NSCC in Arequipa, Peru
23.03.2013 - 25.03.2013 20 °C
Arequipa, Peru: the air is fresh and the sun is shining, and it is about 20 degrees. It is like this most of the year, except for a rainy period in January-February. Hard to imagine predictable weather if you live in Halifax, but it does exist here.
Arequipa is a "small" city of about 850,000 +, but feels smaller. No bad traffic here. You can see several snow capped volcanoes (most extinct) from almost everywhere in the city, and the city centre is a UNESCO world heritage site with a beautiful central square, narrow cobblestone streets with mostly single story buildings made of volcanic rock. Colca Canyon (twice as deep as the Grand Canyon), Machu Piccu, Cuzco, and Lake Titicaca are nearby; Alpacas and Llamas are all over the place - the scenes remind me of national geographic photos.
And the food... wow! Peruvian cuisine is amazing - huge variety of ingredients (3000 kinds of potatoes? i thought there were only two kinds - big and little, but what do I know), the amazing tastes from simple combinations (ceviche), the exotic dishes (yup its true, they eat guinea pigs). And we are here to establish a partnership with Instituto del Sur (ISUR) in tourism, hospitality and gastronomy. Exciting! I hope we will be able to create some opportunities for our students and faculty here.
ISUR is a non-profit private institution with deep community development roots that seeks to develop the "whole person" through applied skills training (similar to NSCC's portfolio learning approach). Their programs in tourism, hospitality and gastronomy include a focus on entrepreneurship and workplace readiness for the local tourism industry (an important and growing industry in Arequipa), and also emphasize global learning opportunities like student exchanges.
ISUR has been working with other Canadian Colleges for several years, and their Director General, Gaby Cabieses and their Academic Director, Alfredo Rivera both visited NSCC during the World Congress of Colleges and Polytechnics/ACCC conference last May in Halifax. They have been to many other places in Canada before, but this was their first time in Nova Scotia. Lucky them and lucky us! They told me they were very impressed by NSCC and Nova Scotia during their visit and especially during our opening reception "kitchen party" which showcased our music and tourism students and our Waterfront Campus. Alfredo returned in October with the ELAP/CBIE group and saw a good fit with our tourism and culinary arts programs, and we began discussions about student exchanges starting with Canadian Government ELAP scholarships.
We met with Claudia, the gastronomy program director, who trained as a chef at the Cordon Bleu school in Paris, and Theresa, the tourism director along with two of their students who have been selected to apply for ELAP scholarships. I love meeting motivated students and they were bursting with excitement about the opportunity to do an exchange at NSCC.
As we walked on the tarmac to board our flight, the moon was shining down over the volcano in the background. A wonderful visit!
On to Lima....
- Katie Orr
Director, NSCC International