Student finds her passion overseas

This year, the Chinese lunar calendar celebrates the Year of the Rabbit and Mount Royal University's International Education Office is getting ready for the festivities.

This year's celebrations will include participating in the Hong Kong Canada Business Association (HKCBA) New Year's Gala on Feb. 11.

award winner
Bachelor of Business Administration student, Kirsten Fiorentino in Honk Kong during an international education visit.

Each year at the Gala, the HKCBA presents scholarships to post secondary students at Bow Valley College, SAIT Polytechnic, the University of Calgary and Mount Royal.

The students must be studying international business and have a particular interest in Asia.

This year, Mount Royal Bachelor of Business Administration student, Kirsten Fiorentino will be awarded at the Gala which attracts over 500 attendees from the Calgary business, government and educational communities.

In particular, the Lieutenant Governor of Alberta and the Chinese Consul General will bring greetings to the group this year.

Mount Royal is a sponsor of the event, providing assistance with the volunteer co-ordination and promotional materials.

"The Gala is not only a great way to show our support to the Chinese community, but it is also helps to raise funds for the HKCBA scholarships for post-secondary students," says International Education's Director, Lorna Smith, who is also currently a Director of the HKCBA Board.

A lucky year for this Rabbit

The Year of the Rabbit is said to bring good luck and Fiorentino, born in the Year of the Rabbit, could not agree more. Fiorentino is this year's Mount Royal recipient of the HKCBA scholarship and says that the award could not have come at a better time.

"Finding a part-time job and going to school full-time can be quite challenging, so this scholarship will really help me with my tuition," says Fiorentino. "I really believe in being independent and this will help me finish off the year without my parents' help."

Fiorentino always had an interest in Asia, but it was not until she participated in Mount Royal international exchange last year to Lingnan University that her love of Asian culture developed.

"Hong Kong was my preferred location for the exchange. It is a major player in the international market and a gateway to China. I felt that building an understanding of business practice in Hong Kong would be invaluable."

After her semester abroad, Fiorentino said her perspective changed in many ways.

"I found that immersing myself in these different cultures and observing their values and traditions was invigorating. I recognized the business and psychological benefits of respecting and being knowledgeable about other cultures."

Fiorentino will once again experience the Chinese culture - this time in Calgary, when she is awarded her scholarship at the upcoming New Year`s Gala.

Gung Hay Fat Choy! Xin Nian Kuai Le! (Happy New Year!)

- Andrea Morrow, Feb. 3, 2011