Hometown: Harare, Zimbabwe
Beedie School of Business undergraduate student Rudo Zaranyika came to Vancouver all the way from Harare, Zimbabwe to further her education. But despite now living halfway across the globe, she has not forgotten her roots.
In 2011 Rudo was a founding member of Project Impact, an initiative that aims to help children in Zimbabwe, with a focus on education. The first project saw them partner with a Zimbabwean orphanage, with Rudo and her four co-founders visiting on a weekly basis to engage with the children. By the end of the summer, the initiative had increased to 13 members.
“We wanted to give back to the community even though none of us were living at home at that time,” says Rudo. “By the end of the summer I had secured a partnership with one of the largest seed distributors in the country, which to this day continues to supply the orphanage with 200kg of maize each month.”
As a former VP Internal of the SFU African Students’ Association – an organization she joined in order to create greater awareness of Africa and the positive aspects of the continent which aren’t necessarily always represented – Rudo has ensured her homeland remains close to her heart.
After her second year studying at Beedie she decided to return to Zimbabwe for the summer. Apprehensive about the prospect of not working for four months, she arranged an internship there with Deloitte. The internship, though challenging, proved extremely worthwhile.
“Although it was an unpaid internship it was a great experience from which I learned a great deal,” she says. “I was able to work on two major audits, as well as carry out an inventory count for one of the largest distributors in the country. It was an invaluable experience, and as a bonus I was at home with my family for the summer.”
Rudo’s Beedie experience has not only revolved around international initiatives, however. She held the position of Executive of Finance for Young Women in Business (YWIB) SFU, the SFU chapter of the non-profit society for emerging female leaders in Western Canada, undertook a co-op placement with KPMG in Vancouver, and has also been a Beedie Ambassador, a group of top students who represent the Beedie School of Business at high profile events and speaking engagements.
“At YWiB you are surrounded by a group of ambitious young women who are going to make an impact on the world – it’s a good form of peer pressure that makes you strive to be the best you can be,” says Rudo. “The KPMG co-op has given me training and support in auditing and preparing tax returns. It has been a great introduction to the professional environment in Vancouver.”
Although Zimbabwe will always be home to her, Rudo has settled into life at Beedie by immersing herself in student clubs and extra curricular activities – a tactic she would recommend to any other international students.
“Being so far away from home there are differences in culture, but my experience in different clubs helped me get used to how people conduct themselves professionally here,” she says. “Once I graduate I aim to stay in Vancouver to pursue my Chartered Professional Accounting designation, while also working to help Zimbabwe in any way I can.”
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