Humans of I-House

Take a glimpse into the lives of I-House humans at the University of Alberta.

Photo credit: Miga Batsukh
"I really love horses. I grew up in a small town where nearby herders' area (rural). I learned to ride horses there when I was 7 years old. And I started racing horses since 10 years old for about 4 years. That period of time, I loved and to be a friend with horses. I participated frequently horse racing competitions in small towns and rural areas. The competitions are held throughout during the Naadam festival in summer and Tsagaan Sar (Mongolian new year) in winter. And in one horse race, there are 100 to 200 horses, racing one way. The distance is 20-30 km directly through the mountainsides and grainy and rural roads. Normally, jockeys are kids because they lighter than adults. They start at 3 years old to 15 or 16 years old, if you have a small body shape. The horse racing sport challenging for jockey kids due to their race through difficult dusty surroundings way, muddy roads, rainy days, chilly and freezing in winter, but horse racing is the coolest thing. If you think about a visit to Mongolia someday, of course, you should ride a Mongolian horse."

Uuganaa. 1st year MSc., Petroleum Geology.

Home country: Mongolia

Photo credit: Miga Batsukh
"To me, the basic thing is: everyone should be respected. And there should be no particular reason why to respect a person. It's just because the reason is we are all human beings. 'Cause you can feel that right? Like, if somebody treats you like crap…and it doesn't have to be explicit. It can be implicit, but people perceive that. And it creates some distance. I really try to avoid that. I just want to treat people the way I would like to be treated and…that's very simple."

Maria (Maja). 3rd year BSc., Chemistry. Amateur Musician.

Home country: Global Citizen

Photo credit: Miga Batsukh
"I remember when I was like 7 years old my mom and dad had an exchange student from Japan and I was just fascinated by her. I remember she brought me gifts and I was so intrigued by Japan. I'm still really intrigued. I don't know if that's where I got this interest of the world and history and all this other stuff. Cuz, you know, she kind of handed me this little piece and I just delved into this world and I thought "wow, this is so beautiful, I want to learn more about it". And so, I love reading about Japanese history. And I love the Medici's. I just go from one place to the next. And I find something and I read about it so I can understand."

Chelsea. 4th year B.Ed.

Home country: Canada (Maple Ridge, BC)

Photo credit: Miga Batsukh
"When I was living in Mexico -it's mainly a Christian country….Coming here, it was kind of a shock in many ways because it's actually one of the cities with the most atheists in Canada. And me being a science student, it was actually at first quite hard to have a type of faith and be there, because a lot of people would challenge you for having any sort of faith, and like, being in science. Because they thought it was contradictory. But then I also met so many people from different places, like Saudi Arabia and Yemen and India and Korea and they were Muslim and Buddhist or atheist as well… or Hindu. I started seeing how we all had the same kind of family ties and background and willingness to help other people. And I started seeing how faith did shape who we were and it kind of made us work together well. We all had the same drive even if we drew it from somewhere else. So it was really nice because I found a support group among completely different faith groups."

Alex. 1st year MSc., Agricultural Economics.

Home country: Mexico

Photo credit: David Li
"I like to cook. It's something my family has always done, like, group cooking. Because, my dad, he was the one who taught us how to cook. The funny thing is, is when my brother asked 'why do I have to learn how to cook?' my dad answered with 'If I hadn't learned how to cook where would we be right now?' He taught us how to cook from a really young age. And it's just always been a really big part of our life…especially considering I grew up in a grocery store! It definitely makes experimenting with foods a lot easier! My dad would let us taste the food he was cooking and ask us 'what does it need?' and we would start telling him what ingredients we needed to add to it…and spices. Before I moved out on my own it was a big thing that Sunday nights, cuz we closed early, that was family cooking night. Where we would all make a big family meal and we would live off of that for the rest of the week."

Kat. 3rd year BSc., Mechanical Engineering.

Home country: Canada

Photo credit: Miga Batsukh

"I was here on exchange almost 3 years ago. And I can honestly say that I felt like I left a piece of my heart here. Like, when I got back to Finland…in the beginning it was really hard and I was missing Canada a lot. And then at some point I realized how much I actually wanted to go back and see more of Canada. Like, explore this side more. But when the moment of leaving came, and I had to leave Finland it was really hard as well. But pretty much the moment when we landed on Canadian ground I felt like, 'this is home…this feels familiar for me.'"

Janita. 1st year MA., Physical Education & Recreation.

Home country: Finland

Photo credit: Miga Batsukh
"I was very fortunate to have pretty much everything in my life that I've wanted. And maybe in the way I've been raised, I might have ignored the importance of small, small things. Or ignored how people are deprived of things. But then I started working for an NGO as a translator. For this, a lot of international students used to come to work for this NGO. I was helping them as an interpreter or translator, and then we used to go to really remote areas like towns and villages. So we used to work on different projects, such as like public health, women and child development and education. And that was my first interaction with the people in such places. And that was the time when I realized that I've been very fortunate, fortunate that I've had so many things in my life when there are millions that are deprived of basic facilities. And that was the time I decided, that yes, I had to do something to bring a change to this world. That was a turning point in my life. "

Shreyak. 2nd year MSc., Food Science and Technology.

Home country: India

Photo credit: Miga Batsukh
"The guitar is my first love. The first time I ever played one my dad got me one of those really crappy ones from Toys R Us. And the first time I broke a string I thought I broke my entire guitar. So, I was like, not musically inclined…at all. But then I ended up getting more and more into it. So now I have been playing the guitar for about 8 years. Guitar was something that sort of got me into everything else and that helped me realize that, ok, music actually IS a part of me. Cuz I just didn't want to stop at the guitar, I just didn't want to stop at the basics…I wanted to do more. For me, it was realizing that I can do a lot more and this is actually something that I'm maybe good at. That helped me realize my own capacity."

Anchal. 3rd year BSc., Environmental Economics & Policy.

Home countries: India, Canada