeks but deep down, you suspect you have enough things to do to keep you busy for a month: classes, group meetings, social activities, bowling, more meetings, dinners, discussions about Europe and their economic future, drinking beer with the Aussies (this one in particular is an activity that takes an awful lot of time).
In short: if you go to ESSAM, you know you have to make every moment count and that you probably will not have enough sleep. But at the end, you know it was worth it because of the new connections you made and because of the knowledge you gained from other parts of the world. I believe that ESSAM is a wonderful way to finish the MBET program because it offers a wider, more global perspective on similar topics you can discuss in a Conrad Centre classroom. Thanks to ESSAM, I was able to meet other Canadian students from Waterloo, Toronto and Calgary who formed the large Canadian crew in Aarhus, Denmark.
I wanted to talk in more detail about MBET and ESSAM, but since my MBET10 classmate Steven Wang already covered almost everything in his blog post, I would rather share something else, a more general discovery that I think is important if you are currently studying in Canada, or if you studied there or, if you ever plan to study in Canada in the future.
After spending two weeks in ESSAM with people from many different countries, I came to the conclusion that Canadian students were, well… pretty cool: they were smart, they made intelligent remarks, held interesting opinions and seemed to work hard. But they were not boring nerds, either. Canadian students at ESSAM also showed up to parties, social gatherings, won the beer pong contest organized by the Americans (on July 4th), and even let me join them to (pretend to) sing the national anthem on Canada Day
I don’t mean to say all this to get a free work visa (but I’d be open to consider it if the opportunity came along). I just think that being a Mexican infiltrated into the Canadian bunch gave me the opportunity to see firsthand how Canadians behaved abroad and how people from other countries showed a high esteem for them and a respectful opinion of their country. I was happy to be a part of this group.
I am thankful for the opportunity to experience ESSAM, and I will continue to be a good ambassador for the University of Waterloo in the future, just as I was in the cold summer of Denmark."
Miguel Mejia Diaz is the Head of University Relations at Tecnologico de Monterrey, Campus Hidalgo in Mexico. He is also the Co-founder and Project Manager of the graphic design studio graficaelemental. He is eager to find opportunities to work with Canadian startups who wish to expand to the Mexican and Latin American markets.
To keep in touch, email Miguel.