International Business Paper #1- The Conservation Controversy

~This week I am finishing the last part of my business program in International Business. My last course. I have three papers to write and here is my first one:

Write a 2-3 page paper on International Business of any kind. 

The Conservation Controversy

There is an overwhelming amount of poverty, animal decline, and other serious problems in different countries all over the world. There are also many conservation efforts being made and a large amount of travelers either teach English abroad or volunteer at some point on their journey. After some research I’ve realized that there is a controversy hidden within the concepts of volunteering and working in these sorts of international establishments.

There are a number of different ways to get involved in a conservation or volunteer project. You can work by teaching English, rescuing trapped sea animals from the ocean, cleaning beaches or even collecting sea turtle eggs that could potentially be snatched up by poachers. Sometimes you get paid really well and sometimes you just get free accommodations while you work. In some cases you have to pay to volunteer. There is a conservation project for every endangered animal on the planet. The argument is that some of these conservation projects are no more than a glorified travel experience for a backpacker. Young travelers can handle wild animals and go home to tell their friends what an amazing experience they had while making a difference at the same time. As for teaching English, it is said to be a modern, Western-style education system that is taking away from ancient cultures and creating a worldwide mono-culture.

In either case, the Eco tourism and ESL industries are booming. The tourism industry itself is heavily relied on to generate revenues for many communities and travelers rely on these types of projects and jobs to fund their travels. Rosaleen Duffy, a world expert on wildlife conservation, wrote a book called:
Nature Crime: How we’re getting conservation wrong. The book talks about western-style conservation projects harming wildlife and damaging the environment. There is also a compelling documentary called: Schooling the world, which explains the westernized ideals being carried over into other cultures and diluting traditional societies.

With travel becoming more and more popular in developing countries, communities have come to depend on these associations within the tourism industry. International politics surrounding this means of travel have critics extremely concerned. The loss of wildlife and the lack of education around the world is disheartening to say the least. Is there any way to continue these multicultural practices in an ethical way? The social benefits that are coupled with Eco-tourism and teaching English as a second language are essential for many economies. Is there a better way to carry out these practices?

Every year thousands of Canadians with good intentions venture out into foreign countries as overseas ‘Voluntours’ to help build houses and schools, improve communities and educate small children. How could this be such a bad thing? Some environmental and humanitarian activists say that for-profit entities put poverty on display and exploit the people in the families that are involved. It’s hard to make sure the best practices and knowledge when so many of us want to be included in the rejuvenation of our environment and our people. How can unskilled workers who want to make a real difference succeed if time or money is a problem? The short term programs don’t seem to be the best solution in providing to the needs of those overseas communities.

Volunteers need experience, awareness and on-the-ground expertise when it comes to any conservation project. The volunteer travel industry is advancing at a rapid pace and with the concerns around this trade it is difficult to foresee the future and where it will lead us. It goes without saying that there is a lot of good that goes into these programs and the genuine relationships that develop in these subcultures are commendable. With corrupt political systems in place, astonishing poverty rates and the ever growing population, what else are we to do to protect those who are less fortunate and in need?

I handed this in this morning 🙂 Hope my prof likes it!

Financial Accounting Destroyed Me!

Wow I can’t believe it’s Friday again and I am one course away from finishing my 12 week business program. It has been one intense condensed learning session and my brain hurts. Income statements, balance sheets, T-accounts, accumulated depreciation and allowances got the best of me and Financial Accounting destroyed me.

In the beginning of the course our professor warned us, “I’m not going to lie, this course will frustrate a lot of you.” His computer screen read: DON’T PANIC. Yikes.

With his slicked back ponytail and a little “I balanced” dance around in a circle, he got really excited about teaching us formatting and numbers. Apparently he had been excited for 20 years working as an Accountant. pay-530339_1280

Our Professor, Chris Graham, taught a good course but the amount of information he was covering made most people’s heads pound. Rows and jumbled up patterns of numbers scattered the whiteboards as Chris erased and then filled each board again. The two whiteboards at the front of the class were taking a beating and the blue and black squeaky pens were getting chucked into the garbage one by one. There were more then a few scrunched up faces most of the time and blank stares when he would ask if anyone got it. Granted there were some very smart people in my class who did really well, but they were the ones who like numbers and do better with formulas and math stuff.

