Students speak up to help break language barriers at HMC




Sheridan will hold its first International Student Speech Contest on Friday at HMC to help international students overcome language barriers.

“The speech contest is held especially for international students, most of whom are not native English speakers,” said Siyu Wu, peer mentor at the International Student Centre at HMC.

Wu said that they hope that this contest will help international students improve their English speaking skills and encourage them to express their ideas in English.

“It is also a good opportunity for international students to showcase their public speaking talents,” said Wu.

The speech contest has two parts, a five-minute prepared speech and a two-minute impromptu speech.


“Prepared speech subjects are determined by contestants themselves,” said Fernanda Guimaraes, peer mentor at the International Student Centre at HMC. “The impromptu speech subjects will be determined by contest staff and will be drawn during the contest itself by contestants.”

The HMC International Centre has organized the contest with Sheridan Bruins Toastmasters.

“Toastmasters is an international organization which Sheridan is a part of,” said Guimaraes. “Students will have a chance of knowing how this other club (Toastmasters) works, and its values. We are very fortunate to have them share their expertise with us.”

About 15 students have signed up for the contest and 40 students are expected to attend.

Alethea Batista, a prospective participant and a marketing student, said that she has not yet decided on a topic, however she plans to do something on Being a Girl – An Indian Girl’s Perspective.

“I chose this topic because I have realized that ever since my arrival in Canada, I have been drawing many parallels on life in India and life in Canada in general,” she said. “And no, no racism is involved. Since the event is for the International Club, it will be in line with the them, I hope.”

Shrey Aggarwal, another participant and a student in the Business Finance program at HMC said that his experience as the VP of Sheridan Davis Bruins Toastmasters has helped him overcome public speaking fears since most of his work requires him to speak in front of people.

“The topic that I have chosen for my speech is ‘What do you want to be when you grow up?’ ” said Aggarwal.

He added that his speech would consist of three questions: What do you want to do? What can you get paid for? What can you do for a number of years?

“I believe my topic will give students a new way to look at life and hopefully inspire them,” said Aggarwal.

Contestants’ performances will be evaluated based on various criteria.

“This criteria includes speech structure, speech value, effectiveness, body language and voice, grammar and word selection, etc.,” said Wu. “Winners will receive formal award certificates issued by Sheridan International Centre.”

The contest will be held Nov. 21 at 6 p.m. at HMC Room A245. For registration or more information, visit: