18.03.2013 - 19.03.2013 28 °C
We have spent two wonderful days with staff at Universidad de Especialidades Espiritu Santo (UEES) and Universidad Ecotec in Guayaquil, Ecuador. Andrea Losada, International Director at UEES and Jihna Gavilanes, International Director at Ecotec were our hosts and in between some intense tropical rain showers, and Guayaquil traffic jams, we got to see their campuses, meet staff and students and learn more about their universities. We also had a chance to visit some of the NGO partners that UEES works with for international student service learning placements.
UEES is over 20 years old and offers programs in a wide range of disciplines, with an applied approach in four year degrees. The campus is modern and lined with palm trees, and with iguanas in the green spaces (watch out if they are in the trees above). UEES has alot of experience with incoming and outgoing international exchanges including Niagara College, College of the Rockies, and Grant McEwan. We met with their tourism and culinary program directors and hope to be able to start with tourism student exchanges.
The tourism industry in Ecuador is focused on natural and eco-tourism (eg the famous Galapagos Islands and many other beautiful areas in the mountains and on the coast) and adventure tourism, and the culinary program includes elements of the very diverse and delicious local cuisine. There are a surprising number of European (German, French, Italian) connections and influences in Guayaquil, which is a major port and the business centre of Ecuador. The downtown area is bustling with people and has a redeveloped riverfront area (Malecon) of tree lined walkways, shops, and restaurants.
Universidad Ecotec is a newer university with the same owner, and a similar approach to quality and a brand new campus launching in July. They are not as experienced in exchanges but Jihna comes from the international office at UEES so will bring that corporate experience to develop the international program.
When we were discussing negotiating an exchange agreement, I asked Andrea why she wanted to work with NSCC, since they already had some great partners in Canada. She shared her impressions of NSCC Akerley Campus with me from the visit last fall, that she gave in her evaluation to CBIE:
"My first impression of NSCC was the welcome they gave to all the delegates from the ELAP Mission. We were able to feel and see that they really took the time to be there and shake our hands at the entrance, everybody, Deans, Directors, high representatives, teachers for example, sat with us for lunch to enjoy a very well produced meal from the school of culinary arts.
The most important, to me, was the message they gave us with their actions: they really wanted to know who we were as people, where we came from and about our cultures. They made this feeling tangible that day, they made it personal. I thought that my students would feel comfortable in such a welcoming environment, where variety is praised and tolerance for other customs is practiced."
Wow! Great job Akerley Campus! And thank you Andrea Losada for the kind words.
Next stop: Bogota, Colombia
- Katie Orr
Director, NSCC International