I cried one night for a while during that week because I just did not understand. Another classmate also had some tears in one of the quizzes when her memory temporarily went blank. It was an overload of information.

When the final exam hit me, I panicked. It had been only one week of the intensive course and I had scream-307414_1280barely grasped the basic formulas and layouts of the financial statements. But, I certainly was not able to figure it out on my own. I stared at the half-finished statements and then attempted to transfer them to the T-accounts, which in this part of the story you are probably getting bored so I don’t really know what else to say about Financial Accounting that is interesting.

Anyway, the last hour had arrived and after some more tears and my feeble attempt to do the Financial Accounting final, I handed in my partially completed exam and slumped away. The mark that followed was not ideal but I did manage to pass the course. I hoped I wouldn’t have to see financial statements again. Unfortunately after Marketing was over I had to start Finance. To my surprise, because Finance was more about writing an analysis I actually received a higher mark. I was shocked that I did well in the course but again, it was a brain crusher. Projected statements, percentages, ratios and business analysis. Ahhh!!!

I literally left part of my financial statements blank and then explained in my analysis that I knew I had done them wrong. Luckily I could understand the ratios well enough to form an opinion of the case and describe what could happen if sales increased by 10%.


The courses were specifically set up to split up Financial Accounting and Finance with Marketing between. I believe the main reason for this is to avoid the exploding of brains. The fatigue has finally taken over. I have absolutely no mental capacity to write or even carry on a conversation at the end of the day. This is why my blog has lacked in content lately.

One more course… just one more course to go.



Good Morning Monday!

🙂 Good Morning Monday! 🙂

I’m back in action after a two-week hiatus from my dear little blog and I’m so full of posts to post about!

School has taken over.

Going back to school makes me feel young again. Not that I don’t always feel younger than I am, but I feel like school has brought out the kid in me again. You know how sometimes you get jaded about certain things because you are older. I don’t want to be like that anymore so I have decided to stop worrying so much about the future and live in the now.

A classmate of mine is making a yearbook so we can capture all of our memories from this short 12 week program. I feel like I’ve gotten so close to some of my classmates that we are really just like a family. A family of students who are all on the same path to find ourselves and learn new things.

Finally I’m engaged and challenged in a way I’ve needed for a long time.


My wonderful friends from the business program have helped me find who I really am once again:
A leader.

After doubting myself for so long I can finally say that I feel like me.
The real me.
That natural-born leader I have always been on the inside. 🙂

Here’s to new friends and new obstacles in life.

New challenges make life interesting 🙂

Have a wonderful week and stay tuned for this weeks posts!!



Thursday Thoughts on: Business and Communication

smurfs-140212_1280~Communication is the key; a common cliché we hear each and every day 😉 We hear this in many different types of relationships from co-workers to significant others. But the fundamental elements of communication are often misinterpreted by people due to varying personality types.

This is why they teach communication in business: so companies will run like well oiled machines.

We need to form relationships to be successful. When we run through the process of choosing certain people to partner up with, we always ask ourselves if those people we are bringing into our lives share similar interests and ideals with us. Once a bond is established a certain level of self disclosure is revealed. This also means we must have a good sense of self and understand who we are as human beings before we can ever understand perspectives from others people’s points of view.

There are many factors which influence communication and perception:

Different sensitivities
Biological cycles
Physiological challenges

So what happens when we meet conflict or a communication break down in these interpersonal relationships we have developed? Well, there is an actual term for the practice of thinking before we act or speak. It’s called Perception Checking. This technique aids us in handling the specific ways we interpret situations and react to what is happening around us.


We usually cling to first impressions and assume that others are similar to us, but when we are influenced by the external forces that are surrounding us, judgmental tendencies begin to arise. I like to look back and reference a great book called:

The Four Agreements

“The Four Agreements
1. Be impeccable with your word.
2. Don’t take anything personally.
3. Don’t make assumptions.
4. Always do your best. ”
Miguel Ruiz, The Four Agreements: A Practical Guide to Personal Freedom 

Following these principles will guarantee success in any relationship and it helps us grow to become better versions of ourselves. Being able to empathize with someone is valuable on so many levels and the ability to place yourself in someone else’s shoes will create trust and respect among the people we choose to be around.

