Introducing the GI to Engineering Exchange Students from Mexico

Thursday, November 15, 2018
by Taheera Mamujee

How can games guide us, change us, and help us?

This was the question that left me speechless, simply because I wasn’t sure where to begin or even how to fully answer it. The question was the first of many posed by an eager group of Mexican exchange students visiting the GI.

Having come to UWaterloo for Rension GEAR program, (a 4 week English program designed to help enhance all English second-languge students, from beginners to advanced), these aspiring engineering students were eager to discover more about the GI than what they could find out by browsing the website.

I was initially stumped by the question because I felt inadequate in my games knowledge. Thankfully, what I had heard that week at a Brown Bag Talk by Amy Liang gave me a starting point from which to answer.

I gave examples from what Amy had discussed in her talk about VR and Second Language Learning, referencing how VR can help mitigate the expenses currently required for immersive language education programs.

The students found the introduction and the tour of the GI space fascinating; however, they were most excited to discover that one of our residents studying VR was from Mexico himself, Marco Aurelio Moran-Ledesma.

When Marco introduced himself all of the students’ eyes lit up. They were inspired by his work in VR, seeing him as an example of someone like themselves doing new and exciting work in a cutting edge technological field.

Marco explained that his research looks at making VR a more immerse experience. Rather than the unsatisfactory act of pressing buttons on controllers to make things happen in digital worlds, Marco hopes to improve the realism of the experience by developing haptic systems with 3D printed objects.

The students had an opportunity to wander around the space without a guide. As they left, I saw on their faces the stamp of inspiration that was caused by getting a glimpse of the amazing research that happens here.

Taheera giving a tour
Taheera Mamujee introducing the group to the Collaboration Space