As many of you know, I greatly enjoy what I get to do for a living…I get to talk to people. Well, there is more to it than that, but that is a highlight. People have stories and I enjoy a great conversation. When I decided to head to China and Singapore for vacation, I could not miss a location without meeting my stundents/alumni. I put the word out and with support from John G in our alumni office, an alumni social in Singapore was set. Through my personal connections, I was able to secure seeing a student and an alumni in Beijing. It does not matter it is vacation and if this is work, I want to see people I know in a foreign country.
First it was Kyle A. I let him know we were going to arrive in Beijing and through the power of technology, we checked into our hotel after a 20 hour journey and he arrived just after we settled in. We went out to one of Beijing’s longest established and delicious duck bbq place and got our first meal experience in China. Being from Canada and western, he surprised me by being fluent in Mandarin! His company, the restaurant and our walk back was our first introduction to China. To bookend this, as we left China for our trip to Singapore, the morning of our flight, Fan Z (one of my close alumni), came to our hotel, gave us parting gifts, took us out and eventually to the airport. She was so thrilled to be able to share her country with us.
Once I got to Singapore, Steven C, our Singapore alumni rep, had arranged an alumni social and it was capped at 40 people and we were sold out. I was looking forward to this event because I knew a few of my alumni were on the list of the 40. Troy L, was visiting Asia and when I gave him my Singapore dates, he arranged it to be there for the social, Richard L and Alan C live in Singapore and Zaya K and Mila L were in Paris and through their master’s program at INSEAD, made their way to Singapore for their Asian session and were there a day before the social. Zaya K is my international alumni because we have met up in Victoria, BC; London, England and now Singapore…where next Zaya? There were also a couple of our students who were on exchange who showed up.
On the night of the social, people started to filter in. What I enjoy is seeing people re-connect or start some conversations that are meaningful. The event was to run from 7:00-9:00am and when I left at 10:30pm, there were still a solid group of our alumni still there. Some people talked about how much they miss Vancouver. There were others who talked about their memories of SFU. It was a lot of fun and an enjoyable evening. I have made some new friends in the process. Now in December, I am off to Bangkok and have already started to contact a couple of our alumni that I know. It is a lot of fun meeting up in a distant land and catching up with people. There is a single connectedness that brought us together and that was SFU. The passion for the school is alive and well in Singapore and China.