BCIT—launching careers and hearts

Romance is definitely in the air! In honour of Valentine’s Day, four alumni couples share their love stories. (Do you have a BCIT love story you’d like to share? Email us at alumni@bcit.ca.)

For these nursing grads, all vital signs point to happily ever after

While Bachelor of Science in Nursing alumni Michael Gartner and Akemi Gartner met while dancing at a nightclub, they say their romance really started to bust a move while students at BCIT. Now working as family nurse practitioners and married for five years, Michael and Akemi are boogying into the sunset, happily ever after.

First impression of each other?

Akemi: A confident man, and a really good dancer. When he dances, he DANCES. There’s no stopping him. Doesn’t matter what people think of him or if people are laughing. He just does his thing.

Michael: I thought she was the most gorgeous woman to ever walk this earth. Definitely out of my league!

How did you know she was the one?

Michael: It sounds cliché but it was love at first sight. I actually got a glimpse of her at a nightclub, but didn’t have the guts to talk to her. So I did what every helpless romantic man would do. I went to the same club, on the same day, every week, hoping she’d be there again. Three weeks later, she was. And that’s where she claims that she picked me up. Twelve years later, I’m still her dance partner.

How did you manage your relationship while studying at BCIT?

Akemi: BCIT put our early relationship through the most extreme of tests. There were times that each of us wanted to quit the Nursing program, even the relationship, but we persevered. If you’ve attended BCIT, you know what we’re talking about, from being asked to read 300 pages by tomorrow, pulling your second all-nighter, and having three assignments and two papers due by Thursday with a final on Friday. But BCIT made us stronger and wiser and has provided us with the tools to succeed in our relationship as well as our careers.

What do you love most about him?

Akemi: I love how he is always so well prepared and organized. He always brings an extra jacket or blanket for me, without my asking, just in case I get cold. Or he’ll have a snack for me in case I get ‘hangry’. I admire how he always helps people, even if it means he has to go out of his way to do so. Most of all, I love how he pushes me to do things I normally wouldn’t, like learn to ski, travel the world, or be the best that I can be.

He brought her roses, she liked his smile—the rest is history

BCIT alumni Anshu Arora (Technology Management Bachelor of Technology) and Romia Arora (Electroneurophysiology Technology Diploma) are more in love now than they were when they started dating as students at BCIT. How do they do it? Even though they’re juggling busy careers (Anshu is a realtor and Romia is a diagnostic neurophysiology technologist) and two young boys, they say they keep things fresh by ensuring they spend time together as a couple. They’re also celebrating their 10-year wedding anniversary this year. Happy anniversary, Anshu and Arora!

How did you meet?

Romia: We met in the Great Hall through some mutual friends. I was studying there while Anshu was just finishing up an evening class.

Describe your first date.

Romia: He picked me up from BCIT with pink roses and we went to Red Robin.

What’s the most romantic thing the other has done for you?

Anshu: She regularly leaves me love Post-it notes in my car.

Romia: I had moved to Calgary for part of my practicum during the last semester and was offered a job at Alberta Children’s Hospital. So we took a break since neither of us could afford to move, and he came out to surprise me!

How did you know she was the one?

Anshu: When she told her parents and then she told me that she told her parents, and that was it!

What do you love most about him?

Romia: I love his attitude about life and generosity toward everyone close to him and to complete strangers. He is the most positive and genuinely happy person I know. It’s infectious. If you are close to him, he will do absolutely anything to help you succeed in any way possible.

How did you juggle your relationship while studying at BCIT?

Anshu: Going to BCIT full time is like having three full-time jobs. You’re on campus from 6 am to midnight, and since you’re spending all your time there, it makes sense that you’ll end up meeting someone there as well. That’s the great thing about BCIT!

How do you keep the romance alive?

Anshu: After 10 years of marriage, the key is to take time for each other, have respect for one another and the relationship. We often try to get out without the kids or even just stay in to read or talk together.

Romia: Years later, I could still just sit with Anshu doing nothing and have fun!

Competitive classmates turned blissfully wedded couple with two young kids

BCIT Environmental Health alumni, Gurleen (now an occupational health and safety superintendent) and Bobby Sidhu (a BCIT occupational health and safety instructor), were classmates and friends for two years before things turned romantic. As Bobby says, it was “a long, slow undercover courtship that neither of us really knew about.” Celebrating seven years of marriage this year and two beautiful daughters (three years and two months old), they say their demanding BCIT program helped them get to know each other very well, especially in stressful situations.

How did you end up dating?

Gurleen: Bobby doesn’t like disclosing this to his friends but I was the one who actually asked him out. I still remember sitting on the bathroom floor with my sister, trying to build up courage to text him and ask him out on a date!

Bobby: The day before our actual first date, Gurleen and I met at our classmate’s house for our regular wings night out with the BCIT crew and our favourite instructor. We all hung out together and went our separate ways. I had to spend the night at my friend’s place due to a flat tire. The next day, Gurleen texted me to ask me out. We met for lunch at Giraffe’s in White Rock and that’s where we had our first date! I actually drove to White Rock on my spare tire. Gurleen says now that if I hadn’t driven out to White Rock on my spare tire that day, she would’ve probably never asked me out again.

Prior to dating, did you know each other?

Gurleen: Yes, we saw each other mostly running between classes, as we were in different sets. Oddly, we were both set reps for our sets and as such, competed with one other a bit when it came to our interactions.

What was your first impression of each other?

Bobby: Beautiful and sweet.

Gurleen: Lame and not someone who would cause me any distractions during my intense two years at BCIT. Haha!

What do you love most about each other?

Gurleen: I love that he just gets me! He’s super caring and understands what I want even if I have a hard time communicating it. He is an amazing dad and a great partner who puts his family above everything!

Bobby: What I love most about her is her. It’s as simple as that and I can’t say it any better.

How do you keep the romance alive?

Both: What’s romance? LOL. With the new baby we’re just a couple of young parents trying to keep our heads above water. Any day now we’ll get back to the romance part of our lives—maybe once the girls start BCIT?!

A tough computing assignment booted up this romance

An impromptu study group and a challenging homework assignment first brought Nadia Dobrianskaia and Stuart Budd (both alumni of the Computer Systems Technology Diploma program) together at BCIT. It’s been love and laughter ever since.

How did you meet?

Stuart: A mutual friend had organized a study group and invited me to join. After struggling with our homework assignment for a number of hours, we started laughing.

First impression of each other?

Nadia: I thought Stuart had his life all figured out.

Stuart: I knew Nadia didn’t have her life figured out.

How did you know he/she was the one?

Nadia: I still ask myself that question every day.

Stuart: The first time we worked on a project together. Nadia went crazy and I knew my life would never be boring again.

Where did you hang out together at BCIT?

Stuart: Library, library, library.

How do you keep the romance alive?

Both: Laugh about life!

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