There are three sides to every story. One persons point of view, the other persons point of view and what actually happened. Not to sound cliché or anything

Learn to understand this and you’re golden 😀



What are your thoughts on business and communication? I would love to know! Let’s connect and get down to business 🙂

The 30 Year Old Student

tux-161406_1280~All of my life I’ve been surrounded by people who have gone to University, but I was never one of those people myself. We are always told as children to get good grades in school so we can one day go off to college and get a good career.

Well I did that and it really didn’t work out for me.

So what happens when you do what you are supposed to do, get the good grades, go to college and then get a “good job” only to leave that job because it’s not right for you? Well I have struggled with that dilemma for a few years now and I can only figure out one solution: you go back to school 🙂 I now have to prepare myself to be a 30 year old student at the University of Victoria.

I’ve never thought of myself as the “University type” but I realized that I don’t have to be a scholar or a genius to go. I just have to put my mind to it!


It can be incredibly intimidating going back to school when you are older. You’re surrounded by students working on their masters, a PhD or pushing through some crazy degree to become a scientist. But there are so many programs and courses you can do without paying thousands of dollars or having to endure 4 years of school… not that there’s anything wrong with that.

I am the queen of changing my career, but after a number of jobs didn’t work out for me I had to change my way of thinking. I may have had a ton of different positions BUT I don’t really have a lot of transferable skills. Placing a rubber dam prior to a filling or polishing someones teeth doesn’t really transfer into anything else. And I could try to become a body builder and eat protein bars all day, but standing at 5 foot nothing that look really wouldn’t suite me. After I was deemed “The weakest link” at the last fitness studio I was hoping to work for I decided I didn’t want to be a fitness buff. I like wine and cheese WAY too much. 😉

I’ve done a few continuing education courses at the University just for fun because I love learning but those short 6 week courses usually don’t have any homework or a piece of paper at the end stating you are hire-able. Now I am ready to put my head down into some serious text books and dedicate my time to an incredibly intensive course: the Business Administration Fast Track program.


I figured since I have been in a few reception and administration type positions, this course would be perfect to build on the skills I already have. Without formal training it’s tough to move up into a better position so with this course I will walk away with a certificate and a head full of great business knowledge. And the best part, which I am so grateful for, is that it is completely funded by a government grant. My tuition, transportation and living expenses are going to be covered in the 4 months I’m in school.

Would you like to know how I did that?? Well I am happy to tell you!

Here in British Columbia, we have some amazing opportunities that a lot of people don’t have. If you play your cards right you can get government funding, as long as you’re willing to jump through some hoops and fill out a lengthy application. Since I have been on Employment Insurance I am eligible for funding but I do have to prove to the government that I am worth it.

I hired a career counselor at a place called GT Hiring solutions, which is an affiliate of EI and WorkBC. My counselor, Cathy Oleson, was so helpful in finding the perfect program for me at the right institution. Cathy helped me prepare a very thick application to submit to Amber Education and the BC government which took about a month in total to complete. I had to fill out my career goal, make a schooling action plan, conduct an exhaustive job search, interview potential employers, print out job leads and then prove that I could not fund the schooling myself… which wasn’t to difficult. I also had to attend workshops and a job fair to show my initiative and then meet with Cathy on a regular basis to complete each section of the application. It was a lot of work.

So now I get to go to University for free!! 😀 Whoo hoo!!

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The program I am starting is a condensed course, that’s why it’s called the “Fast Track” program. I’m going to learn all the business essentials I need to get a great deal of transferable assets. I will be able to apply those skills anywhere. Everything is a business so it’s perfect.

During the course I have to keep up a good grade average and attendance record. Regular reports must be made for my living allowance and I must have my instructors sign off for me each week. This is defiantly not the time to be a slacker! It’s time to get into the grind and prove to myself that I can do anything.

So if you are considering changing careers, going back to school or just looking for a brad new change in your life, there are opportunities out there for you if you look hard enough. Like I said, I’ve never thought of myself as the “University type” but now I will be, and I couldn’t be more excited. 😀

Here are some links to help you get started:

And here is some information on the course I’m doing and other business courses available at UVic: